Follow the guidelines I’ve outlined here and you will be on your way to finding the perfect editor.
The beginning of your book writing process may feel a bit lonely. It’s just you and your writing.
If you’re like me (and most writers out there), you keep your writing to yourself because “it’s not ready yet!” Many times, your book editor is the first person you share your writing with.
Rest assured, if you find a book editor who is a good match for you, they will ease your worries and help enhance your writing so it makes the impact you are hoping for.
Follow the guidelines I’ve outlined here and you will be on your way to finding the perfect fit.
Let’s get started. Find an editor who..
#1 - Is a good communicator
Being a good communicator helps you reach high levels of success in life. When you work with an editor who matches that level of communication, you are truly fortunate! You need effective and consistent communication in order to have the positive outcome you desire.
It is important for your editor to:
- Respond in a timely manner
- Follow through with deadlines
- Be professional
- Give clear expectations
- Help the editing process go smoothly
Keep this in mind: Communication goes both ways so make sure you are communicating effectively with your editor too!
#2 - Gives honest feedback
Up until this point, you have worked incredibly hard on your book. You have crafted each sentence and re-read your manuscript too many times to count (or was that just me?) to make sure it all flows nicely.
Your message is important and you want to make sure you’re conveying it in a clear way so the reader gets the most from your book. In order to help get you there, they will need to be honest with you.
Take their honest feedback and make the necessary changes to help enhance your book and your message.
Keep this in mind: Honesty shows that your editor is dedicated to making your book the very best version it can be.
#3 - Is organized
For all of you organization lovers out there (myself included), this one is for you.
Each editor has a system of organizing their projects, tracking the several rounds of changes to a manuscript, and communicating with clients that works best for them. This is important!
Regardless of the system your editor likes to use, it’s a breath of fresh air to know that they have one! Some editors may prefer to use Scrivener, while others prefer to create a folder in Dropbox for your shared Google docs.
Keep this in mind: It is helpful when the author is organized as well. That way the manuscript can be passed from author to editor and back again with ease when there is a system in place.
#4 - Is respectful
The book writing process can be long and grueling, so by the time you make it to your editor your gas tank might be running low. Make sure your editor is respectful of your time, your style of writing, and most importantly, your voice.
My editor made it clear from the beginning that I was the creator of my book so if I wasn’t comfortable with a change or suggestion she gave me, I was encouraged to express that.
Keep this in mind: The golden rule! Treat other people the way you want to be treated. When you are kind and respectful to your editor, they will be kind and respectful in return. It really is that simple!
#5 - Is motivating and encouraging
If your editor is now part of your team, you want them to be all in and supportive. I knew I found my diamond in the rough when I read these encouraging words from my editor throughout the process:
- “I am deeply moved and deeply impressed, and I have no doubts at all about the positive change your book will bring.”
- “Your writing and way of weaving advice and storytelling is exemplar. Astonishingly rich and full—and provoking. You provoke me to want to be my best self.”
- “Yesssssssss! I continue to feel pumped up about your book! As you’ll see I say multiple times in this letter, your revision work was terrific.”
- “Keep up the high energy and effort, Michelle. We are so close!”
This is the kind of excitement and encouragement you should be striving for from your editor. I understand everyone has a different personality and a different way of communicating, but it certainly made a difference in my overall experience when I read comments like these!
How do you know which editor is right for you?
Contact several editors during your initial search and ask them to do a sample edit. This will help you get a feel for what it would be like to work with them. Take note of how they respond and what their feedback entails.
Do they maintain your voice and style of writing? Do they have experience in your genre? Do they express interest in your topic and overall message?
They don’t have to be head over heels for your topic, but it would be nice if they have some level of interest or knowledge in order to provide relevant feedback.
Express Gratitude … Always!
Add a sentence of gratitude in every email you send to your editor.
Here are a few to help get you started:
- “You are incredible!”
- “I am so grateful to be working with you.”
- “I am so impressed with your feedback.”
- “Thank you for your time and hard work.”
Your book editor is out there. I can’t wait for them to join your team. That’s when the magic truly begins!