Trying to find a service provider online can be exhausting. What to look for, where to find someone, does this person really know what they’re doing . . . ? I know I feel that way when I’m looking to hire someone.
But finding an editor can seem especially tricky. You’re going to send your book off into the internet void—but to who, exactly?
I’ve editor shopped myself, and I know it’s not easy. (But Jennifer, you say, um, aren’t you an editor? To which I say, you can’t edit your own book. Even editors need editors for their books.)
So when the time comes for your book to be edited, or maybe as you start researching editors as you wait for inspiration on how to solve your latest plot problem, here are some questions to ask when looking for a kidlit editor.
What do they edit?
Review an editor’s website to see what genre(s) they edit and what types of editing they offer. Since you’re a kidlit author, you also want to see if they edit the category of book you’re writing. For example, some editors will name picture books, chapter books, and middle grade. Some will just edit picture books. Others might work with books for adults and also middle grade and young adult. And others might only work with YA authors.
If they don’t edit the type of book you’re writing, or if they don’t offer the services you need, you can stop here. But if they do, let’s keep investigating.
Why should I hire them?
What experience or training do they have that makes them a good fit for you and your book? This isn’t about a specific degree or training program, but are they qualified to do what needs to be done?
What do others say about their work?
Some editors have a page that is just testimonials from authors they’ve previously worked with. Others have testimonials on each page of their website. It doesn’t matter how they appear on the website, just that they’re easily accessible.
Can I find them elsewhere online?
Do they have social media pages for their business? Are they a member of any industry or professional organizations, like SCBWI?
Do they act like a professional?
Editing is a business. After an editor learns about your book and you agree on the type of editing to be completed, you should receive a contract to sign that clearly spells out the deadline to receive your edits, the expectations for what kind of edit will be done on your book, and what the payment will be.
The editor should also provide you methods of payment (PayPal, Square, etc.) that are sent to a business account, not a friends and family option. Why is this important? When a business accepts payment through PayPal or one of the others, the business pays a fee to use the service. It’s the cost of doing business. But if the business—or in this case, the editor—wants you to pay through the friends and family option, you’re violating the terms and conditions of whichever payment site you’re using.
Will I get along with this editor?
Have you spoken with this editor? (Email counts.) Have you read enough of their posts, tweets, etc., that you feel like you know them a little bit? Could you see yourself working with them?