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  • Kristin Noland

Finding the Right Editor



It's imperative you find the right editor for you.


There are so many choices and variables to selecting an editor, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Let's start with these three questions.


What kind of editing I need?

Where do I look?

How much should I pay?


What kind of editing I need?


I blogged about this! I will give you an overview in this post, but you can read the long version here.


4 Types of Editing


  1. Developmental - Big-picture stuff. Plot structure, characters, character arcs, conflicts, tension, pacing, worldbuilding

  2. Line - Sentence level. Each line and word choice are assessed for clarity, variation, necessity. A lot of sentence restructuring.

  3. Copy - Grammar fixes, strong verb use, and a little sentence restructuring.

  4. Proofreading - Punctuation, capitalization, page numbering.


Professional editors usually offer more than one level or round as we like to call them.



Where do I look?


You can try doing a general search for editors who specialize your genre and the editing level you need. But that will yield a massive number of results.


Sites like the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association), PEN (Professional Editors Network), and ACES (American Copy Editors Society) are great places to start.


All have member directories, which you can filter by genre and editing level specialty.


Once you run a search, read their profiles.


What does their bio say about them? They have probably written it themselves, so the tone speaks to their personality. If they speak to you, research further.


Choose between 5-8 editors.


Go to their websites and see what their range of services, how much they charge (if listed), read their ‘about’ page.


Narrow your choices to three, based on the vibe you get from them.


Shoot them an email saying you are interested in their services.


Ask how much they charge for a specific type of edit and if they provide a sample edit.


Most editors will respond within 48 hours on weekdays, and most will perform a sample edit from 1,000 to 2000 words. Make sure you ask if it is a free sample. Some charge for the time they spend on the sample. It's only a small fee.


If you need a developmental edit, they may ask for a few chapters as this round looks at the larger picture.


After you receive your sample edits back, review and compare them.


Chances are at least one will seem like a good fit.


If not, go back to those 5-8 you chose from before and repeat the email and sample editing process.


Of course, if you are still having trouble finding the right fit, go back to the professional editing sites and search their directories again.


How much should I pay?


That's the big question, isn't it?


Many professional editors use the EFA’s average rates as a guideline for pricing.


You might find an editor who doesn’t fall within this range.


The reasons for that are varied but using the average to see if the editor you chose is charging a reasonable rate is helpful.


For a professional edit of 100,000 words, expect to pay between:


$4,000 - $6,000 - Developmental editing

$5,000 - $8,000 - Line editing

$3,000 - $5,000 - Copyediting

$2,000 - $4000 - Proofreading


Yeah. It's a lot. Which is why I recommend not waiting to save up.



I hope you enjoyed this post!


I'm a fiction editor, specializing in developmental, line, and copy editing of speculative fiction.


Write in these genres? Let's chat!


Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter. I only send one or two per month, and they are filled with writing and editing tips and tricks.

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