A good book editor is essential to an excellent finished product. Besides, without their assistance your book may never make the shelf. However it can be difficult to find the perfect one that is suited to you from all the choices available today.
Many may seem to offer similar services or even to have similar areas of expertise. But there are a number of traits you should check for when you compare book editors and ultimately make a decision. And you should take care with this decision because after all, the choice of editor could make or break your manuscript. There aren’t a lot of second chances when it comes to publishing. So it’s essential you do your research first.
The first of the traits to look for in a good editor is experience. Is the editor or company you are looking at work full time editing? Have they edited manuscripts like yours in the past? Editing a magazine and a book are two completely different things so do make sure they know your topic and genre.
What is their track record? Do they have testimonials you can read? The more experienced and heralded the editor, the more you know they will take the care to fine tune your manuscript into the promising publication it should be.
Along with experience you should also look at their skills and training. Editors should be professionally trained and know the craft of writing backward. With this comes a thorough knowledge of all the technicalities of language, grammar and spelling. The better their skills the more they can assist you.
Many good editors will also provide a free sample of their work so you can actually see this experience and training first hand before you make any final decisions. Getting a sample also provides an idea of the communication the editor or the company provide and what you might expect should you choose to entrust them with all your work.
This process should hopefully build a level of comfort and trust between you and them, as ultimately the editor/author relationship is a close one. The more confident you feel that your voice is heard and your work is in the hands of a professional the more safe you will feel handing your work over to them.
The editor should also demonstrate a willingness and interest in keeping your voice and ideas in the writing. After all it’s your work and they need to understand your needs. If they produce a sample consistent with what you had in mind you know you are on the right track.
Obviously they will suggest room for improvement and highlight errors, but that is what you would expect from a good editor. They may also suggest changes that will require a lot more work from you. This might be unpleasant to stomach but the idea is to improve your work and not just make you feel good about yourself – that will come later with a solid, completed, well edited product.
Along with these skills they should also demonstrate commitment to a good work ethic and the ability to produce work on time and to your specifications. This could be to meet industry standards for formatting or particular citations or references.
Should you find an editor that has all these traits you know you have found someone you can trust and rely on with your work. Choosing an editor is an investment and you don’t want to blow your chances by going with the wrong one. Hire a great book editor, and if you aren’t convinced, then simply wait for the right one to come along. They will be worth waiting for.