Self Publishers Guide To Working With A Great Editor

Editing is an important ingredient for producing a book that will not only be published but also read. Although writers usually have a good grasp of the English language, editors undertake this task on a daily basis and have specialist knowledge.

Editors serve as a second pair of eyes to assist authors who have sometimes spent months or years working on their work. Steps for dealing with editors are therefore useful knowledge for aspiring authors. Some of these steps include:

Finding a great editor

A common way to find an editor is through referrals. Referrals are usually unbiased opinions based on prior experience from working with a particular editor. Word of mouth referrals from established authors serve as the best type of referrals. You can also search the acknowledgements page in a published book for mention of the editor's name.

In additional to these sources, you can also contact your country or state's relevant associations, for example the Australian Society of Authors or the New South Wales Society for Editors. There are also websites such as and where editors from all over the world can bid to work on your project.  

Understand the rules

Editors don't always work in the same manner. It is therefore important to understand the way your editor works and to ensure that it also aligns with your objectives. For example, some editors will quote your per number of words; others may want to preview the quality of your writing and will request a few sample chapters to determine how long it will take them; and others may charge an hourly rate. So as an author it is important to understand the way in which your editor works.

Establish creative control

The author-editor relationship is a fragile yet significant relationship that needs to work. When working with an editor you need to establish creative control. That is, what changes do you want them to make and who gets the final say. When using a new editor for the first time, it is a good idea to request that the editor shows you all of the changes they have made (Microsoft Word has an option which allows these changes to be highlighted). Once you have seen these changes, and if you are happy with them, you can hand over the reigns to the editor. That is, you are essentially saying, “I have 100% faith in your ability and you make whatever changes you feel are necessary.”

So from this point onwards, you no longer have to check your book for mistakes or to ensure that the right changes have been made. Reaching this point, where you've established a solid relationship with your editor, can be a timely process. However, it is important to communicate with your editor and to save time by creating style guides and word sheets.

Editing can be a long process and if you don't have the right editor this stage of the production process can be drawn out - in terms of time and money. As an author this is the last thing you want. So make sure you find the right editor, understand how they work and determine who has the final say.


Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

To discover how the Get Published Secrets Program can help YOU become a best selling author in record time, click on the link below now:

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