Finding a “Good” Editor

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How to find a good editor. 11 things to look at when choosing an editor.

What is a “good” editor?
Each author’s opinion will vary on what makes a “good” editor. Ultimately, a “good” editor is an editor who provides an author with a quality, professional service, meets the author’s editing needs, works in a timely fashion, and is a good “fit” for the author and his/her book.

Each author is an individual and will have his/her own requirements for editing needs as well as the qualities they feel will make a “good” editor.

When selecting an editor, an author should look at a variety of factors. Here is a list of eleven things to consider when choosing an editor.

1) Price
This shouldn’t be a deciding factor, but it is something everyone considers. Asking what a “good” price is for editing will yield many answers. Asking this question is akin to asking how much it will cost to repair your car without the mechanic knowing any details. As with any other service, prices will vary depending upon what you need done and the service provider. I wouldn’t say there is such a thing as a “good” price. This is a matter of opinion. Everyone has a different financial situation and budget. What one person considers a good price might be too expensive for another.

A lower price doesn’t mean low quality and a higher price doesn’t mean high quality. When you consider the price, you’ll also want to see if payment plans are available and which payment methods are accepted.

Prices for editing will vary based on the type of editing (copy/line, content/developmental), the degree of editing required, the number of passes included, and the editor. All editors do not use the same rate system. Editors might set their rates by the page, by the word, or by the hour. While many editors provide you with a rate based on a sample edit, some will have a flat rate based on word and/or page count. Some editors do not list rates on their websites. If the rate isn’t listed, contact the editor.

2) Type of Editing Needed
There are different types of editing. Content/developmental editing is often more expensive than copy/line editing. Content/developmental editing looks at plot, plot holes, character development, flow, transitions, etc. Copy/line editing focuses on sentence structure, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, passive vs. active voice, paragraphing, typos, etc. Some copy/line editors will note any issues with plot, characters, and transitions if they see them. Proofreading is the last type of editing done and usually looks at spelling, typos, capitalization, and punctuation.

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8 comments

I wonder what a reasonable range for an editor would be.
Very nice article.

Amor Libris (Kelly Hartigan)

Thank you, Amy. It’s hard to give an estimate on a reasonable range. What one person considers reasonable, another person might consider expensive. As stated above, there are a variety of factors that can affect price. One that isn’t mentioned is the length of the manuscript. Do you have a price range that you would consider reasonable for a manuscript of a particular length?

Good article. This is a lot to think about when picking an editor.

Useful article, editing is a a really tricky business…

You gave excellent coverage to this topic. Your series is very helpful.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Amor Libris (Kelly Hartigan)

Thank you, Arlee. This is my first time participating in the A to Z Challenge. I’m glad to hear that people are finding my posts in this series to be helpful.

You’re right, price should never be a deciding factor in any purchase. It’s all about value.

This is absolutely right. I hate when people assume that we have lower quality, because of lower prices. I love this article. <3

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