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How to Query the Right Editor for Your Book

You’ve narrowed down your editor options for your manuscript. Excellent! Time to tap out a query to see if the editor will take on your project. How’s this?

Hello [Editor],

I’ve written a book and I’m looking for an editor. Please let me know how long it would take and how much it would cost.

Thank you,

[Writer]

That should catch the editor’s attention and get them fired up to work with you!

Right?

Well, maybe not. You’ll likely get a reply from the editor, but all you’re doing with this sort of query is stretching out the email exchange unnecessarily (and possibly securing a spot only at the end of the editor’s respond-to-inquiries queue  😉 ).

So how do you catch that editor’s attention?

Don’t worry—if you followed the steps in my posts about “How to Find the Right Editor for Your Book,” you’ve already done most of the work . You’ve figured out the following key details:

  • What genre your manuscript (MS) is
  • What level of editing your MS likely needs
  • What your timeline is
  • What your budget is

You also already know…

  • The word count of your MS
  • Whether you’re aiming for self-publishing or traditional publishing
  • The content of your MS
  • Where or how you found this particular editor

Now all you need to do is combine that information in your query:

  • Let the editor know where you found their name.
  • Tell the editor you think they would be good fit for your project because of the genre of your MS and the level of editing you’re seeking.
  • Add the word count of the MS, not the number of pages (different fonts and formatting styles can change how many words are on a page, so the industry standard is that one “page” = 250 words).
  • Alert the editor to any possible “trigger warnings” for your story.
  • Indicate your publishing goals (if you wish).
  • Finally—and perhaps most importantly—mention your timeline and, if you wish, your budget. There’s not much point getting excited in your email exchange about your plans to self-publish your picture book or explode onto the epic fantasy scene if the editor is out of reach in terms of scheduling or fees—you’ll both end up disappointed.

So how to gather all that info together in one clear and cogent package?

Example 1:

Hello [Editor],

I was referred to you by [Other Writer] whose book you edited last year. I recently completed a 68,000-word YA fantasy novel, which contains some battlefield violence but nothing excessively gory. I’m looking for a developmental edit. I’m hoping to get the DE completed by the end of the year so I can revise and aim for copy editing in the spring.

 If that would work with your schedule, I can send you some sample material from my manuscript so that you can provide me with a quote.

Thank you,

[Writer]

 Example 2:

Hi [Editor],

I’m looking for an editor to do a copy edit of my 518-word rhyming picture book, and I noticed in your Editors Canada directory listing that you specialize in rhyme and meter. I’ve already worked with a developmental editor, so I plan to submit my manuscript to some agents after the copy edit and a proofread in a couple of months. I hope that timeline will work for you. Would you be able to send me a quote if I email you my MS?

 I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,

[Writer]

Of course, the editor might ask you to complete a questionnaire to find out more about your project and how they can support your goals for it, but an informative query will…

  • tell the editor you’ve done your research and have a realistic view of the editing process
  • tell the editor you are serious about your project
  • allow the editor to inform you immediately if they are available in terms of your timeline (and possibly content and budget)
  • open the channels of communication effectively

Including these key details in your first query of an editor will expedite your editing plans and get you closer to your publication goal 🙂 .

 

 

 

 

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