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How to Pick the Right Editor

The first thing I have to say is if an editor tells you they edit all genres and they do all types of editing, run. If you need a developmental edit for a memoir, then don’t hire someone who has done all their work in academia or guidebooks. This is especially true for developmental editors, who need to understand your genre to give you and your manuscript the best chance of success in the market. Each genre is different, so find someone who specializes in your genre. Here are a few important things to consider:

Access to Your Editor

Will you have access to your editor? I have heard some stories from authors about editors who will only give one set of written feedback and not answer questions. That is not professional editing. You want access to your editor and you want a good relationship with her as well. You want to feel that your editor cares about this book baby you are bringing into the world as much as you do.

Editor’s Experience

Has this editor the level of experience you want or need? There is nothing wrong with going with a less experienced editor. But even a new editor should be able to provide a reference of some sort. When asking about experience, ask about their level of experience with the type of editing you need and your genre.
As an example, I only edit nonfiction and memoir and I only do developmental and stylistic edits. That’s it. Those are my areas of expertise, and I usually work with entrepreneurs who are integrating their book into their business or life in one way or another and need someone who understands how to do that, and how to ensure they write the right book.

Sample Edits 

Ask them to look at your work and then talk to you about it. They won’t read the entire manuscript, but they should look at a few pages and have a constructive conversation. They may charge you a small fee for this work, which is also fine. If you want a professional editor, then take the time and test drive potential editors.

Know Your Budget 

Be upfront with your budget. Editors are not out to get you and we have standard fees for our work. I always ask to see a writing sample before I give a quote and I think that is common practice. If your budget is on the low end, most editors can help you prioritize the work.


Your relationship with your editor is essential to your success. Take your time to choose the right person for you and your book. 

– Keep writing Melody Ann

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