How to Pick the Right Editor for Your Book

July 25, 2018
business woman working on her laptop

business woman working on her laptop

by Nancy Nyman

Ask anyone who’s successfully written and published a book which person on their team was most critical in whipping their manuscript into shape and “My editor” will almost always make it onto the shortlist.


Why is an editor so critical? And what does an editor actually do? Knowing the answers to these two questions might help you take pressure off of yourself and guide you in choosing the right kind of editor for your project.

Getting Started

Some writers choose to engage an editor early on. In this scenario, the writer will hire a developmental editor to help develop the manuscript from initial concept, through outlining, and even drafting. A developmental editor will have a pulse on the marketplace, analysis of competing works, and references and resources to help the writer through the development of the book.

Improving Your Manuscript

Content editing is perhaps the most comprehensive, and often the most crucial, type of editing. A content editor will help you improve your manuscript by identifying and solving problems of clarity, context, accuracy, consistency, and order. A content editor can also help you figure out what’s missing. Content editing often yields a major rewrite or two.

Grammar Checking

Copyediting provides a line-by-line check for grammatical errors, a cross check of references for tables and illustrations, and will note any permissions that might be needed. If your book doesn’t include tables and illustrations, and you’ve already done your rewrite, it might be time for proofreading, the final phase of editing. During the proofreading process, an editor will review your manuscript line-by-line, word-by-word to ensure accuracy.


Wherever you are in the process, remember: editors approach your project with objectivity, enabling them to see things that you might miss, which makes their contributions key when it comes to writing your book.


Nancy Nyman is a writer and co-founder of Two Girls Unleashed.


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Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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