Finding the right book editor
The romantic myth of an author sitting alone in their room and emerging with a perfectly polished book is just that: a myth. While writing itself may be a solo activity, the best books are products of collaboration — and professional book editors are crucial partners, as they have the knowledge, talent, and revision skills to transform your book from a rough draft to a bestseller! From developmental editors, who give advice on story and structure, to copy editors and proofreaders, who hone the mechanics of your work, a strong team of literary editors is vital to your book’s success. But where can you find professionals with the right experience in your genre?
What to look for in an editor
If you’ve never hired a freelance book editor before, you might be a little intimidated by the process — but don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! The first thing you need to do is determine which type(s) of editing your book requires. You can check out that article or read through our service definitions below to figure it out. Once you know whether you need an editorial assessment, a developmental edit, a copy edit, or a final proof, you can move onto researching and contacting suitable editors. You’ll need to find an editor who:
- has experience editing in your genre;
- aligns with your communication style;
- can work with your timeline; and
- fits with your budget.
The best place to get in touch with a vast pool of relevant editors is a selective, professional hiring platform, with a standardized query form to help you find your editorial match. Fortunately, you’ve come to exactly the right place.
Work with the top 3% of book editors
At Reedsy, we rigorously vet all our freelancers so you can conduct your search with confidence. For editors, we require a minimum of five years’ experience, ideally with a Big 5 publisher or as a freelancer for a bestselling client. We accept only the top 3% of applications and monitor their work and performance once they’re on our marketplace, ensuring quality control and client satisfaction. Find out more about how we select our professionals here! Unlike other companies, Reedsy doesn’t provide generic “editing services” that match you up with a random freelancer. Rather, we provide you with a diverse marketplace of the best editors in the industry so you can actively hire the right person for your book. We give you flexibility and access to the best talent out there: professionals who will go above and beyond to make your book shine. But don’t just take our word for it...
Here’s what our authors had to say
“My editor’s hybrid developmental-and-line edit exceeded my expectations and completely blew me away. He showed such deep understanding for my story that I was 100% confident in applying all of his edits.” – J.D. Bass
“Though I must have reread my manuscript hundreds of times, my copy editor caught over 10,000 minor errors! This just goes to show how easy it is to get too close to your book, and how important it is to hire an editor.” — Dhipa Lee
“After my collaboration, I know that my book is not only better than it was, it’s better than I could ever have made it on my own. Working with an editor taught me a number of incredibly valuable lessons about constructing a novel that I can incorporate into my future projects.” — Andrew Chamberlain
“I’m without a doubt that my book wouldn’t have been as successful if it hadn’t been for Reedsy or my editor. No one should consider publishing without professional editing.” — Paul Wilson
Book editing service definitions
People define the various types of editing differently. For our clarification and your convenience, here’s what we mean when we talk about developmental editing, copy editing, and more on Reedsy. Make sure you know what you’re looking for before you reach out to our editors! (If you’re really unsure, we’d recommend starting with an editorial assessment.)
An editorial assessment is a manuscript review that provides feedback on the structure of your book, as well as its characterization, plot, pacing, and style. The main purpose of an editorial assessment is to give you a sense of your book’s overall strengths and weaknesses, so you can pursue additional editing services if needed. Read more
Developmental editing takes a close look at the larger structures of your book: plot, characters, themes, and tone. A developmental editor ensures that these “big picture” elements are strong before you move onto the minutiae of each line. Read more
Copy editing polishes your mechanics, sharpens your prose, and ensures consistency of style. This is the service you need if your story’s structure is solidly in place, but the text itself can be improved. Read more
Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process: a thorough examination of your book that corrects minor errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. A proofreader does not feed back on your structure or other major editorial issues, but rather guarantees that your text goes to print (so to speak) without a single typo. Read more
Query Letter Review
While not part of your actual manuscript, a strong query letter is crucial for authors who want to land an agent and a traditional publisher. A query letter review analyzes your elevator pitch and the sample of your book that you’ll submit to agents, helping you make them irresistible. Read more
How much do editing services cost?
Perhaps the most pressing question when it comes to hiring a freelance book editor is: how much is this going to cost? As part of our commitment to flexibility and fairness, we allow our Reedsy editors to set their own fees. And in the interest of transparency, we analyze this data each year in order to update our blog post on the cost of self-publishing a book. Check it out to learn more and to calculate your own editing costs.