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    « Get Your Book into Print in 2011 | Main | Paid Obituaries Will Be a Loss to Family Historians »

    Finding an Editor For Your Memoir or Family History

    For the first time writer, working with an editor can be a daunting task. The Northwest Independent Editors Guild offers a good list of Tips on Working with an Editor.  


    When you begin seeking an editor, contact potential candidates well in advance. Editors can be booked for several weeks out. (Having just helped a number of clients who were rushing to get books completed for Christmas, I can sympathize.) Recognize that many editors have projects they will need to wrap up before they get to yours.



    When you contact potential editors you should be prepared to discuss the following topics:

    • The subject matter and length of your book. (Some editors talk about the number of double spaced pages. We prefer to use the word count which eliminates variables like font size, margins, etc.)

    • The date by which you would like to have your project completed.

    • The level of editing you are seeking: developmental or content editing, substantive editing, line editing, copy editing, or proofreading. The Guild recommends reviewing A Guide to Common Rates for Editorial Services created by the Editorial Freelancers Association as you are considering the type of editing to seek.

    • Do you want the editor to mark up a hard copy or provide the feedback in digital form, as with MS Word "track changes"?

    • What are your style preferences? Chicago Style manual, AP Stylebook, MLA Style or the editor's in-house style

    When discussing the amount of editing you seek, you will want to consider:

    • Are you seeking light, moderate or heavy editing?

    • Do you want true editing or are you querying the editor about substantive problems with inconsistency of tone or character?

    • Do you want the editor to fact check questionable items or simply flag them for you to check?

    • Will you need help preparing the manuscript for publication?

    • Are there any specific problems you want the editor to watch for?

      The editor may ask to see a segment of your manuscript o help make decisions about some of the questions above. You in turn may want to see a sample of how the editor edits a segment of your manuscript. (This is one of the reasons we offer a low cost manuscript evaluation service.) You may also want to ask the editors you talk to for references, clients who can provide feedback on their experiences with the editor.


    When you have decided upon an editor you want to work with, he should provide you with a specific quote for the services you seek. If the quote is satisfactory, the editor should ask you to sign a specific agreement or contact covering the entire project.


    Click here to read the full post by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild


    Click here to read the Editorial Freelancers Association Guide to Common Rates for Editorial Services



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