Monday’s Writing Tips – Finding an Editor


After you have created the second draft of your novel, you are not finished. I find that after I have done all the edits that I know how to do, I need the help of a professional. Writing is a wonderful skill and talent! I believe it is a gift from God.

Editing is a separate gift.  God did not give that particular talent to me. I can look at my own writing and never see the numerous mistakes it contains. It takes a sharp mind and an eye for detail to see the typos and jumbled sentences I have been known to create. I used to feel sensitive about it. I always thought that a professional writer shouldn’t make mistakes. My errors made me feel stupid and amateurish. It even made me question my ability to write. After I bogged myself down with self pity, I got over myself.

I am a writer, not an editor. I do my best to create pages without typos or mistakes but I always fail. I just see what I wanted to say, not what I actually said. After my horrible experience of self-publishing my first novel without having it edited, I learned my most valuable lesson – leave the final edits to a professional. But how do you pick one?

I was lucky. I had the wonderful experience of working with a very professional editor who worked for Canticle magazine. When I finished my second novel, I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in editing it. Many of you are already working with an editor. If you have had a good relationship with an editor who worked with you on magazine articles or short stories, you already know someone you trust. Don’t be afraid to contact them.

In my case, the editor I worked with was too busy. However she gave me the name of a wonderfully talented editor. I have used Abigail Tardiff for all my work. She is not only talented, but she is also reasonably priced. She can be contacted at 

If you belong to a writers group (You should.) you can ask fellow writers whom they recommend. They are a helpful source of information, especially if they write in the same genre. We who belong to the CWG are very blessed. There are talented editors who belong to our organization. Here is a list of some of them:

Ellen Gable Hrkach Fiction and Non-Fiction

 Erin Cupp  FICTION ONLY: developmental & copy editing

Barbara Szyszkiewicz

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur Fiction or Non-Fiction

Barbara Schoeneberger  NON-FICTION only. People can contact Barb for editing at site. Requirements, pricing, how to contact her (fill out “Request for services” form).

Suzan Sammons NON-FICTION

Amy Sbardella Developmental editing NON FICTION

Claire Sbardella

Tina Dennelly Experienced copy-editor

For those editors above who don’t have their contact information listed, I am sure that you can find them through the Guild membership page.

Once you pick an editor, you need to check your expenses and needs and decide what type of editing you need. Here are a list of the editing services that my editor offered me:

Editors generally offer four levels of editing:

1.       Developmental editing: this kind of editing offers suggestions about the content and structure of the book. The editor might suggest expanding or deleting sections, changing the plot of a work of fiction, or reorganizing the material.

2.       Line editing: the editor will not only correct grammar and punctuation, but suggest ways in which sentences and paragraphs can be rewritten to improve style.

3.       Copyediting: this level of editing corrects grammar, punctuation, usage, and consistency problems.

4.       Proofreading: the editor reads a finished manuscript for typos, simple punctuation errors, and formatting problems.

An editor will ask to see a long sample of the manuscript, or the whole manuscript, in order to suggest which level of editing it needs. Some editors work by the hour, and some will give you a quote for the entire project”, Abigail Tardiff.

Ask the editors you are considering what kind of services they offer and the different prices for their work. Never! Ever! ask yourself if you can skip this step. This is the final step to your third and polished manuscript. Ha, that is until the publisher sends you their edits.


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