Help! I need an Editor

Are you struggling with having confidence in your writing?

Every writer reaches a point where their confidence in the manuscript begins to wane. Maybe it’s the structure and how the chapters are ordered. Maybe it’s the voice: “Does any of this sound good to my ideal reader?” Or the grammar: “I’m 50% confident in how to use a semicolon.” Or, and this is a big one, connecting with a reader: “Is any of this working?!?!”

Any one of these questions is enough to make a writer throw their hands up in the air and yell, “Help! I need an editor.”

Editors are God’s gift to writers. They help us clarify, build confidence, and correct those pesky grammatical errors, among other things. A good editor can help you regain confidence in your writing while pointing you in the right direction. The key to finding an editor who can really help you is to know what you are looking for. 

Let’s identify the different things editors can do for you to better help you when you need to hire one:

  • Developmental Edit. A developmental edit is when an editor looks at the big-picture issues in a manuscript. Think 30,000 feet view. They might point out that a character is flat or an "example story" you use didn’t add value to the reader. These types of edits involve a thorough reading of the manuscript. If you are in the early stages of completing the first draft, that’s a good time to bring on a Developmental Editor.  
  • Structural Edit. Not sure your manuscript is flowing in the right direction? Maybe chapter three should come later? That’s what a Structural Edit is for, it helps you structure your manuscript so everything makes sense. Often when we think about Structural Editors, the reader’s journey comes to mind. Maybe you’re using too many Steve Jobs stories, or maybe you’re not using enough stories. Scientific data might be your favorite thing to write about, but maybe your reader would benefit from a few stories to break up the density of the manuscript. A Structural Editor will help you know when to do that.
  • Line Edit.  You might already be happy with your manuscript and just need a Line Edit because you want your manuscript to be error-free and look professional. Well, that’s not what a Line Editor does. Often confused, a Line Editor is not the same as a Copy Editor.  A Line Editor will be looking at your prose from a style perspective rather than a mechanical perspective like a Copy Editor will. If the writing feels flat or dull, maybe you want to punch up the vocabulary, a Line Editor can help you do that. 
  • Copy Edit. This is perhaps the most popular edit. If you’re looking for help with punctuation and spelling, you’re looking for a Copy Editor. Copy editors will save you from any embarrassing mistakes. It’s important to note: a Copy Editor should come towards the end of your publishing journey. Hiring a Copy Editor for a first draft wouldn’t be a good use of your time or money. You want to wait until you’ve engaged with some of the other editors before you begin the copy edit. 


“To write is human. To edit is divine. - Stephen King”


  • Proofreading Edit. The last stop on your editorial journey is the Proofreader. These are the editors that give your manuscript one last look before it goes off to the printer. They are looking for things that might’ve gotten missed. Don’t mistake them for a Copy Editor, though. A sloppy, messy manuscript can’t be saved by going straight to a Proofreader. While they might be able to salvage a large percentage of the manuscript from errors, they can’t fix every problem. You want to put your Proofreader in a great position to polish and catch mistakes, not fix the manuscript. 

When you know what type of editor you are looking for, your manuscript will get the attention it needs. Many writers come to us and say, “I think I need an editor.” They probably do need an editor, but which one? Now that you know what you’re looking for, your future readers will thank you. 

Take Action: Need help figuring out where you are with your edits?

If you feel like your manuscript is stuck and you need help with finding the right editor, ask yourself this:

  • What would it be like if you knew exactly what to write next so that you could sell lots of books and have a chance to hit a bestseller list?
  • How would it feel to realize your dream of getting your message out and sharing your story so that it’s accessible to millions of people?
  • How would you respond if you were able to get personal, actionable advice from experts who want to guide you and cheer you on in your publishing journey?

When you choose to sign up for an Author Audit, you’re taking the best next step in building your author career. You’re saying YES to discovering what it takes to become successful in publishing. Schedule your Author Audit right now.



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