How to Edit for an Editor

When you’re getting ready to send your manuscript to your editor, there are a few very important things to keep in mind. You want to make sure your editor can focus solely on making sure your writing is the best it can be. Here are some tips to make sure your editor can have their full focus on the words on the page.

Complete your self-edit(s)

The very first thing you need to do is complete your self-edits. While you’re hiring an editor to edit your work, it’s beneficial to take the time to polish your manuscript as much as you possibly can. Not only will it help your editor catch more serious errors, but it will also save you money, as many editors charge more for manuscripts that require more work. Here’s an article to get you started on your self-edits.

Make note of any personal weaknesses

After you’ve gone through self-edits, or perhaps have had outside readers give you feedback on your work, you’ll have a general idea of what sort of weaknesses you may have in your writing. It’s totally normal to have parts of the writing process you struggle with. Everyone does. What sets you apart from them is the fact that you’re making yourself aware of your struggles and working to improve them. Once you know what you struggle with, look for an editor that can complement your weaknesses and offer suggestions on how to correct them.

Bonus tip:

Make sure you find an editor that offers suggestions on how to improve your writing instead of “fixing” it for you. Your writing should be yours above all else.

Run it through spellcheck

While I would never recommend only using spellcheck to edit a book, things like missing punctuation and confused words are something that many newer grammar/spell checkers can point out. It really helps an editor if you’ve gone through and checked for easy, minor mistakes. One of the things I come across a lot in my edits are writers that haven’t taken the time to look for small, but common, errors and leave them for me to edit. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s what they hired me for, but cleaner manuscripts are easier and cheaper to edit.

Verify preferred file type

It’s important to verify what type of file your editor accepts. While many editors use Word for editing, that doesn’t mean the editor you’re hiring has access to it. Or, they may prefer the editing capabilities of another word processor instead. The most important thing is that the two of you work together and figure out the best file type for your partnership. If your editor doesn’t have a preferred file type, then use what you’re most comfortable with. After all, you’re the one that will work on the document after your editor is done editing.

Bonus Tip:

If you and your editor decide to use a cloud-based word processor, don’t start making corrections or watching your editor work. Wait patiently until they completer the edits so no errors are accidentally introduced.

Format your document

Now, before you worry, I’m not referring to formatting for print. Rather, I mean having proper spacing between words and paragraphs, making your chapter headings clickable in the navigation pane, adding page numbers and page breaks, and having a readable font. Your editor can do all this for you, but it will take more of their time and potentially cost you more money for the edit. If all that feels too technical for you, at the very least make sure you’ve broken up your paragraphs so your editor doesn’t have to work with one long block of text.

List out content warnings

Be conscious of the content you’re writing before you hire an editor. You should never ask an editor to edit sensitive topics without first making them aware of said topics. You may not find it difficult to write or read about the death of a pet, but your editor might. Most editors won’t have an issue editing work with more sensitive topics in them, but since everyone has different personal experiences, it’s common courtesy to mention them anyway.

The biggest thing for you to remember is that the cleaner and more prepared your manuscript is, the less time and money the edit will cost you. Sending a book to an editor is easy, sending a book that’s ready for editing to an editor takes work. If you’re ready for an editor, head over to my editing services page or DM me on Instagram to reserve your spot.