Find The Perfect Editor Or Proofreader For Your Novel!

Congratulations, you’ve finished your novel! Celebrate! The next step is getting published. However, as you know, your manuscript has to be polished until it shines, and so you’re on the lookout for a professional editor or proofreader you can trust with your baby, who won’t take all that money and not provide enough changes (or worse, change too much!). But you’ve looked at a lot of sites and they all look the same, and you’re getting frustrated.
First of all, calm down. Take it slowly! Before you find an editor, make sure you’ve done everything you can on to improve your own writing. Most writers are in a huge rush to publish (because of the dollar signs in their eyes and the possibility of making Oprah) however there is no substitute for a well-crafted story. Take your time. Educate yourself. Go to the library and read at least 5 books on how to write. An editor will improve your writing, but they can only do so much. If you plan to be a career writer, there is no need to rush. If you hope to make a profit, understand that competition is fierce and only the truly best manuscripts will see a return. So finish it, take some time off, write something else, read some tips about writing (and more importantly, common writing mistakes) and then come back to your novel and rewrite it.
I only say this because when I get novels, I usually make so many comments on plots structure, characterization, organization and style that the author will need to overhaul their book. However, having a professional editor work with you closely is like having a personal writing coach – although it may not be what you expected, you’ll get an invaluable education that can help your writing long term.
So let’s say you’re ready and you want to find an editor RIGHT NOW!
Here are some tips to help you avoid common mistakes in choosing an editor for your novel.
1) Get a native speaker – preferably American. Why? US English is standard international English. Don’t be fooled by an address in the USA – that doesn’t mean squat. The easiest way to find this out is through email – ask a lot of difficult questions, see how they respond. Does it sound smart, clear and natural?
2) Find someone with a background in literature. Few editors have actually studied English, and very few have a postgraduate degree. And those who do usually charge through the nose for it. However, if you can find an editor with a Masters in Literature (as opposed to a B.Ed in business) they’re going to have more ability to offer piercingly attentive constructive criticism.
3) Always get MORE editing. Never choose ‘proofreading’ only instead of ‘copy editing’. Your novel is not perfect – and even if it was, why take the chance? Proofreaders will only fix mistakes, while copy editors will improve the writing. Great editors will also comment about everything that’s strange, that bothers them, that doesn’t fit, that’s unbelievable, or anything that distracts from the main story. Find an editor who cares about YOUR book and wants to help you make it successful.
4) How much should I pay? Before setting a budget, find the editors that you think could do the best job on your novel; use their prices to help you set a reasonable budget. If you don’t have the money, think about saving up for awhile. Nothing is more disappointing than to pay several hundred dollars on a service that doesn’t satisfy.
5) Where to find editors? Try searching for what you want. (Novel editing, novel editor, get my novel proofread, etc). You can also post your project on freelancer sites (,, however you may be overwhelmed by all the bids and have trouble making a choice.
6) Finally, don’t rush into a relationship. Any good editor will offer to edit a few pages for free, take advantage of this. Try out a handful of editors and see who is on your wavelength.

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