There are many important decisions to make when writing a book. What is the story about? Who will I dedicate this to? How do I get a publishing house to print this? Should I self-publish? How do I choose the perfect editor for me?
Let’s focus on the last one. Focus on one thing at a time otherwise your brain may explode. We cannot be held responsible for that again.
1. Meet in Person (When Possible): In our technology age, it may seem easy to handle all correspondence in an email. Don’t underestimate the value of meeting in person. This lets you know it is a real person and not a robot named Hal editing your story. Find value in your editor by sitting down and speaking to him/her/them.
2. Have a Prepared List of Questions: This is more important than many people suspect. You need to know your editor’s experience, his/her expertise and whether they have a preference. If you find an editor who only reads Sci-Fi you may find it more difficult to gain writer’s advice for your medieval romance. You also need to know the editor’s workload, price and availability for meetings. Your editor will undoubtedly have questions for you as well. If they don’t that may be a red flag.
3. Ask for Samples: It is important to see an editor’s work experience and there are several ways to do so. You can ask for books they worked on in the past (if possible something in your genre), blog posts (to get a sense of their original voice in writing) and you can even request to work on a chapter together. However, editors are like any other profession; they are giving you not just a chapter of their work, but years of education, years of experience and cultivated tips and procedures for editing. You may be charged a small nominal fee for this. (Most editors may put this charge toward a full blown editing contract as well.)
Be sure to find the editor who works for you as this may prove to be as important a decision as who you should marry, where to move or what flavor shake to get at Sonic. Using these tips, you are on the right track to finding the perfect editor for you.