Four Tips for Finding the Perfect Editor

By E. M. Youman

June 18th, 2016 marks the anniversary of when I started writing again. Four years ago the itch to write hit me and I wrote The Prince’s Plan. This is not my first novel, but it is the first one I ever finished. April marked the finalization of editing for The Prince’s Plan. I will be publishing the novel on February 7th, 2017. I am preparing to send it out to ARC readers and I thought today would be a good time to reflect on what I learned about editing.

You can never have enough fresh eyeballs on your story.

First of the story started out by getting several critiques from seven different people. Then it went to six beta readers. Then after a month of searching, I found the lovely Monique the Editrix to put the final polish on the story.

If you’re like me, then even if you spend the better part of your weekends studying grammar, you still don’t know the difference between homophones and homonyms. So if you plan to go the self-publishing route, it’s a good idea to invest in an editor. The search for someone like Monique was actually more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve gathered three tips I hope will help you when it’s your turn.


Don’t go cheap

It’s going to be a waste of your money and time to find someone who promises to edit your novel for a hundred bucks. You should expect to spend at least a car payment’s worth getting the story edited. But on the same spectrum don’t spend a mortgage worth on the book, especially if it’s your first novel. Why? Because making your book earn back the investment is going to be extremely difficult. Don’t put that stress on your baby.


  1. Find someone who will do multiple passes

After having my critique group look over the manuscript I felt confident that all I needed was a content edit and a proofread. But after interviewing six different editors I discovered they each had a different opinion on what was needed. Rather than hire a different editor for each stage I found an editor who was competent in doing several passes. Plus, an editor can’t catch all the errors in one pass. I’m not talking about moving commas around either. I’m talking about realizing that your main character has red hair and green eyes on page seven, but on page two-hundred and fifty he has red hair and brown eyes!


  1. Ask for two sample edits

Interview at least four editors. Then ask the two you like the most to edit a different sample of the book. I found this crucial for me. I really liked Monique, but another editor had noticed something she had not pointed out. I emailed Monique, she gave her reasoning for why she thought it was appropriate in my work and then edited another sample. You really want someone who can make edits that either improve or maintain your voice. With Monique I got the best of both worlds. She’s an excellent fact checker and she understood my voice well enough that when I made homophone errors she suggested other words that fit smoothly with my voice.

061816 swearing

  1. Make sure that they are comfortable with your content

For me, I needed someone who was comfortable with curse words. My characters have sailor mouths and not every editor will read that type of content or your genre.

061816 type and cup

Here are some editors that I personally vetted and recommend:

Monique the Editrix

Samantha Ettinger

Ettingersamantha at yahoo dot com

Faith from Demon for Details

Robert from Thoughtful Editing


About the Author

E. M. Youman lives in the warm part of California. She loves dark chocolate and is a macaroni and cheddar cheese junkie. When she’s not writing a sexy tearjerker she can be found with her nose in a book or doing a Netflix marathon of her favorite tv series.

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