So you’ve written a book! Woo hoo! That’s truly exciting and something to take pride in. I’m a writer as well as an editor, so I totally get that rush of emotions you feel when you’ve finished this huge thing that has consumed your thoughts and your time and your patience and your caffeine and chocolate (and alcohol?) supply for months and months. It’s an accomplishment. Breathe. Take a walk. Or a jog. Or a nap.

And then think about how you want to approach the next step. You need to hire an editor. Why? I’m sorry to say it, but your book’s not done. You need another pair of eyes. You need someone who can find the plot holes, the inconsistencies, the incorrect grammar.

So where do you find an editor? Well, you’re here on my site, and I’m one, so … you’ve found one! But if you’ve looked at my site and you don’t think we’d be a good match, there are platforms out there that make it easy for you to connect with editors. Google is your friend here.

Regardless, though, of how you go about finding your editor, at some point, in some way, you need to be able to express your needs. You need to be able to describe your book (succinctly, please), as well as what you believe your book’s strengths and weaknesses to be. You need to be able to give the editors with whom you’ll be discussing the project an idea as to what they can do for you. (If you look at my “Services” page, you’ll see I’ve described my approach to the different types of editing services I–and most editors–provide.) It’s also helpful to know what your writing experience is.

I often see requests for proposals (job descriptions) that say simply: “I need to hire an editor for my novel.” Hmm. An RFP like that requires a lot of discussion before I can offer a solid proposal. I need to know more about the story itself, to see if it’s a genre I even work in. I need to know how many words are in the book so that I can get an idea as to the true length. (People format pages differently, so total word count is a better gauge of length than the number of pages.)

I also need to know if this is the very first piece of fiction the author has produced, or if it’s her tenth, or if he’s written three novels and this is his first foray into nonfiction. I’d like to know who else has looked at or critiqued the book and if any other professional has worked on it. (If so, I’d like to know what they did and how the author felt about it.) And, as I mentioned above, I’d like to know what the writer thinks the book’s strengths and weaknesses are and how much work they think the book needs.

Do you see how all of this info could be helpful in assessing the work? It really, really is.

So, to put it in a nutshell, when you’re drafting your RFP (request for proposals or job description), please include the following:

  1. the genre of the book
  2. the total word count
  3. which draft it is / the number of times it’s been revised already
  4. any professional work that’s been done on it
  5. critiques from others–and who are these others?
  6. the strengths of the book (what do you really like?)
  7. the weaknesses of the book (what do you feel isn’t working?)
  8. your writing experience
  9. why you want an editor’s help
  10. your budget and your deadline

If you include all of this information in your initial job posting or RFP, the quality of the job proposals you receive from prospective editors will skyrocket. Sometimes, when I see a poorly written (or vague) RFP, I don’t even bother responding, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Professional editors want to work with writers who take the project seriously, and a poorly written or vague RFP sends out the opposite vibe.

There’s one final note I’d like to add about this topic, and that has to do with transparency. Recently, I took on a project–editing a novel–that had some surprises for me once I got into it. The author approached me specifically about the job and said she wanted to work with me. We established a great rapport prior to starting the project, and I felt like I knew what I was getting into and what she wanted me to do with the book.

What she didn’t tell me was that there were several graphic sex scenes in the book. Granted, I didn’t ask, and I should have dug deeper regarding the content of the book. However, she also should have told me about it, which brings me to my last tip on the subject for you.

Tell your prospective editor about questionable subject matter–sex, drug use, physical abuse, graphic violence, etc. Some editors don’t care and will work on anything. Some will work with one type of book and not another. But there are many who would be angry about being blindsided by graphic scenes that they hadn’t been told to expect, and some would likely end the relationship right there, forcing you to go through the whole process again, finding a new editor.

I am really enjoying working with this particular writer, so I edited the sex scenes and moved on with my life. However, editing graphic sex scenes isn’t my thing, and I don’t usually offer proposals for those kinds of books. I made an exception in this case because my client is such a sweetheart.

Bottom line? Draft a detailed description of the work you need done, following my tips in this post, and you’ll have quality editors banging on your door, hoping you’ll choose them to work with you on your book.

Speaking of quality editors … please check out my “Testimonials” page and see what former clients are saying about working with me. I’d love to chat about your next project, so send me an email at and let’s discuss it!