8 Questions You Need to Ask about Book Editing

cover06102007-croppedContributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Every author needs an editor. Many authors are now turning to book proofreading services for their editing needs. A good editor will help you elevate your book to the highest level. Some editors do nothing for your book or even worse they might weaken the influence of your book. How can you know what kind of editor you are dealing with? If you choose to work with a book proofreading service you should do your research to make sure that you are giving your book what it deserves.

Here are 8 questions that you should be asking about your book editing:

  1. What kind of training and experience does the editor have? Some people think they are an editor just because they like to read. Check the qualifications of the edit to make sure they have experience in book editing. Learn what companies the editor has worked for and what books he/she has worked on.
  2. Does the editor specialize in your genre of writing? Each genre has specific idiosyncrasies, especially with regard to formatting. For example, if you are writing a business book, then a novel editor might be the right fit for you.
  3. What services are offered? Sometime editors will only do developmental edits, while others do everything from critiques to proofreading. Know exactly what you are paying for.
  4. What is the turnaround? Depending the length of your book and the fee you are willing to pay the turnaround can vary. It’s important to know how long it will take to receive your edits back before you hire an editor.
  5. Is the editor available for questions? There are times you might get stuck going through the edit and revision process. Check to see that you can reach the editor in a reasonable amount of time by phone or email.
  6. What is the difference between an editor and copyeditor? Editors and copyeditors have different backgrounds, credentials and roles. An editor addresses the creative content, writing style and language use and also focuses on the way the story is communicated. In contrast, a copyeditor is more technical, making sure your spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax is in accordance with industry standards. A copy editor will also check for internal consistencies and fact-checks your work.
  7. When should I submit my book for editing? You should only submit your book for editing when it is as flawless as you can make it. It is not economical to give an editor text that is full of common errors that you can easily fix. An editor’s time is best spent making you aware of the infelicities you did not know were there.
  8. Is the editor experienced in the right style of your manual? Editors should have knowledge of not only the book structure and section design, but also of several style manuals and their common applications. For example, the Chicago style for general text, AP for journalistic work, APA/MLA for academic/medical/tech work, etc.

Working with the right editor will set your book to live up to your expectations.

Your editor’s advice and feedback should make perfect sense to you, and in the end, your edited book should be true to your voice and your story. Knowing what to look for when selecting a book proofreading service will increase the likelihood that all of your expectations are met. A good editor will accentuate the appeal of your book and will make you a better writer.

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