What to look for in a Professional Editor

Your BF might correct your spelling, or your mum might suggest your character go left instead of right, but finding a professional editor to help develop your manuscript is usually a good idea if your end goal is to gain publication. Not all editors are of the same calibre, and not all provide the same types of editing, so investing your time to find the right one is a good idea before investing your money.


First of all, select one who is experienced in your genre. Hiring an editor who primarily works with crime fiction may not be the best fit for your middle grade novel about dragons.

And then it’s important they know their ‘stuff’

Some items a manuscript assessment should address –

  • Story arc
  • Structure
  • Grammar
  • Dialogue
  • Showing vs telling
  • Character development, motivation
  • Reader connection to character
  • Logic and reasoning
  • Genre and readership
  • Pace, tension and hooks

They should be able to identify the problem or weakness and suggest how to fix it. Well, a good editor would anyway.

How to find an editor
– contact the Writers’ Centre of your state
– contact a publisher and ask if any of their interns (past or present) are doing freelance work
– look at the ads in any writing magazines you subscribe to
– if you’re on a facebook group of writers, ask the group for suggestions

Understand the service
Editors can provide different services. A manuscript assessment is usually done when you believe you’ve finished your own editing process. Having fresh, trained eyes scrutinise your work can help improve many aspects of your writing and narrative. After this, and before submitting to a publisher, you may consider a proofreading service to ensure your manuscript is consistent and professional.

On the dollar
There are quite a few businesses who claim to offer the ‘best’ service which comes at a hefty price. More expensive doesn’t equal quality, so shop around until you find an editor with transparent rates, and hopefully some good reviews.

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