What’s It Like to Work with a Book Editor?

What’s it really like to work with a book editor? It can be magical, or it can be horrible. We’ll give you an insight into what it’s like working with a freelance editor and our top tips to ensure it doesn’t go wrong.

“I want to write a nonfiction book, but what should I write about?”

80% of adults have thought about writing a book at some point. But if you’re an aspiring nonfiction author, the big question is: what do you write about? Here, we’ll give you our top tips on topics.

Can I Use Quotes in My Book? Copyright, permissions, and plagiarism…

Quoting other authors in your book can be a minefield. Do you need the author’s permission? Is it a breach of copyright? Can you get sued? Find the answers here…

What Is More Lucrative—Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?

Most authors would like to earn something for their books. The question is: what will make you more money as an author—traditional publishing or self-publishing? Let’s weigh them up.

How Not to Write a Book: 5 mistakes to avoid when writing nonfiction

When you’re writing a nonfiction book, there are 5 common traps you might fall into. If you can avoid making these mistakes, you might save yourself the cost of hiring an editor! So, let’s look at the top 5 nonfiction writing mistakes…

The Worst 5 Pitfalls of Self-Publishing and How to Avoid them

Self-publishing can be a magical thing, as it means that anyone can publish a book. However, there are many potential pitfalls. Here’s your insider’s guide on how to avoid self-publishing mistakes…

Editing vs. Proofreading: What’s the difference?

As a writer or author, you may want a professional to add that extra polish to your work. But do you need a proofreader or an editor, or both? Here’s your insider guide to proofreading vs. editing…

Why Don’t We Spot Our Own Typos?

Have you ever written a blog, proofread it, and posted it—only for someone to point out a glaring typo? Why do we seem incapable of noticing typos in our own writing? Discover why it’s so difficult to spot your own typos…

How Much Does Professional Book Editing Cost?

You’ve written a book. You’re ready to hire an editor. The question on your mind is: how much is this going to cost me? How do you know what budget to set aside and whether the price pitched are reasonable? Here’s an insider’s guide to book editing costs…

To Hire an Editor or Not to Hire an Editor?

I was delighted to be featured as a guest blogger on author Sally Jenkins’ writing blog recently. You can check out the original post here

Ameesha Smith-Green

Whether you’re a professional writer making a living from your words or someone who enjoys hobby blogging, there will no doubt come a time when you wonder whether it’s worth hiring an editor. In fact, “Do I need an editor?” is a question I often get asked by writers. As an editor, you may think I’d leap up and shout “YES!”, but the answer isn’t cut and dry. So, let’s look at some of the things you should consider before hiring an editor.

 

Are you writing for pleasure or business?
If you’re writing for fun or catharsis, then an editor isn’t really necessary. It’s more important that the writing fulfils your personal needs and desires. However, if you’re a freelance writer, an author, or a blogger hoping to make money from your work, then it might be worth hiring an editor, because your writing needs to be of a higher quality than if you were just writing for yourself.

What value does an editor add?
A good editor knows the industry relevant to your writing and what your readers want. They understand genre standards, word counts, structure, and flow. Importantly, they’re objective and honest about whether your writing is good enough—and how to improve it. A good editor should make you a better writer, not just fix your errors. Even the best writer can sometimes find themselves unable to see the wood for the trees, and that’s where an editor is invaluable.

What do editors do?
The term “editor” is very broad, but in writing there are two main types: content editors (also known as developmental editors) and copy editors. The former look at the big picture—structure, content, message, narrative, and so on. The latter focus on the small picture—grammar, language, wording, punctuation, and so on. It’s worth noting that the role of a copy editor is often confused with that of a proofreader. However, proofreading is merely checking the final version of the text (such as a designed book or website) for any last typos or errors.

Which should you choose?
If you’re a book author, you’d normally start with a content edit, then progress to a copy edit, then a proofread. If you’re writing blogs or website content, then you’ll probably only want copy editing and/or proofreading. Some editors offer both content and copy editing services, while others specialise in just one. If you’re confident in your writing skills and don’t need an editor, it may be worth hiring a proofreader to ensure there are no embarrassing typos before you hit “publish”.

Where do you find editors?
You can find editors and proofreaders through generalist freelancing sites such as Upwork, niche sites like book-specific freelancing site Reedsy, or industry organisations such as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). Before hiring anyone, carefully read their feedback and have preliminary discussions about your requirements to see whether they’re the right editor for you. With copy editing and proofreading, you can request a sample to see their skills in action. Alternatively, you can get in touch to hire one of The Book Shelf’s team of editing experts.

Sally Jenkins

A few weeks ago I met freelance editor Ameesha Smith-Green at a networking event and was impressed by her full order book and great enthusiasm for her job. She generously offered to share some advice about when an editor is required and what tasks that editor might perform.  Ameesha Smith-Green

Over to Ameesha:

Whether you’re a professional writer making a living from your words or someone who enjoys hobby blogging, there will no doubt come a time when you wonder whether it’s worth hiring an editor. In fact, “Do I need an editor?” is a question I get asked fairly often by writers. As an editor, you might think I’d leap up and shout “YES!”, but the answer isn’t so cut and dry…

Are you writing for pleasure or business?
If you’re writing for fun or catharsis, then an editor isn’t really necessary. It’s more important that the writing fulfils your personal…

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Top 3 Capitalisation Errors

In the last few guides, we looked at the top five grammar errors and the top three punctuation errors. But there's another area of writing where mistakes are lurking around every corner, and that's capitalisation. While correct capitals were once the preserve of publishers, magazines, and newspapers, the rise of the internet has seen these…

Top 3 Common Punctuation Errors

So, we've looked at the most common grammar errors. But what about punctuation? Some of the most heinous crimes against writing have been committed with bad punctuation. Once you know these bad boys, you'll see them everywhere. Even in company names! I'll show you the top three punctuation errors, and how to avoid these mistakes…

Where Can I Find the Best Editor for Me?

You might have the perfect date or partner for Valentine's day, but how do you find the perfect editor for you? As an author looking for an editor, where do you look? After all, there’s no Tinder or Bumble for editors! The process is actually not that different to searching for the love of your…

How to Choose an Editor or Proofreader

So, you’ve written a book, blog post, article, or essay, and now you need an editor or perhaps a proofreader. But how do you know who to choose? With the plethora of editors and freelancers out there, how do you know who the best freelancer is for you? Here at The Book Shelf, we know…

Can I Publish a Book as a Non-Native Writer?

As a nonfiction book editor, I’m often asked whether it’s possible to publish a book as a non-native speaker or writer, and my answer is always of course you can! In fact, as a freelance editor I work with non-native authors fairly often, and when I worked in-house for a book publisher, around half of…

Top 5 Common Grammar Errors

Having proofread over 400 books, I've encountered many a common grammar error. The same mistakes pop up time and time again. In fact, they’re so common that I see them in published books, on billboards, and even in huge national advertising campaigns! So today, we’ll look at the top 5 common grammar errors that writers…

How to Self-Publish Your Book: A Step-by-Step Guide

As a book editor, authors often ask me how to self-publish a book and what the self-publishing process entails. In this article, I’ll run through the self-publishing process, the people you may need to hire, and the options. The rise of self-publishing has provided a great alternative for authors who don’t wish to use traditional…

Introduction vs. Preface: What’s the Difference?

When you’re writing a nonfiction book, you might wonder what the difference is between an introduction and a preface. Do you need both? And what about a foreword? As an editor, I’m often asked by authors what the difference is between a preface and an introduction. So here, I’ll answer some common questions, explain the…