Are you thinking of hiring an editor for your new fiction or non-fiction manuscript so that you can perfect the text and find problems with structure, flow, grammar, consistency and punctuation? If you are, there are a few questions you should ask your editor before hiring them in order to make sure they are experienced in editing books that are similar in style to yours.

1. Do you perform X type of edit?

The first question you should ask is if your editor performs the type of editing service you need.  There are lots of different types of book edits, including developmental editing, line editing, drafting, fact checking and proofreading.  Not every editor is going to be proficient in every type of editing service available to writers. Ideally, you’ll find a list of services provided by the editor on their website so that you can quickly review them to determine if you have an editor that you can effectively and efficiently work with to perfect your manuscript.


2. What do you charge to edit X type of book with XX,XXX wordcount?

Editors should know roughly what they charge per word or per page for each editing service they offer, so they should be able to give you a rough estimate of the price to edit your manuscript.  I recommend getting this question out of the way sooner rather than later because if you can’t afford the editor you’re talking to, there’s no point in continuing the conversation. Of course, the editor may be able or willing to negotiate the price in accordance with your budget, but if your budget and the editors price are extremely different, it’s probably best to keep looking.


3. Are you a native speaker of my book’s language?

Ideally, you want an editor that is a native speaker of the language that your book is written, not someone who speaks your language as a second or third or fourth (or more) language. While this may sound discriminatory, your native speaker is going to have a deeper understanding of the nuances of the language, including slang and common phrases, that your non-native speaker may not understand or even know exist. If you really want to get particular, you could look for an editor that is also from the area where your book is set because slang and common phrases can vary from location to location within the same country.  For example, I’m from Indiana. I spent some time working in Tennessee and Kentucky. Every night the managers at my stocking job asked me “How much ya like?” My response: “I like this job very much. Thank you.” And I thought it was amazing that they always asked me how well I liked the job. It took me about a year to understand what they were actually asking. They were not asking me how much I liked the job. They were asking me the equivalent of: How much do you have left to do? That’s something you wouldn’t know unless you actually lived there.


4. Can you give me examples of other books that you have edited (preferably ones that have been published)?

Ideally, your editor has edited books that have since been published, either traditionally or independently. If your editor does list a few books that they have edited, look them up.  Most books offer a preview of the content. Read that content and look for mistakes. If you see a lot of mistakes, this probably isn’t the editor you want to hire. Additionally, you want to look at the types of books the editor has edited.  If you’ve written an adult horror book, and your editor lists three romance titles for teens, you may want to think twice before you hire them.

5. Do you have experience in my book’s subgenre, theme or content?

Some fiction and most non-fiction will require expertise in an additional field as well as editing experience.  For example, if you’ve written a legal non-fiction book or a fiction book featuring a lawyer or criminal proceedings and crimes, you might want to hire an editor that also have legal experience either as a lawyer, police officer, judge or someone else with extensive experience in the legal field in order to ensure that your book is realistic and/or accurate for the industry.

6. When do you think you’ll have my book edited?

Before you hire your editor, you need to know if they can edit your book by the time you need it. For example, if you plan to publish your book in two months after having it professionally edited, and it’s going to be two months before your editor can even begin editing it, you may want to look for a different editor who can better meet your timeline.

7. What types of payment do you accept, and what are the payment terms?

This will help you determine if your editor takes your payment method and how they accept payments and/or payment arrangements.  Some editors will require the entire cost of editing up-front. Other editors may charge 50 percent before work begins and 50 percent once you accept your edited manuscript.  Other editors may even accept monthly payment plans.

8. How will I receive my edited manuscript and what can I expect?

Your editor should be willing to send you your edited manuscript in the format you require, including .doc, .docx, .odt and even in google docs if that’s how you’d prefer to receive it.  You should also ask how they make their edits. Do they highlight changes? Do they make comments via the word processors comment function, and/or do they edit with track changes on? Understanding how your editor sends your edited manuscript and what to expect when you open it will allow you to better review the changes and either accept them or reject them.

9. What happens if I’m not happy with the editing service?

Ask your potential editor how they handle complaints and concerns with the edited document.  After all, if the editor made 400 changes, and you accepted less than half of them, you may not feel like your money was well spent. For this reason, it’s important to understand if your editor offers re-editing for dissatisfied customers or if the editor refunds part or all of the money.

10. Do you offer sample edits?

Not every editor offers sample editing services.  This is where you send your first chapter to the editor, and they edit it according to the editing service that you’ve indicated you need or want. This allows you to see how the editor makes changes and if you think those changes enhance your work. If you like the changes, then you can move forward with hiring your editor.  If you do not like the changes or feel the editor is not a good fit for your work, you can continue your search without having wasted a lot of time or money.

Post Sponsored by Raquel Graffen

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