What an editor does, and how to find a copyeditor or proofreader

What an editor does, and how to find a copyeditor or proofreader

So, you are going to publish!

Congratulations! You are on the road to sharing your idea with the world. Now is the time to consider how to refine your work and produce it.

An editor is an important part of the process. They work with you, and often with the designers and printers, to help you make the product you are dreaming of.

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What editors do

Editors might be involved at many stages: from the idea through to the final print test (the proof).

How you want an editor involved is up to you (or your publisher). Editors often specialize in one part of the process, or specialize in a particular type of product or subject area.

An editor might:

  • help structure content
  • suggest changes to style and tone
  • fine-tune language for the intended audience and format
  • check facts, graphics, and captions
  • suggest illustrations
  • seek permission to use quotes and images
  • flag potential legal issues such as copyright, plagiarism, and libel
  • ensure consistency and accuracy in word use, spelling, and grammar
  • check printers’ proofs for typos and lingering errors

Editing takes time: months, for longer works or those involving many revisions. Consulting an editor early in the process can help you decide what type of editing you want.

How to find an editorClose-up photo of person looking through binoculars.

  • ask for recommendations from writers, printers, or designers
  • contact an editors’ association to post an ad
  • search the world wide web including online databases

Finding an editor who understands your goal, product, subject, and working style can result in a very positive experience.

How to choose an editor

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There has to be a good personal fit as well as a skill fit. Use this checklist to help you evaluate the editors you are considering.

How to develop an agreement

Before they begin, an editor needs to know the details of your project (including excerpts) and will discuss the kind of editing you need. Editors charge a wide range of fees based on hours, words, and type of work requested. Negotiate for your needs and pick an editor you are comfortable with.

Decide on a budget, and work with the editor to develop an agreement that details the scope of the work. Clearly lay out the expectations of

  • how the work will be done (i.e., software, paper, drafting changes, or making queries),
  • when each part of the work is due,
  • style preferences (e.g., spelling, voice, or citations),
  • payment terms, and
  • how and when communication should happen.

The editor will ask you to make many choices. Clearly write out as many aspects of the agreement as you can before beginning. A signed contract can help ensure you each have a clear understanding of the work to be done. Get samples of a freelance editorial contract here.

Read the new post: How to request a quote for editing services.

Best wishes with your project!

It is hard work, which makes it all the more rewarding when your project sees the light of day.

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