Working With an Editor

With the help of our team of professional editors (with decades of real-world editing experience) we have compiled 10 tips for working with an editor...

The editing process is by far the most nerve-wracking part of the book journey for any writer. Thankfully with the help of our team of professional editors (with decades of real-world editing experience) we have compiled 10 tips for working with an editor. 

1. Plan ahead.

You know you’re going to need some level of editing for your manuscript before it’s published. So make sure to make a plan early on to begin saving up for a minimum of one round of editing at the “line-editing” level. This middle-of-the-road edit allows your editor to do a lot more than just check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. In addition, any full edit will be priced per word, so naturally the more words you have the more your edit will cost. If you’re writing a novel, your word count should end up between 80,000 to 100,000 words. If you’re wondering just how much you should be saving take that estimated word count and visit our Editing Pricing Page, look over the editing plan you’d need, and simply multiply your word count with the cost-per-word listed on the website.

2. Consider an editorial review.

Before you invest in a full edit, dip your toes into the water of the editing world and have an editorial review completed on your manuscript. Not only will you receive valuable feedback on your current manuscript, but you’ll also receive a recommendation for a specific level of editing.

3. Conduct beta reads and finish revisions ahead of time.

One of the best things you can do for your manuscript before you send it to your editor is to have beta readers review it. A beta reader is usually a test reader who gives feedback from the point-of-view of an average reader to the author. You can normally find free beta readers online, but be mindful that you’d have to release your manuscript to them. Consider also having a family member or friend who enjoys reading be your beta reader. But make sure they’re willing to give honest and raw feedback. The second step after this would be to complete your personal revisions and rewrites based on that feedback.

4. Stick to simple formatting.

Make sure your manuscript formatting is as basic and clean as possible. Avoid hard to read fonts and fonts that are too large or too small. Instead, stick to a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and a 12 pt. font size. Additionally, try to use a minimum of 1.5 line spacing and only use a black-colored font. By keeping a simple format, it’ll be much easier on your editor’s eyes. If you don’t set this formatting ahead of time, don’t be surprised when you receive the manuscript back with this standard formatting.

5. Take your work as far as you can on your own.

The more improvements you can make to your manuscript beforehand the better results you’ll get. If your editor is bogged down with correcting tons of spelling errors you could have easily fixed ahead of time, your editor has less room to allow creativity to bloom. Trust me, you want your editor to have the mental capacity to be as creative with the edits as possible. That’s when your manuscript can really shine! So, before you send off your manuscript for editing, be sure to proofread your entire manuscript. Look for incomplete sentences and awkward phrases. Double-check words with a dictionary if you want to be sure you’ve used a word correctly. Also, run the spelling and grammar check through your word program. This tool will take you through every error in your manuscript, and will provide you the opportunity to make any corrections.

6. Be open to suggestions.

Any writer can attest to the fact that their manuscript feels like a baby to them. They poured their hearts and souls into it and will protect it like a mama bear would protect her cubs. If a suggestion from your editor rubs you the wrong way take a moment to remind yourself to be open. You are, after all, looking for ways to further improve your story. Professional editors have years, if not decades, of experience, and their suggestions always come from a good and well-meaning place. Take into account that their suggestions are never meant to be malicious or hurtful.

7. The more rounds of editing, the better.

The more rounds of editing your manuscript goes through, the cleaner your finished product will be. I recommend at least two rounds of editing, no matter which level of editing you invest in. This way, an editor gets two passes. The first is to make a large number of changes and suggestions. The second will be to catch any remaining errors and check the new additions you’ve made based on the suggestions from the first round.

8. Create a style guide as you write to share with the editor.

Be sure to keep a record of all names and places and how you want these items spelled (this is especially important when it comes to names). If you want to deviate from a specific writing or formatting style, be sure to notate that for your editor as well. If you don’t send along these particulars, your editor will match your manuscript up to publishing industry standards.

9. Be prepared for feedback.

Mentally prepare yourself for a lot of markups in your manuscript when it comes back from your editor. A large amount of edits does not mean you wrote a bad book or that you should doubt yourself or your ability. An edit is completely different from a grade you’d receive on a paper from a teacher. Your editor’s goal is always to help you create the best book you possibly can. So, sometimes that means word choice changes or sentence structure simplification. Your editor has enough experience to know what works in the book market and what doesn’t, and he or she applies all that knowledge for the betterment of your book.

10. Learn from the process.

Instead of breezing through your edited manuscript and not truly paying attention to the changes made, take some extra time and look through the track change copy your editor supplies. Review each change and look at the difference between the original and the edited version. Study these little nuances and apply what you learn to your future writing projects. The more rounds of editing done, the more you can learn about writing. Education is the most underrated, but most beneficial reason, to work with an editor.


Are you ready to invest in editing for your manuscript? Call 1-866-381-2665 for a free consultation and get all of your questions answered about working with our team of professional editors.


Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on XulonPress.Substack.com.

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