You’ve written your work, and you’re keen to ensure it’s as perfect as possible before publishing it or submitting it to an agent or publisher. That means taking the next step: getting your text quality-checked, polished and reviewed.

Mum / your partner / your co-worker / your friend-who’s-an-English-teacher may have read it for you along the way and made useful suggestions or corrections. That’s most likely been a great help in preparing your final draft.

However, because you’re a professional and take your work seriously, you know that it will benefit from a professional edit.

After all, editors know publishing, writing, grammar, usage, styles, spelling, sensitivities, copyright, permissions … all the things that you want to be sure you’ve got right. And a professional editor will take your work just as seriously as you do.

Naturally, you hope to find the right one: the right experience for your work’s genre or format, the right personality, the right price, the right availability.

So, how do you find that ‘right’ editor?

  • Ask Google. Of course. Don’t we all? However, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with results. And while it might seem obvious to search for something like ‘editor’, it’s better to be more specific with your search terms and ask for what you really want.

    A search for terms like ‘non-fiction book editor in Melbourne’ or ‘blog copyeditor Australia’ will help narrow down the list. You’ll probably still need to sift through a lot of results, but it’s a start.

    (If you’re not sure what kind of editing to look for, take a look at my recent blog post, ‘What is “editing”?’)

    As you check them out, remember that being the result at the top of the Google list may not necessarily be an indication of editorial skill, experience and qualification. Look for a clear statement of qualifications and experience, and whether the editor works with your genre or kind of text.

  • Ask the profession. This is a better idea. Most countries have a national industry association for the editing profession (see ‘Associating with the right crowd’ for more about this). And those associations generally offer a directory of qualified and experienced editors for prospective clients.

    You can usually search these directories by name (someone you found through your Googling, perhaps), genre, subject area, location and other parameters.

    And you can be sure that if an editor is listed in an industry directory, their skills and experience have been verified by the professional association. A tick of approval, if you like!

    To get you started, here’s the search page in the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) directory.
  • Ask social media. LinkedIn, in particular, can be a fantastic resource for finding the editor you need. Try searching for ‘editor’ and narrow it down by ‘location’ or ‘people’, then browse the profiles.

    Many editors also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, among others. Here you might get an idea of their personalities and interests, which could help you choose someone you’d feel comfortable with. Try searching by hashtags like ‘#editor’ or ‘#amediting’ and see what you find.

  • Ask Rachel. If you’re an established professional in the communication and media industries, a great place to hunt for help is Rachel’s List. This cross-sector job board and newsletter, run by Rachel Smith, links short-term and ongoing vacancies with suitable freelancers. List your job for a small fee and watch the responses roll in.
  • Ask an editor. Wait, what? Yep, it’s true. Many editors know plenty of other editors, and if we’re not quite the right fit for your current work, we probably know someone who is.

    I’m a non-fiction editor and I don’t have the skillset or experience necessary to do the best for a fiction book manuscript. But I know editors who do, including Patrice, Lauren and Kerry. I can connect you to them in a flash and save you a lot of searching.

    I don’t do academic editing of theses and journal articles. But Charlotte and Laurel do (and they’re brilliant, by the way). And I know where you can find them, which will save you time.

    It’s a science article? Claire would be perfect. Let me contact her for you. (Get the idea?)

  • Ask me. You’re self-publishing a non-fiction book? Just my speciality. (And I can connect you to designers and publishing services who can take you through the whole process after I edit for you.)

    Your favourite subject area is creative arts, or sustainability and the circular economy? Hey, mine too!

    You’ve written up your organisation’s newsletter, website content and brochure text, and want an editor to make sure it’s going to be effective, engaging and all-round excellent? I can do that for you.

    And look, you’ve already found me. Well, what do you know!

lee@ellwords.com.au #MakingYourMessageMatter