photo of stationery supplies for editing on paper

How to Pick the Right Editor for Your Project, a Printable Checklist

Why Editorial Fit is Very Important

Not only is writing personal, so it’s important that your editor gets you and you’ll enjoy working closely with her for the next several weeks (or months), but the right editor

  • understands your goal,
  • knows what the audience needs,
  • has the credentials and experience,
  • is compatible with you, and
  • can do the work according to your project schedule and budget.

Tweet this printable.

Print off this checklist and use it when you’re trying to pick an editor. There are other points to consider, and a place to write notes.

clip of the checklist for selecting an editor PDF

How to Judge Each Point

It is up to you. For instance, having a “compatible personality” might mean “has an iron fist and decisive nature” to you, whereas another writer will prefer a very timid editor who won’t stand behind a single suggestion.

Weigh each point as you wish, just be sure to look for your preferences. You are the client, your opinion is what matters.

That said, if you’re hiring a publishing professional, you’re paying for their expert advice. Don’t dismiss what your editor says out of an emotional reaction.

close-up photo of a square peg in round hole — why it's important that your editor is a good fit for your project

What Happens When You Don’t Find a Good Match

I am a writer. I have had some of the most skilled and elegant editing — they taught me a few things about editing, too. A giant fan I am now of these particular editors; shining stars among us.

But, I have also experienced terrible edits. Maybe not as bad as the one that finally inspired me to write this checklist, but maybe only because I don’t write book-length works. Those bad edits did not

  • get the point of the piece (e.g., humour)
  • respect the conventions of the platform (e.g., blog post)
  • understand the audience (e.g., reading level needs)
  • respect cultural references (e.g., show names or popular spelling alternatives)
  • understand the tone or use of non-standard grammar (which mattered, in this case)

Those edits were trashed completely (stetted, to refer to old methods), wasting everyone’s time and money. Plus, I was frustrated!


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Read more about how to select an editor, what to expect, and what to do once you’ve got the edit in hand in my client kit.


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