1. What is an editor?

An editor is someone who has the skill to edit literary work, such as a book manuscript, eBook, report or other written document.

Typically, editors are people with an excellent command of the English language, are knowledgeable in the areas of punctuation, spelling, grammar and diction.

A really good editor you hire should be honest about telling you the truth about your work, providing you the necessary feedback you need to hear in order to improve specific areas in your book before you print thousands of copies.

2. Do I really need an editor?

Yes, you do. You are the writer/creator. That part takes a certain skill. Editing requires another skill you don’t use when you create. Having a second pair of eyes go over your work, is also a must, if you plan on printing it in large quantity for the world to read.

Generally, we proof a work to quickly “clean it up.” Proofing can be done as while the work is in progress or when a complete draft is produced. Editing usually takes place on completed works and for good reason. Editing considers content in ways proofing does not. For example, editing evaluates the transitions of each section throughout the book. It critiques organization and chronology. Editing also looks at how well the author stayed with the theme of the book. Quick and frequent proofs are helpful; editing is a requirement.

Editing is the process of closely examining a piece of literary, audio, or audio-visual work for the purpose of identifying errors, inconsistencies, and recognizing opportunities for improvement. Editing is not to be confused with proof-reading. They are similar, but editing is an examination of a much narrower scope.

So, why is editing so important? If a reader sees glaring errors, inconsistencies, or areas for improvement, do you think he/she will buy it? Imagine if you didn’t hire an editor to go through your manuscript and you printed it as-is. Then, suppose your readers found mistakes, errors and inconsistencies in your writing? Ouch! Just take a look at what my editor found he need to correct in just the first draft of my book on networking called My Networking Tactics.

So, I trust now you know you need to send your manuscript to an editor after you finish it, right? The photos above should help cement that decision, right? You bet! When you’re ready to hire an editor, check out My Rolodex listing for Book Editors to find one that can work with you.

3. How much does an editor charge to edit my manuscript?

That depends, on their level of expertise in the field of editing, their availability, how many pages your manuscript contains and how many manuscripts you plan on having them edit for you.

If they have a rate schedule, go by that. If not, you can count on paying anywhere between $1-$5 per page to be edited. So, if you have a book that’s 200 pages in length, figure on paying between $200 and $1,000 to edit your manuscript.

This is an important part of the writing process. Visible mistakes in your manuscript can cost you lost credibility and lots more. So, pay this person well to do a good job. The better the editor, the higher the price you might have to pay.

Pay ahead of time, and include a check in the envelope with your manuscript when you send it to them for editing, either for the whole amount or a deposit for future editing jobs. Nothing motivates an editor to start proofing your work than being paid some money up front.

Also, if you can afford it, you should have your manuscript edited by two or more different editors, as no two editors edit the same. It would be nice to get feedback and corrections from those different editors for the same manuscript. Then, you really can compare comments, feedback and corrections.

4. How many times does an editor need to edit my work?

Typically, the answer to that question is three times! When you finish your first rough draft of your new book manuscript, you should hire an editor to clean it up. Then, when you enter his/her changes into your book, you might have it edited again before going to print.

Then, when you get your first book proof back from the printer, you should have your editor edit your proof. Order a proof for you and send another proof copy to your editor. That makes three, and as they say, “three times is the charm!”

After you print your first 100-500 copies, I would still have your editor continue to proof your work. Later when you make changes and editions to your book, again, hire your editor to look over those changes.

5. How do I send my manuscript to my editor for proofing?

book-editing-mynt-3ring-binderOnce the first draft of your manuscript is done and you’re ready to send it off to an editor for proofing, you have several options on how to get it to them to edit.

Now, I’m going to assume you typed your manuscript into the computer, using a software program like Microsoft Word, InDesign or some other software program. In that event, here’s what I would do …

OPTION #1: Send your editor your manuscript electronically (i.e., send the actual file) …

Yes, your first option is to send the actual computer file you typed and saved your manuscript in. (i.e., Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, etc.)

This is a convenient way to get the editing process going. Simply eMail your editor the manuscript file in the format you typed it in. Call your editor first to make sure he/she has the same software program you typed your manuscript in.

By sending an electronic file, the editor can either edit your manuscript right inside their computer or print it out if they prefer to edit a hard copy of your manuscript in print-form.

Now, if an editor doesn’t want to print out your 100-1,000 page book, and would prefer to edit a hard copy, proceed to OPTION # 2 below.

OPTION #2: Send your editor a copy of your manuscript in print form so they can edit it with pen in hand …

Yes, this option is actually preferred by a lot of editors, and it works out great for you too. Mail a HARD COPY (printed version) of your manuscript to your editor for editing.

First, print out your manuscript on your computer, or take your manuscript file down to the local copy store (i.e., Staples, Office Depot, Kinko’s, etc.) and have them print it out on one of their high-speed printers. This is a great idea if you want to save toner and paper expenses at your end.

When you’re at the copy store, ask them to make two copies. One for you and one for your editor. You keep one copy for yourself so you can read it outside of your computer, and send the second printed version to your editor.

Also, depending on how many pages your manuscript is, you might ask the copy center clerk to copy your manuscript DOUBLE-SIDED and 3-hole punch it. This will help lower the mailing costs, because your package will weigh less. Also, it will appear an easier edit job, because the number of pages look shorter, due to it being printed double sided rather than single-sided.

And, while you’re at the copy store, I’d like you to print 2-3 copies of THE front, back and spine covers of your book. These color print outs will be stuffed into your 3-ring binder for presentation and editing purposes. Stuff one set into the inside sleeve pocket of the 3-ring binder. Let your editor edit those loose copies, keeping the covers in tact on the front, back and spine of your 3-ring binder. See the pictures below for an example of what I’m saying …

3-Ring Binder With Manuscript

6. What should you include in the package to your editor?

With your manuscript printed and stuffed in a 3-ring binder, you’re almost ready to mail it to your editor. Here’s the list of items to include inside the packaged envelope you plan on sending your editor.

