Novel Editors

Good novel editors can be an enormous help to your writing career. A good critical read of your manuscript can improve your story, sometimes remarkably so.

novel editors Of course a good critique group should be the first step for most writers in their quest to improve their work. But some people don’t have the time to participate in a critique group. Others have put their stories through their critique groups and then sent them out and received a pile of rejections. They know that there are still improvements to be made, but don’t know how to make them.

Some people aren’t comfortable with sharing their work in a peer environment (perhaps they don’t trust peer opinions or perhaps they are afraid that their work will be plagiarized). For whatever reason, they feel more comfortable with a professional novel editor. But there are so many to choose from.

Some Things to Look For in a Professional Novel Editor.

  • Credentials are a nice thing, but not the only factor in deciding on an editor. A published author might be a good choice as an editor, or he might not. Great writers aren’t always great editors.

book editors

    And, you don’t have to be a great writer to be a great editor—you have to understand what makes a good story. So, check credentials, but try to get a feel for how the editor works.

  • Samples—request them if they are offered. It is the only way to get an idea of what you will receive in the edit. When I had my first book edited, I shopped around quite a bit. I got several samples from the editors who interested me. They varied a great deal in the amount and quality of input they provided. In the end I took the one who seemed most enthusiastic about my story. This was also the person who provided the most input. Getting samples lets you see if you are on the same wavelength as the editor.

    Some editors even provide a sample edit of someone’s work on their website. While this can be a good indication of what you will get from your edit, it doesn’t tell you how this editor will work with you personally. Most editors will give a short sample on your work and it is a good idea to “try before you buy” for both the editor’s and client’s sakes.

  • Search the company name or editor’s name and see if there are any negative entries on writer’s discussion boards—sometimes you have to page through a few pages of Google to get to this information. Check out Preditors and Editors, searching for the editor in question to see if any complaints have been registered.

novel editors

  • Ask writing friends who they use to edit their work.
  • Ask for references—email addresses or phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to act as a reference for the company or editor. Be aware, no-one gives a reference who is unhappy with them. Read between the lines.
  • And of course come to me here. I’ll always be happy to work on any of your manuscripts or submission packages.


Getting the Most From Your Paid Edit

novel editors

We can’t all afford to have our work professionally edited, particularly more than once, so here are some suggestions for getting the most bang for your buck.

  • Follow submission guidelines when formatting your work. You don’t want your editor to spend his time and your money reformatting your work so that it is easier to edit. (This might seem like a silly thing to you, but I’ve actually had people submit documents that are single-spaced with manual line breaks at the end of each line. I can’t just select all and change the spacing, and it gets all messed up when I add and remove text—which is what they hired me to do.) It is a good thing to keep your editor in a positive frame of mind when he is reading your work.
  • Make sure your work is as good as you can get it before you send it for an edit. The editorial changes and suggestions should be used to improve and elevate your work to the next level. This won’t happen unless the editor is dealing with your current best work. If you are in the early stages of writing your manuscript, opt for the critique rather than an edit as it is more modestly priced and will help you deal with any major structure or character issues.
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  • If you have any specific concerns about your novel, send a list of questions to the editor. This will help the editor to see where you think you need the help and will make sure that he addresses these matters in the critique.
  • If you decide to invest in a top editor, perhaps someone who worked in publishing for many years and is now retired and freelancing from their home, you might find yourself paying $200 or more an hour. Unless you are a skilled writer, that can be expensive to say the least. You might be better off in that case to get an edit from a more reasonable editor for a first pass. You might pay $1000-$2000 for an edit of a novel to that editor, but that could save you several thousand dollars in the end. Also, I like to work with by the word prices as it is difficult for the writer to know how long a manuscript will take to edit. An editor had better accomplish a great deal in that hour to ear $200 of my hard-earned money.



novel editors

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Sherry Wilson's step-by-step method helped me organize my thoughts and transform a simple idea into a full-fledged plot. Without her help and guidance, I'd still be walking around with just another "great idea for a story."

Thanks to Sherry, though, I've published three novels and know there are more on the way!

~ Debi Faulkner, Summoning, LilyPad Princess and Murphy's Law


"Sherry is extremely professional and knowledgeable in this field. She is an expert on delivering punchy openings, developing engaging conflict and has the ability to view the whole story for structure and overall effect.

As well as being technically proficient in many styles, she also possesses a rich imagination, offering suggestions and alternatives in a way that doesn't impose on the writer's own style.

Her observations are honest and valuable, beyond what many others can give. I highly recommend her."

A. Rigby, Freelance Writer Goldstream, Alaska


"WOW! I have had a quick read of your comments and I must say they are awesome! You are thorough, I like that. Yes, I agree with all of your suggestions for they definitely improve the story. I'm eager now to commence corrections.

I really appreciate the work you've done so far. I'm glad you didn't rush. You provide excellent value for your services."

--Lena Jones


"Sherry Wilson has a deep understanding of the craft of writing and a natural gift for the art of writing. As an editor, she uses both these attributes. Her editing is thorough and precise, encompassing all the craft issues: grammar, sentence structure, active voice and so on. But she goes beyond the basics to find the heart and soul of the story, helping the writer to capitalize on his unique assets.

Being an editor myself, there are not too many people I would trust with my own work. Sherry is one of them."

Sandy Tritt, editor and CEO Inspiration for Writers