If you have written a children’s book, there is no reason to choose an editor who is not a seasoned children’s literature specialist. You want someone who understands the complex genre systems within the umbrella genre of children’s books.
Are you writing a picture book? A chapter book or easy reader? Is your book for middle grade readers or young adults? Or do you even know for sure! What age groups will be reading your book? How many words should your book have to be age appropriate? What themes or topics are typically relevant? These are some of the more generalized questions your editor can answer for you.
Where to Start
Start with a google search and see what comes up. Don’t feel like you have to choose from the children’s book editors that appear on the first page of your search. Dig a little deeper by going to pages two or three and beyond and see if you can find an editor who is specialized or who has edited books similar to your own. An easy way to do this is to open just a few of your favorites in tabs and check out each editors’ website and about me section. Take a look at their portfolio if they have one too.
Another great resource is Reedsy; a platform for finding freelance editors, writers, and all things book related. You can also use the Editorial Freelancers Association to help narrow your search. These websites are fantastic because they vet their members, meaning you will only be viewing the best of the best when it comes to editing.
Once you have narrowed your options down to a few editors, five or less, lets say, set up some initial contact with each of the children’s book editors you’ve found. Start by contacting them and see if they can answer your core questions via email. Find out if they are willing to chat with you by phone or skype about your project when you are ready to make a decision. Ask for them to specifically identify what children’s book editorial services they will be able to provide.
What Editorial Services You Need
Your editor should be able to provide you with all or a combination of some of the following services:
- Developmental Editing
- Copy Editing
- Editorial Assessment
- Query Review
These services should be clearly defined and will include line items such as:
- Proofreading for grammar, punctuation and syntax.
- Line editing for dialogue and sensory descriptions, narrative voice, pacing and line by line flow
- Global editing for through-line, age and/or genre appropriateness, character and/or subject development
Your editor should also be able to globally address the overall craft and literary art of your manuscript and provide advice on the format in which your manuscript should be published.
Many editors can offer ghostwriting services as well.
What to Look For in Your Children’s Book Editor
There are some red flags to look for when choosing a your children’s book editor. Even if the person seems right, you’ll want to pass if your potential editor does any of the following:
- Asks for a fee to review your manuscript before hire.
- Is unwilling to chat with you about your project before hire.
- Has never edited a children’s book before.
- Does not have a clear grasp of the genre.
- Is unable to offer the specific editorial services you are looking for.
- Does not ask you to sign a contract.
- Guarantees that your book will ‘get published’. This may sound ideal, but it is an empty promise. Good editors are specialized and no one–I repeat no one–can guarantee your book will be published besides the publisher herself.
Here are some tips on what you should look for in your children’s book editor:
- Takes time to talk with you about your project before hire.
- Clearly explains to you how the editing process works.
- Has edited children’s books before; preferably has edited a children’s book in your genre before.
- Provides the specific editorial services you need.
- See if they can offer you advice in other areas such as seeking out an agent or self-publishing your book.
After you have narrowed your search down, set up a time to chat over the phone with your last couple contenders. This will give you a feel for their personality, writing style, and just allow you to get a better idea of who you will be working with. Go with your gut here. Since you have already learned how to find a children’s book editor and narrowed down your choices based on experience, at this point you are choosing who seems to have the best grasp of your (and your book’s) personal needs. At this point, feel confident in making your decision, choosing your editor, and moving onto the next step of realizing your dreams of finishing your children’s book.
If you are interested in chatting with me about your project, please feel free to contact me here. And Happy Writing to You!