finding an editor

If you’ve been following my writing progress you’ll notice that I am doing a little YA fantasy writing on the side of my lit fic writing. What I’m currently working on in that genre is the second book in a trilogy. Book 1 is done and has been done for about a year. I’ve revised it multiple, multiple, multiple times – cutting, re-writing, revising. The second half of the book was discarded and rewritten after feedback from beta readers, then revised, and rewritten and revised. And now I’m looking for a professional editor to give it a once over – proofreading and light developmental editing.

As far as publishing, I am geared towards traditional publishing for my upmarket literary fiction novels, but for my YA fantasy, I am going the self-publishing rout. So you’ll be hearing about both styles of publishing if you follow me for long enough.

Today I have a phone call planned with a potential editor for the 1st book in my YA fantasy trilogy. She was recommended to me by the friend of a friend of a friend and I am very excited to talk to her. But before I was excited I was nervous, because, frankly, I wasn’t sure what I needed from her besides: do what editors do to my book please.

So I’ve spent the morning researching what I should be looking for in an editor and what kinds of questions I should ask in order to make sure I get an editor that is right for me.

First it’s good to know what different kinds of editors do. From there you can decide what kind of editor you are looking for:

Carly Watters: Literary Agent – Editors: from developmental to proofreading what do they do?

Here are a few links to the blog posts I used to create my list of questions. I found these blogs through a simple google search, nothing fancy, but a good place to start:

The Write Life – How to Find an Editor For Your Book: 5 Crucial Questions to Ask

Wise Ink: 15 Questions You Should Always Your Editor Before Hiring Them

I found that simply reading through these lists helped me get a feel for what mattered to me in an editor. Not all the questions were relevant to what I am looking for and a few simply needed some gentle tweaking to feel relevant to what I hope to learn.

Here are the questions I will be asking and the topics I will be covering:

  • Making sure that she has experience in the genre of my book — YA Fantasy — is obviously step one. I’ll be asking not only what books she has edited in this genre but what previously published books she’s read and what she thought of them.
  • I will definitely be asking for a Trial edit. I feel that this is critical, for myself as well as for her. I want her to get a feel for my book and my style — is it something she can get behind? Does she vibe with it? I will also have a chance to look at her editing style — can I understand her edits, do they feel right to me? Basically: Would we make a good team?
  • What style guide does she use? I’m assuming she uses the CMS.
  • What is her expected time for turn around?
  • Will she be able to connect with me through email or phone during the editing process? A dialogue is important to me.
  • We’ll discuss her rates.
  • We’ll also be feeling each other out during this conversation. Do we get along? Can we work well together?  I think of the editing process as a collaborative work, so I need to be able to communicate well with and even enjoy communicating with whoever is collaborating with me on this book.
  • Also, will she be interested in editing the second two books when they are done? Possibly with more of an emphasis on developmental editing.

So, that’s what I’ve come up with. I’m sure more things will come up during the call – she’ll likely have as many questions for me as I do for her!



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