So what makes a good editor?

Hi, I’m Kara Linaburg,
an editor, author, mentor, and friend.

I’ve taken college classes for editing, hired editors for my own books, interned as an editor with a traditional press, and done a LOT of research. And there are MANY, MANY, editors on the market right now… how do you choose one?

Here are three tips I’ve learned in the last couple years…

  1. Ask to see a copy of their work. Looking back, I so wish I had taken the time to have the editor do a sample edit or show me what they’ve done in the past. This will allow you to see if you like what they’ve done, and if they have the same ideas for the type of edit you’re requesting. (Example: some editors treat a copy edit the same as a proofread and I do not).
  2. Find someone who has experience! This doesn’t just mean college, but if you’re hiring a copy editor (for instance), you want someone who doesn’t just think they know their grammar and sentence and paragraph stuff, but that they actually thrive in it. One thing I’ve taken away from my internship and training as an editor — there are many available (and nice, cool, peachy keen) editors who have gone to college and have their own business (with a lot of clients) and still suck as an editor. Because we authors don’t always realize (because we’re writers and not editors) that the said editor doesn’t really know what they are doing. That may sound harsh, but that just means you have to be careful, make sure the editor has positive feedback (from authors you know or feel you can trust), and has edited solid books with good reviews.
  3. You want someone who is more than just an editor. Someone who is willing to tell you if you’re wrong and cheer you on when you’re right. You need a listening ear, someone who has either written books in the past (or reads lots of variety) and has experience in your genre. You need someone who understands YOU. Yes, YOU! The amazing, incredible, author, human bean you are, who is okay with telling you when something sucks but has a passion for your writing anyway. Good luck and may the force be in your favor! Yeah… I know I screwed that one… 😉
Me hugging my publisher