Your Search for An Editor For a Book

If you are looking for an editor for a book that you wrote, it indicates that you value the input that a book editor can give to your manuscript.

man working on laptop

By Raza Hasnain Naqvi

Once your manuscript is ready from your side, in other words, you have done the best you can and worked on your third or fourth draft, then it's time for an assessment. Not a self-assessment of your personality or something like that, but an assessment of your manuscript.

This is where your search for an editor for a book begins to have meaning. You are now ready for professional eyes to look over your manuscript and give you the right feedback. This feedback will help you to know that you are on the right path and if you are not, then you can make a course correction with your novel or a non-fiction work. 

Of course, if you have a writing partner or trusted friends who are serious book readers, then you can allow them to have a look at your manuscript and let you know what they think. This would be the first feedback that you would be getting from the eyes of people who understand the value of the written word.

What Kind of Editor For a Book Do You Want

There are different kinds of book editors out there who are ready to take care of your editing needs. If it is your first novel - your debut novel, then you may consult a book editor for editorial assessment at the very least. This is the first level of professional look at your manuscript that can be done by the editor.

1. Editorial Assessment: 

At this level, the book editor that you may finalise will do your manuscript evaluation, before they touch your words. If it is fiction, she will check if your story is in good shape. If it is non-fiction, she will go through the manuscript and see if your message is being projected clearly, with distinct chapters for different layers of your points. 

You will get a book summary from her highlighting the pros and cons in your manuscript. She will let you know what’s working in your manuscript and what’s not working. If this is the kind of editor for a book who will be a good fit for you, go ahead and sign him up for your project.

2. Developmental Editing:

At this level, the book editor you hire will question you. Yes, he will raise queries wherever he finds parts, sections and chapters of your manuscript that are not making sense. You will need to satisfy his queries in a manner that he is happy and convinced with what you have written in the manuscript. Or, you need to make changes and corrections that satisfy both of you. 

In other words, what a book editor does at this point is to guide you, the book author, on what else can be written that will add more power to your words and the thoughts that you have expressed. You may even have to do some reordering of chapters, especially if it is non-fiction, if the book editor says that it will help the book and the reader.

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3. Copyediting:

The kind of editing done at this level is called copyediting. At this point, the editor for a book checks grammar, sentence structure and paragraphs. Keep in mind that at this stage, the book editor will not question what you have written in the manuscript. She will only correct what you have written so that it reads well. This will include things like spellings, font, capitalization and hyphenation. 

In the case of non-fiction, fact checking will also be done. Any factually incorrect statements will be highlighted for the author to make changes. The type of English you are using will also be checked, like whether it is US English or UK English. A style guide will also be prepared by the copyeditor at this stage so that there is uniformity in names and other relevant information throughout the manuscript. 

4. Proofreading:

This is the last stage where any work is done on your manuscript. This starts when you have a printed copy of your copy-edited manuscript in your hand. The proofreader will now tally the printed copy with the original final-edited manuscript that you sent for printing the proof copy. At most there will be spelling checks and corrections and hyphenation issues, if any. 

The proofreader will check for omissions, missing pages, any awkward words or inappropriate line breaks in the page as he continues to compare it with the edited manuscript. You need to keep in mind, if there are more errors found at this stage by the proofreader, he will request the author to get the manuscript copy-edited again. 

Read more: What's the Difference Between Copyediting and Proofreading?

The primary responsibility of any editor for a book is ensuring a smooth editor-author collaboration. This ensures that improvements suggested by the editor during the manuscript editing are implemented by the book author, as the right amount of trust has been built.