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Five Tips for Finding the Right Editor for Your Business Book

by Jacqui Pretty  |  
March 24, 2016

A book is the ultimate business card... but only if you do it right.

Unfortunately, many self-publishers don't. Though most recognize the importance of good cover design and printing quality, many don't budget for editing.

That's a big mistake. Readers pick up on typos and other mistakes that spellcheck missed. They notice when a sentence just doesn't make sense. And when readers can't figure out your point, they stop reading altogether.

Your self-published business book needs to be so good that it reads as if it was professionally published. How? By following these five tips so you find the right editor for it.

1. Find an editor

Often, entrepreneurs, marketers, and other authors of business books think an editor is an expense they can do without. After all, you wrote your website, you've started blogging, and you've also got a friend who's an English teacher who can check your book. Plus, there's always spellcheck...

But think about it: Your cover design makes a good first impression; good-quality paper creates weight and credibility (not to mention... the simple act of handing a book to someone is pretty impressive); but all of that can be destroyed by a single typo on the first page.

Any typos, repetition, rambling, and gaps in reasoning will become part of the lasting impression you readers have of your business.

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Jacqui Pretty is the author of Book Blueprint: How Any Entrepreneur Can Write an Awesome Book and the founder of Grammar Factory, an editing and publishing company.

Twitter: @jacquipretty

Linkedin: Jacqui Pretty

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  • by Leah Good Thu Mar 24, 2016 via web

    There are organizations out there promising to simply interview you and create a book for you, but they do not do the kind of editing most business writers need. I'm simply stunned at some of the nonsense they put out using speech-to-text technology and call it a "book." To me it demonstrates an unprofessional approach that would make me suspect the credentials of the author.

    An editor is a professional and has (or should have) a background in communication, especially technical communication. A good editor will help you structure your book into meaningful parts for your audience's understanding and will be able to explain to you why she makes the recommendations she does in terms of your goal and reaching readers. She will be fabulously well-grounded, too, in the kind of grammar knowledge most people don't have (although a good editor will point out your errors, she will also understand when you might want them for communicative effect, such as using a fragment to emphasize a point).

    Ask what kinds of projects she's completed and about her general background. In addition, don't be afraid to ask for client recommendations. A credible editor should be able to provide you with testimonials or references. It's helpful to know, in addition, the longevity of her clients. For instance, if a client has stayed with a contract editor over the course of a decade, it's likely she knows what she's doing!

    Full disclaimer: I am an editor, as well as a writer, so I have a pony in this race. For instance, I wouldn't do a sample edit for free, although I might skim through a document and talk for a few minutes about what I think it needs. A good editor might do this and then provide you with a quote (full bid or per page) based on that evaluation, should you decide there's a good fit between you.

  • by Cate Hogan Thu Jul 27, 2017 via web

    A very helpful article, thanks! I've been trialing editors for my current romance WIP, including industry stalwarts from The Big Four, to freelancers and hobbyists, *budget* options and the gurus who cost a pretty penny. From 9 to 5 I'm an editor myself, so it's been great experiencing the process from a writer's perspective. I've documented some tips below on what to look for in an editor (and what should send you running), which you might find interesting.

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