So you’ve settled on a variety of yogurt—terrific! Time to head to the checkout? Not until you’ve considered a few more questions. What flavour would you like? Should you go with a cheaper brand or maybe pick a higher-end—and perhaps higher-quality—option? And what about expiry dates?
Just as with choosing a yogurt, choosing the right editor for your project involves a little more than just settling on a “variety” of editing—developmental editing, stylistic editing, copy editing, or proofreading. You may know your work is at the copy editing stage, for example, and can now exclude editors who specialize in developmental editing or proofreading, but you still need to pinpoint which copy editor—of all those available—would be the best choice for your project.
Asking yourself a few more specific questions will help.
Question 2: What “flavour” of editor are you seeking?
Just as yogurt comes in different flavours, editors specialize in different “flavours” of writing, or genres. Is your book an epic fantasy? A hardboiled detective story? A humourous romance? Look for an editor who focuses on the genre in which you’re writing and has experience editing in that area.
Consider also the target audience for your book. Adult? Middle grade? Preschool? If you’ve written a rhyming picture book with a STEM focus, it’s unlikely that an editor whose niche is psychological thrillers for adults would be your ideal choice. Similarly, if yours is a gritty urban fantasy, it would probably be a waste of both your and the editor’s time to contact one who works regularly on middle grade mysteries. Editors also work with different Englishes—British, Canadian, US, Australian—using different style guides.
Most editors will indicate the “flavour” of their specialties on their website, LinkedIn page, or directory entry on an editing organization’s website. Review their experience, training, and credentials as you browse the editing “shelves.”
And editors come in “flavours” too when it comes to communication style 🙂 . If they prefer to communicate with clients entirely through email (as most do), then they might not be a good fit if you want to connect via Zoom. If they prefer to work quietly—that is, with little contact unless they have specific queries about your book—and you like weekly check-ins, you both might need to compromise on communication. Be sure to let your editor know if you have any special needs or requests regarding communication—most will be happy to oblige.
Considering these questions will bring you one step closer to your “editorial checkout” 🙂 .
Next up: Part 3: What’s Your Budget and “Best Before” Date?