One of the common characteristics of the "self publishing industry" is that ... EVERYONE is an EDITOR. Now quite obviously not everyone is, but anyone who has ever written a book, or part of a book, published or not, or an article or two, published or not, or sent out a letter with their Christmas Cards will all claim to be editors. Some of them truly are and some are not. Trying to find a good book editor is often like the old Television show "Whats My Line" where, by asking a series of questions, you finally figured out what the true identity of the individual was. This same process often needs to be applied to finding a good editor.
You can sometimes figure out how good an editor is by their price, but a better indicator is what their references look like, and can you contact them. One of the big problems with selecting an editor is that many authors who finish their piece of writing, then turn it over to an editor, will often never re-read that writing after the editor has returned it. This can be a fatal problem for the author because in the editing, the editor way misinterpret something and by even slightly changing a word or sentence structure, the whole point of the writing can be lost.
In the finding of an editor there will be a whole line to choose from. There will be very experienced "word knobs" who will correct absolutely every sentence and paragraph to make the writing perfect in every way. On the low side will be the editor who can barely spell ... well, actually, often they can't spell at all, never mind try to fix grammar.
So ... what's an author to do. Well, first of all you need to evaluate what the writing is that you have. There are so many different kinds of writings from all the different types of books, magazine articles, on-line articles, technical articles, children's themes etc. you need to decide what it is exactly that you have and who the audience is. This will help you in determining the best editor for your work.
What revenue (if any) can you realistically expect to get from your writing and how will this impact what you will pay for an editor. If your budget is low, don't expect to attract a top notch editor.
One of the best places to look for an editor is by asking other authors who they have used and what their experience is with the editor. If you ask 10 authors who they used for an editor, don't be surprised to find 10 different editors.
Once you have a list of editors that are suitable for your genre of writing, you will want to get 2 things from them. Some sort of a pricing guideline or even a firm price if at all possible. This may mean that you need to send them your copy. The other thing you will want to get from them is a list of contacts of people they have edited for in the past. Try to get a list of clients who have used this editor more than once.
Finally, if possible, try to get hold of something they have already edited. You probably will not want to read the whole thing but even finding excerpts in their editing will give you some indication of their ability.
If you follow all these guidelines it will help you increase your chances of finding a good editor, and probably an editor you will want to stick with for some time.
Copyright - Colin Knecht