Dear Indie Annie,

I like working with my usual editor, and I know she’ll clean up my draft without messing up my writing style. But this draft took way longer than I intended. Now she’s booked, and I have to find someone else to take on my current WIP! How can I find an editor I know I’ll mesh with? 

Editor-less in Edwardsville

Dear Editor-less,

Dear one, editing is like dating—you’ve got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince (or princess). I say throw that manuscript wide open, like a fabulous gala ball, and waltz in some fresh faces!

I appreciate it’s hard to find another beau when your heart is still yearning for what you had, but this is business, and you have to pull on your grown-up panties and move on. Your editor has. And, without being unkind, my dear, you did leave them hanging.

So let’s focus on how you can find the right editor match for you.

  • Start by ditching the wrong ’uns—editors who take forever to respond, miss deadlines, or give half-baked feedback. Remember, you are in charge. It’s a professional partnership. Expect your editor to act accordingly.
  • Make a list of must-haves: Do you need someone who specializes in your genre? Has experience with indie authors? Has a quick turnaround? Knows your pet peeves about edits? 
  • Then ask around. Put the word out to writer groups, social media, and folks you trust. Sometimes the best editors are the ones your author friends recommend.

When you interview candidates, trust your gut. Red flags, like defensiveness, unprofessional communication, or failure to understand your writerly vision, mean it’s time to bid them adieu.

Now, it seems you have been off the dating scene for a while now. So, my sweet, here are some extra tips from your good old auntie, Indie Annie:

  • Momma may have said beware of invitations to go back to their room to “view their etchings,” but in this case, it’s vital that you look at samples of their previous work. This will give you a good idea of their editing style and the level of quality they provide. Ask to see edited excerpts from books similar to yours.
  • You’re going to be their employer, so ask for references. Reach out to authors they’ve worked with in the past, and get honest opinions on the editor’s skills, communication, and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Shop around. Speak to several editors to compare rates, turnaround times, and specialities. Get a few options before choosing one.
  • Share your vision of a happily ever after. Discuss your writing and editing process in detail. Make sure the editor understands your goals and style. Ask how they approach content editing, line editing, and copyediting.
  • Try before you buy. Ask the editor to review a sample chapter, then discuss their feedback and suggestions in-depth. This will give you an idea whether their notes help improve your work and if you have a good rapport.
  • Ask for a prenup. Okay, you aren’t getting married, but you must request a contract. Even freelance work should have a written contract detailing responsibilities, schedules, payment terms, and recourse if either party needs to terminate the agreement.
  • Look for chemistry. Trust your instinct on whether this editor understands and appreciates your unique writing. If you aren’t vibing well during interviews, the actual editing process may be stressful.

With the right preparation and research, you’ll find an editor who is an excellent match for your writing and your book’s needs. The right editor for you is out there, waiting to make your book the best it can be. You’ve got this, sweetheart! Now get back out there and keep kissing frogs. One of them is sure to turn into a prince who can promise you editorial bliss.

Happy writing,

Indie Annie

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Indie Annie

Have questions about your own writing and publishing? Ask Indie Annie, our take on the advice column, penned by an irreverent and sassy avatar with a flair for fashionable scarves and a tipple in her teacup.

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