What To Look For In An Editor

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I am not an author. However, I do feel that as a new business owner, I can relate to the vulnerability and often awkwardness that an author feels when first sharing their work. An editor is one of the first people that you trust with your manuscript; therefore, it is helpful to know what you should look out for when searching for an editor to work on your copy.

Below are four key factors that I believe will help you decide on an editor for your work. It is by no means an exhaustive list; nevertheless, it should point you in the right direction.

  1. Someone who is approachable: as previously mentioned there is a huge vulnerability that comes with sharing your work; thus, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable sharing your ideas and working closely with your editor. You can often gain an understanding of this by the initial research that you do. When you visit their social media platforms/website, how does it make you feel? Do you feel an immediate level of trust? Do they come across as empathetic and understanding? Also, can you picture yourself working comfortably with this editor? These are the sort of questions that can help get you thinking about whether a particular editor is right for you.
  2. Someone who is properly trained as an editor: a proofreader, copyeditor, and any other sort of editor is not just an average reader. They will have taken the time to undergo professional training to gain the knowledge and skills to complete work according to the standards of the industry. Therefore, when you come across an editor for your work, look out for their qualifications and professional training. If they’ve mentioned their training on their website/social media platforms, you can do some research into the training provider or their mentor. If you can’t see a note about training on their website/social media, don’t be afraid to ask about their qualifications.
  3. Someone who can offer the level of editing that your work requires: there are four different levels of editing. These include proofreading and copyediting which are the final two stages before a manuscript gets published. Line editing involves working at the sentence level to help a writer convey their message in the best way to the audience. Finally, developmental editing is a detailed review and evaluation of your manuscript and is the first stage of the editing process. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your editor is trained in the level of editing that your work requires. For example, I am a qualified proofreader and copyeditor; however, I do not currently offer line editing or developmental editing. Therefore, if your manuscript requires heavier editing, I would not be the right editor for you.
  4. Someone who specialises in your niche: though I am an editor specialising in Muslim content, it is more than possible for me to edit content of a different niche. However, it would be more helpful for you as an author to hire someone who has the background, knowledge, and experience in your specific niche to edit your copy. This is because a specialist editor will already possess a level of understanding about key concepts and values that you want to convey in your work. Moreover, part of any editor’s job is to search for an answer if they are unsure about something; however, the specialist will also have knowledge about the specific resources in your niche to find the most reliable answer for you.

There will be other factors that play a part in your decision to hire a particular editor, such as your budget and deadline. However, I believe that the four points mentioned above can be used to form the basis of your search for an editor.