Seven Things Editors Wish Authors Knew

How can you have the very best experience working with an editor? Freelance editor Sarah Fox shares seven things editors wish authors knew on the Well-Storied blog!


Hi, writers! Kristen here. Today I'm thrilled to welcome writing coach and editor Sarah Fox to the blog to share some of her must-know advice for working with an editor on your next manuscript. Check out the stellar info she has to offer below!


As an editor, I have encountered countless authors, and they usually have the same questions or concerns. I have compiled a list of seven things editors wish authors knew, so your process of working with an editor is as smooth as possible.



Tip #1: Book Us in Advance.

Writers frequently ask me when they should book me, and I always tell them as soon as possible. Editors tend to get booked out weeks, if not months, in advance, and you want to ensure that you are on your ideal editor’s schedule at the right time.

Also, if you have a deadline with your editor before you even write your novel, you will be motivated to finish it. There is nothing like external motivation to make sure you get your book done.


Tip #2: Factor Us in Your Budget.

Editors are not cheap; they can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. And there are very good reasons for that. We spend hours reading your book and making notes and comments to ensure that your book is the best that it can be.

Besides the sweat equity, there is so much value to an editor’s work. We make sure that your book is as polished, coherent, and enjoyable as possible. We increase your odds of getting accepted by an agent by having a stellar first impression or getting a five star review for your self-published book (nobody wants to read an error-riddled book).


Tip #3: There Are Different Types of Editing.

When you hire an editor, you have different types of editing services that you can choose from. There are generally three types of editing (it varies depending on who you talk to): developmental, copyediting, and proofreading.

Developmental editing deals with things like plot holes and character development. Copyediting is a detailed edit of your writing and focuses on things like your sentence structure and diction. Proofreading is simply checking for typos and basic grammatical errors.

I recommend you hire out all three types of editing, because your book is your baby. It should have the best care possible. Mind you, not every editor does all types of editing, which leads me to my next point…


Tip #4: We Don’t Do It All.

As much as we would all like to believe we are superheroes, we don’t do it all. Every editor has an expertise.

For example, you don’t want me to edit your horror novel. I absolutely hate horror (it keeps me up all night), and I avoid those books like the (zombie) plague. Since I have no knowledge of the industry, you don’t want to hire me as your editor (I also would like to sleep).

On the other hand, if you are writing a young adult novel, I am your perfect editor. I write young adult novels, and I read several young adult novels a month. Since I am so well-versed in the industry, I would be a perfect fit for a young adult novelist.

So when you are looking to hire an editor, make sure he or she has an expertise in your genre.


Tip #5: Your Book Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect.

We know your book is a first draft. We also know that it is far from perfect. That is why you hired us in the first place. It would be kind of silly to hire us if the book were flawless. We are not making any kind of judgment about you based on your writing. Which leads me to my next point…


Tip #6: We Don’t Hate Your Book.

Yes, you will inevitably see a lot of notes, comments, and markings on your draft. It is okay.

We can almost promise you that all our clients’ drafts have a decent amount of changes. That is why it is called a “rough draft.” We don’t hate your book, I promise. It is our job to make your book as perfect as possible, so that involves a close, critical read of your manuscript.

As an author myself, I don’t trust an editor that doesn’t heavily mark-up my novel. So don’t panic when you see all the comments. It is just part of the process.


Tip #7: It Is Going to Take Longer Than You Think.

I wish revising a novel were a short process. I really do. Sadly, that is not the case. It inevitably takes longer than expected.

For example, after I did a developmental edit for a client, she realized that she needed another character’s point of view in her novel (essentially doubling her manuscript). This added almost a year to her schedule. While this is an extreme case, be prepared for a lengthy revision process.

Double the length of time you think it will take for revisions when you prepare your publishing schedule.



Author: Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is a novel writing coach and editor who helps ambitious authors start and complete their novels. When she is not working on her own novel, she writes for Quirk Books and Imaginary Book Club.

You can find her thoughts on writing and pop culture at

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