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3 Questions to Ask When Seeking a Qualified Manuscript Editor

By November 23, 2014November 21st, 2016Hiring an Editor, Manuscript Editing, Tips for Authors

“The End.” Two words never sounded so sweet for an author completing work on their manuscript. The months and, sometimes, years devoted to bringing your story to life have finally come to a conclusion. Now comes the final revision stages that often involve some type of editing and proofreading. However, there are so many options for editing services available that it can be difficult to sort out which services are offered by a qualified manuscript editor and which are scams. What can you do to vet editors for your manuscript?

Finding a Qualified Manuscript Editor

Hiring an experienced editor is not an easy process. No matter if you are an experienced writer or have little experience with the world of publishing, you must take your time in choosing who should review your work and make the necessary changes to present your best, finalized story. Here are three key questions to ask editors while you go through the vetting process. While they are not the only questions you should ask, they provide a launchpad for narrowing down your candidates.


1. What is your experience with editing manuscripts?

Depending on the budget you have and the level of editing you require, the editors you review  may offer a wide range of abilities and types of experience. More experienced editors will, in general, require a larger budget, but there may also be qualified candidates that offer the level of editing you desire for a smaller project rate. In any case, beginning with an understanding of how many other manuscripts they have reviewed may help you determine if they are a good fit for you.

2. What kind of process do you provide to clients when editing?

Editors of every level of ability have some type of process which may rely on a particular amount of words edited, a number of chapters, or a combination of both. They may use specific software, work by hand, or use Track Changes in Microsoft Word. No matter how they complete the project, it is a good strategy during your candidate review process to understand not only what they do to review your work, but how.

Also, asking how editors complete their projects can help you weed out anyone who may not have seemed upfront before about their abilities. Be wary of candidates who do not provide you a detailed outline of their process from start to finish, as this may indicate they have not been honest about their experience or have not completed a project similar to the one you seek to polish.

3. Would you be willing to provide an editing sample?

Most, if not all, editors have experience completing editing samples. Depending if they have worked with other professional organizations, they may have done editing samples following the AP Style Guide or Chicago Manual of Style. They may have done an informal sample for other clients as well, and so your request should not seem out of the ordinary.

If you decide requiring your candidates to provide an editing sample will help you find the right manuscript editor, you may ask them to review a portion of your manuscript. An editing sample of more than 1,000 words from any section of the manuscript should help you decide which candidates are right for the job and which you need to pass on for this project.

Choosing an editor is something authors take quite seriously because it could make or break their manuscript’s success, either in the self-publishing space or when approaching agents to represent them with traditional publishers. The answers to key questions regarding the process, experience, and know-how of an editor should provide you a basic outline of how to choose a manuscript editor.

Talk to a Qualified Manuscript Editor

Taking the time to hire a professional manuscript editor is an investment in the project you have worked so hard to complete. Vetting your qualified editing candidates using important questions along the way will help you find the right person for the job. With experience working with numerous authors, editor Megan Harris takes manuscript review and editing seriously. If you are close to completing your manuscript or are searching for a manuscript editor to take on your project, contact Megan today to discuss your needs.