Understanding how to find a children’s book editor is a key step when producing a strong piece of children’s literature in the hopes of publishing your book. There are tons upon tons of children’s book editors available and the range of editorial services is wide and deep. Because there are so many editors to choose from, knowing what editorial services you need is the first place to start.
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? You may not 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. Click on a handful of options 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 testimonials. See if any stand out to you.
Another great resource is Reedsy; a platform for finding freelance editors, proofreaders, 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. Keep in mind, Reedsy prices will typically be higher than going to an editor directly because the website takes a commission from both the editor and the author for finding and vetting professionals, and then managing your contract.
Once you have narrowed your options down to a few editors, five or less for example, set up some initial contact with each of the children’s book editors. 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
These services should be clearly defined and will include line items such as:
- Copy editing 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
- Feedback concerning plot, characterization, structure, consistency, age appropriateness, genre standards, and style
- Evaluation of the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses
Your children’s book 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 will offer the chance to chat about your edits and rewrites, plus discuss next steps, publishing options, and answer questions, after the editing process is complete.
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:
- Has never edited a children’s book before.
- Does not have a clear grasp of the many children’s book formats.
- 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:
- Clearly explains to you how the editing process works.
- Has edited children’s books before; preferably has edited a children’s book in your format before.
- Provides the specific editorial services you need.
- See if they can offer you advice in other areas such as tips for tackling rewrites or a review of your publishing options.
It’s time to choose your children’s book editor! Go with your gut here. You have already learned how to find a qualified children’s book editor, and narrowed down your choices using the tips in this article. The last step is to choose the editor that seems to have the best grasp of your personal needs. At this point, feel confident in making choosing your editor. You’re ready to move onto the next step of realizing your dreams and finishing your children’s book.
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