The different stages of editing

You’ve probably been advised that before you contact an editor, you should determine what type of editing you’re looking for. If you’ve searched online for definitions of the different types of editing available, it’s possible that you’ll be more confused than ever – even editors can’t agree!

What matters most is that you’re clear about what services are being offered and what you’ll be getting. With that in mind, here’s an explanation of what I mean when I talk about the different stages of editing.

How to find an editor

You’ve decided it’s time to find an editor. But how can you be sure they’re trustworthy, and are they the right fit for you? Here are some tips and advice to help you avoid making the wrong choice: How to find the right editor for you.

Recommended craft books

A quick search on Amazon will reveal hundreds, if not thousands of books on the subject of writing. Here are some of my trusted favourites, which I refer to and recommend time and time again (in no particular order).

Recommended websites and podcasts

There are literally thousands of websites connected to writing and publishing, and it can be overwhelming – especially for a new writer. To save you sifting through, here are some I regularly recommend. I add to this list regularly so do check back, and let me know if you’ve discovered a website, book, course or other resource which you think is worth adding.

  • ALLi: the Alliance of Independent Authors is the go-to resource for anyone who plans to self-publish. It has an international membership and offers comprehensive advice on every aspect of self-publishing. There’s also a handy publishing services rating guide
  • CIEP: the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading is the official organisation for UK (British English) professional editors and proofreaders and has a directory where you can search for highly vetted Professional and Advanced Professional Members. Other recognised organisations include AFEPI (Ireland), EFA and ACES (US), IPEd (Australia and New Zealand) and Editors Canada. If you’re considering hiring a professional, be sure to check their credentials. Here are more tips on how to find an editor.
  • Writers & Artists Yearbook: the definitive directory for UK-based publishers and agents. Essential if you’re planning to submit. 
  • Writer Beware: offers advice about the problems and pitfalls that face aspiring writers, and also how to find a reputable editor. If you’re considering a particular publisher or agent, or another publishing service, search here first to make sure they’re credible. 
  • This Itch of Writing: Emma Darwin’s website contains a vast amount of essential information about the craft of writing. Probably my most-shared resource.
  • Publishers Marketplace: as well as plenty of continually updated industry information, PM have a new AI tool called Matcher that lets subscribers enter keywords describing their work in order to find related deals (Deal Matcher) or agents (Agent Matcher).
  • Manuscript Wish List: a website that will help you to find the right agents for your genre. 
  • QueryTracker: helping authors to find agents.
  • Jericho Writers: offers help and advice on various aspects of writing and publishing. Monthly membership available. Harry’s Friday email is both entertaining and thought-provoking. They also offer an agent match service.
  • Jane Friedman: US publishing guru Jane has heaps of valuable advice for writers, regardless of where you’re located. Sign up for her weekly newsletter, and for insider industry news, subscribe to The Hot Sheet.
  • The Creative Penn: Joanna Penn is an author and self-publishing expert who’s literally written the book on the business of self-publishing. She has an excellent podcast too. 
  • Writing with Color: dedicated to writing and resources centred on racial, ethnic and religious diversity.
  • Conscious Style Guide: the essential guide to conscious language. 
  • Historical Thesaurus: a unique resource charting the development of meaning in the huge and varied vocabulary of English. It consists of almost every recorded word in English from early medieval times to the present day, all arranged into detailed hierarchies of meaning.