How to Choose an Editor for You by guest author L.K.Kelley

This article, published on 24 August, 2015, first appeared at
My thanks to L.K. Kelley for another fabulous contribution to this site.
Many know me as L.K. Kelley, author of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy, but what you may not know is that I am also an independent and professional book, article, and web editor.   I thought I’d give you a few tips on how to choose and editor for You!
“Editor” is more than just a title.  It’s a profession as much as any other.  But, it is far more than that since the title of “Book Editor” is even more specific. There are many of us out there in the big ole’ world, but not all are the same.  Here are some of my own suggestions as to how to find one that will work for YOU as an author.
First, I’m asked “Do you edit your own books?” The answer to that questions is “yes”.  But, that’s only because I have a couple of friends who are great at catching things.
I want to begin by saying that I have never met a perfect editor or author.  I would be truly foolish to say so.  Every author needs to remember this.  No matter how many times an editor edits, the truth is that even we can make errors that may not be caught.  So, how do I get around this?  I work one-on-one with each and every author editing one chapter at a time.  This is better than trying to edit a whole book all at once. I’ve found that this simple process works beautifully, and each of us catches something else.  So, here’s how to choose an editor for you whether you write for a publishing house, or independently.

Here are a few guidelines for you, the author on how to choose an editor:

  1. The best editor is UNBIASED. Regardless of the book, an editor is not there to read your book. They are there to EDIT your book. Do we read your book while editing? Yes, but not for relaxation. We are immersed in making your book read well.  If an editor even bothers to express his/her own views, they are the wrong one for you!
  2. Make no mistake!  Readers WILL judge your books on its spelling, language, and punctuation. You must choose an power-of-bookseditor who is skilled at this.  While no editor can be 100% perfect, this is as exact a science as possible.
  3. An author should have basic knowledge of  the language in which the book is written.  If it’s English, which is mine, then make sure the editor knows the language, punctuation, etc.  While there have been many changes throughout the years, no editor will know everything. However, there are basics that must be followed.
  4. It is not necessary for a good editor to know either a topic nor a genre.  Why?  Because an editor’s basic task is to make your book READ well.
  5. An editor should NEVER – EVER try to alter the intent of the author to such a degree that the author cannot recognize the stories within their books – either fiction or non-fiction.  This is imperative.  Period. End of line.
  6. Continuity is terribly important.  Your readers WILL notice especially if they are total fans.
  7. Cost is important as well.  While Independents are less expensive, remember that this is a real business. Our name goes on your book as well, so it’s important to us to edit to the best of our ability.  Cost can be figured either by word, or by page.  I charge by page. I also am affiliated with a small publisher ISOTUT, and edit for them as well.
  8. A word to the wise…it’s fine to ask friends to edit for you, but unless they have exceptional skills in language and punctuation, don’t use them.
It’s just fine to ask questions of the editor.  Like other businesses, we give estimates based on the information the author gives to us. If he/she charges for this, go to the next one on your list. That editor is not for you.  I never charge for an estimate.  Everything is agreed upon, before payment is ever received.
book shelvesIn short, authors.  Do your homework. Talk to the editor, and ASK QUESTIONS.  Some publishing houses have in-house editors.  Don’t slack on them, either.  ASK QUESTIONS. Like anything else you purchase – cars, homes, furniture, construction, home improvement, etc., ASK QUESTIONS.  You NEVER pick one of those without asking all types of questions, so why should an editor be any different?

Remember…your name will be out there on your book(s) – F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

Editing can be the difference in a mediocre book and a best seller!  And, you will hear it from your readers!



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