Ready for an editor? Start here

Ready for an editor? Start here

leap by Justin De La Ornellas flickr_com:photos:ornellas:10549281653Editing takes time

You can use the instant calculator on my site to find out how long editing typically takes.


Time Estimate


Since I can spend 5 to 10 months editing a final draft for publishers, it always throws me for a loop when I see “editing” as a single line item in the “get your book to print” process.

Proofreading might go at the pace of 2500 words an hour for clean and non-technical works, but proofreading is the last step in the editing process — it comes right before launching your product.

This project checklist & timeline for non-publishers can help you sort through the process.

What type of editing you want

That instant estimator page also explains the different kinds of editing: developmental, copyediting, proofreading.

Give your editor samples and she can help you figure out which type of edit would be the greatest benefit. She can also give you a more accurate estimate of time and cost. If you check my instant estimator, remember that I said there is an editor for every budget; I may not be yours.


Finding an editor

As for finding an editor, asking for a recommendation is a very good idea. Ask someone whose work you like if they can recommend an editor. That is where I would start. Or ask any editor you know; I am always happy to recommend a suitable editor, others are too.

There are also dozens of directories of editors online, but they contain only a small portion of editors and are no guarantee of that the editor is suitable. The advantage is that they may be searchable by keyword or narrowed by subject, product, type of editing, and location.

There is an editor for every project and budget. Talk with the editors you think of using to make sure you find a good fit for your subject, product (novel, ebook, app, etc.), timeline, and budget. Try this printable checklist to help you vet candidates. This other post gives a short overview of what an editor does and how to find an editor for your needs.


Advice elsewhere online

For more advice on working with an editor, check this blog series by the Dameditors.

A professional edit may not be your first stop. There is some good guidance on massaging your manuscript yourself over on Devin Berglund’s blog, which shows you where the professional edit fits into the whole process.



Just getting the words down is an enormous barrier to most people. You’ve made a great accomplishment. But, there’s a lot of hard work ahead if you want your work to have the best chance of success.


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