How To Find An Editor For Your Self-Published Book
Updated: Feb 1
There are four phases to self-publishing, all of which I list out in my Self-Publishing From Start To Finish Guide. The first phase is WRITE YOUR BOOK. It seems obvious and simple, but you would be surprised how many people stay stuck in dreaming about their book and never move forward to write it. I have had attendants in my workshops ask an abundance of questions about publishing and marketing and sales, but when I ask them about their book they confess they have yet to write it.
But that's not you! You have already written your first draft. So far, you have revised it yourself. If you haven't yet, I encourage you to share it with a critique group for even more feedback. Once you have revised it, most likely a few times, the next right move may be to hire an editor.
Why Does Your Book Need An Editor?
I confess I greatly regret not hiring an editor for my first self-published book. I'm pretty sure I found a glaring typo after publication, but I simply didn't have the budget for it and didn't know how valuable an editor was.
As the writer, you spend so much time in your book and reading the same passages over and over that it is incredibly easy to simply miss obvious errors. It is beneficial to have another set of eyes to revise it and give feedback on any plotholes or areas for improvement. Editors are objective and can provide a professional revision and polished edit to your manuscript. This is even more thorough than you can do on your own, or even a critique group can do for your book.
As I say in my Start To Finish Guide, readers are a discerning audience and they know a good book from a bad book. Poor editing, spelling mistakes, improper formatting, are all things that can discredit your book. Unfortunately, self-published books have a reputation for being of poor quality. You don't want your book to fall into that stereotype, you want it to hold up to your book competition and comp titles. It is worth hiring an editor.
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What Are You Looking For In An Editor?
A fear many writers have is hiring the wrong editor for their self-published book. What if they invest the money in an editor and the editor is no good? As a self-published writer, you have to do the due diligence of finding a trustworthy and reputable editor.
First, understand what kind of editor you are looking for. Here is a helpful article from Masterclass that delineates different kinds of editing services. I think writers are most familiar with proofreaders who look for typos and technical errors, but there are other types of editors such as developmental editors who help more with the structure and development of your book. Know what you want or need before hiring an editor.
Second, look at their past projects. Do they have a list of published books they can share with you? Do they have reviews or testimonials? You want to hire someone with experience and a track record of success.
Third, get a contract. This contract should have clear deliverables, clear deadlines, a clear payment schedule, and terms and conditions. What happens if you or the editor were to get sick and need to halt the project? That should be included in your terms and conditions. How will the editor communicate any delays in the timeline? That should be in the terms and conditions. Websites like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer offer helpful Work-For-Hire templates.
Where To Find An Editor
Now, for what you really came here for! Where to find an editor for your self-published book:
Freelance websites like Upwork or Fiverr are a great place to start hunting for freelance editors. Just enter "editor" in the search box. You can see how many customer reviews the freelancer has and how many stars they receive. It's similar to Amazon in that you can see how many customers have reviewed a product on Amazon, how satisfied these customers were with their product or experience.
Social media is a great place to connect with not only editors but other writers as well. For instance, a search on Instagram under the hashtag #bookeditor yields hundreds of results. Also going to LinkedIn and searching for freelance editors or looking through affiliations or groups.
Organizations and associations are very trustworthy locations to find editors. Since I work specifically in children's books, I would look into the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators which has a resource called The Book which keeps a master list of editors for hire. There is also the Editorial Freelancers Association where you can find editors for hire. Lastly, there are local, regional, or state writing organizations that offer editorial services or can recommend editors for hire. For instance, I live close to The Writer's Center which services Maryland, DC, and Virginia and has resources on finding editors for your book.
Word of mouth is also a great way to find an editor. Ask members of your critique group if they have had any experiences with editors. If you know any other writers, ask for their recommendations and referrals.
As always, I wish you the best on your writing endeavors! Was this article helpful? If you want more articles and resources like these, join my email list to receive my free Self-Publishing From Start To Finish Guide.