  1. Cover Letter (see below) …
  2. 3-Ring Binder containing printed manuscript …
  3. Front / Back / Spine color printouts for editing as well …
  4. Return envelope, postage-paid for your editor’s convenience …
  5. Payment (via check, money order or credit card) for your editor’s services …

Here’s a sample cover letter with instructions you should include in the envelope package you intend to send to your editor.

Cover Letter To Editor

Your Full Name
123 Your Address
City, ST 00000
(000) 000-0000 Telephone

Dear Editor’s Name,

Thank you, so much for editing this new book of mine called YOUR BOOK TITLE. Here’s some information for you to help you edit this book for me and how I’d like it returned with your comments/corrections/suggestions.

  • Please use a red pen to make your comments/corrections/suggestions.
  • You may write your comments/corrections/suggestions on the paper itself.
  • When you’re done, please make a full copy of my manuscript and your edits for backup purposes. You can use the copy services of your local office supply store to assist you in this. When you mail the original manuscript back to me, if it were to get lost in the mail, we would have a backup copy. Smart, huh?
  • Then, please return the entire manuscript (with your original marks) to me in a Priority Mail Envelope. YOU keep the backup copy in a safe place for us.
  • I’ll input your comments/corrections/suggestions into the computer myself. (Or, I’ll have the person who’s doing it for me enter your corrections.)
  • I’ll take these (newly entered) comments/corrections/suggestions and print a PDF file for the printer to print us 2 “BOOK PROOFS!” I’ll send you a BOOK PROOF to “PROOF” again when I receive them from the printer. I’ll have one and so will you. We’ll
    proof the book in that format once. Send me your changes, by sending me back the book proof I mailed you and you made corrections in. Go ahead and WRITE IN THE BOOK!
  • With your BOOK PROOF back in my possession, I’ll input any corrections needed and print a “FINAL PDF FILE” for the printer to print one more FINAL BOOK PROOF.
  • Upon my reviewing the FINAL BOOK PROOF, I’ll decide to “GO FOR IT” minus any changes/corrections I can take care of. “Looks good! Print x-number of copies!”
  • Once I have real books in hand, I’ll send you a signed/autographed copy for your historical keepings! You can show people you edited my book, to get other editing jobs if you want!

Any questions just let me know. Payment is enclosed for your editing services.

Again, many thanks!
Your Name, Author
(000) 000-0000 Phone

Of course, feel free to make any appropriate changes to this letter as you might see fit. This is just a sample letter for your use.

7. What happens when my editor is done editing my book?

book-editor-red-pen-markupsWhen you’re editor is finished editing your manuscript, have him/her physically mail it back to you so you can enter the corrections they made on your printed manuscript (in red) into the same computer file you typed your manuscript in.

After you receive your edited manuscript back from the editor, you’ll want to look through their suggested corrections page by page to see if you agree/disagree with them before you enter them into the computer.

While some corrections will be obvious, sometimes editors make suggestions to something you might have written, even though they might not understand why you wrote what you wrote.

Remember, you have the final say as to what gets changed in your manuscript. An editor is just a second pair of “educated” eyes who specializes in proofing, grammar, catching spelling mistakes, etc.

After you’ve entered your editor’s corrections, comments and suggestions into the computer, print your manuscript in such a way that you can send it to the book printer to print TWO (2) BOOK PROOFS.

Ask your book printer to print two (2) book proofs; one for you and one for your editor. Trust me, you’re both want to proof the “book proof.” After you go through it, line by line, page by page, cover to cover, you’re bound to say, “Wow, how did we miss that? We definitely need to correct this before we print 500 real copies for sale!”

8. What happens after I receive my final book proof?

Upon receiving the FINAL BOOK PROOF, proof it carefully yourself. Make any last minute changes and get your manuscript ready to print in large quantity (i.e., more than 1 copy; e.g., 50-500 copies, first time around).

With the FINAL BOOK PROOF in hand, make any final corrections in your manuscript (if necessary), and have a FINAL BOOK PROOF printed. Review it carefully. If it looks great and all your corrections have been entered properly … Go for it, and place an order for books!

Many many books should you print at first? Well, that depends. How many do you “NEED?” Is this your FIRST RUN? Then, I’d suggest you print between 25 to 100 books, and no more. Sure, you might get a better deal if you bought 500 or 1,000 or more. But, would you rather print 25-100 and catch (unavoidable FIRST-TIME errors) in a short run, or a long run?

When I first printed B.S.The Book, I only printed 100 copies, and was I glad I did. I found mistakes. So, I correctly them. THEN, I printed 500. I found a few more mistakes; corrected them, then I printed 1,000 with confidence! I follow the same advice for every book I write and print! Always, I order a small quantity in the beginning to check things out before I make request a huge printing order.


REAL STORY: I had a client who printed 1,000 books his first run and when he found a few very serious text/spelling/alignment mistakes he kicked himself in the you-know-what for doing exactly that. Yes, he heard my advice about printing 100 books first. No, he didn’t heed my advice. He was going for a price break on his first print run. Bad mistake; wrong thinking. Better to focus on printing a small run your VERY FIRST TIME around. This way, your friends and associates can help proof your very first book in their hands … Then, as popularity grows for your book, you’ll have proofed it LOTS. Now, if demand dictates you print 1,000 or more copies right out of the gate, no problem. Just proof that puppy as much as possible, and be prepared to make quick corrections to the manuscript for the next printing! That’s all!