How to Find a Book Editor

by Terri J. Huck

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt Possibilities Publishing Company, we value editing as a vital part of the publishing process. In fact, we recommend it for all the books we publish.

It’s easy to lose perspective when you’ve lived with a manuscript for years. You know what you meant to say and how you meant to say it, but you might not be able to tell if that’s what’s actually on the page.

A professional editor can take your manuscript to the next level because he or she is seeing it with fresh eyes, the way a reader would.

I talked about the layers of editing in an earlier post. If you’re looking for a line edit or a copy edit, you might be able to go with a general editor. However, if you need a developmental edit (which involves structure and character development and all that story stuff), you’re better off choosing an editor who has an MFA in creative writing or some other grounding in fiction. In fact, many novel writers also do editing on the side.

So how do you find the editor who’s right for you and your book? Here are some tips:

  • Ask your fellow writers. Chances are some of them will have worked with freelance editors and can give you recommendations.
  • Check the acknowledgments page of books you admire. Most writers will thank their editors, if they had a good experience. But be realistic: Stephen King’s editor is likely not looking for freelance work.
  • Do a Google search or check the classified ads in the back of writing magazines. Then read through the editors’ websites to get a feel for their interests and background.
  • Check out some of the companies that offer editing services, including Kirkus Reviews, Writer’s Digest, and even Amazon’s CreateSpace.

Take the time to make sure you and your potential editor are a good fit, which might involve sending him or her a sample of your writing or asking if you can talk to previous clients. And once you find an editor who helps your work shine, make sure to mention him or her on the acknowledgments page of your book!

Terri J. Huck is an editor and managing partner at Possibilities Publishing Company. She blogs about researching and writing historical fiction at

Sharpen your quills and fill your ink pots. Possibilities Publishing Company wants your scariest, creepiest, ghostliest, weirdest, original stories for a Halloween-themed anthology to be published — you guessed it — right around Halloween 2015. Click here for more info or to submit a story.

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