6 things editors need to know from writers before editing

Editors are essential. It’s important to communicate some information with them though when y’all first talk.

Here are six things to keep in mind:

Word count, not page count

Knowing how many pages there are isn’t as helpful as one might think. There is the general standard that every page is about 250 words. But different fonts, font sizes, scenes, files, etc. matters. For example, if the page is mostly dialogue, there could be closer to a hundred words on the page instead of 250. Plus, a page in Microsoft Word is different from one in Google Docs.

Word count, however, helps us see about how long a project will take to edit.

File format

Word? Google docs? Adobe?

Some editors only work in Microsoft Word while others use other platforms as well. It’s good to discuss this beforehand, so you both are on the same page.


Knowing a work’s genre also helps us gauge how long it’ll take to edit a piece. For example, poetry doesn’t take as long as a science fiction novel.

It also helps us in deciding whether we are the right editor to edit your work. For example, I edit fantasy and science fiction well, but I’m terrible at romance and history. If I love and know the ins and outs of the genre already, I can edit the story better.

Time frame

It’s always good to scout for an editor months in advance because of the time frame. When you reach out to an editor, they might already have another project and can’t edit your piece right away.

Plus, not all editors can do a quick turn around. I’ve heard of some that can, but for most manuscripts, it takes a few weeks to a month to get all editing done.

So, look around for editors in advance and see if they can fit your project in their schedule.

Previous editing work done

Editing a piece that has not been professionally edited before is much different than editing a piece that has gone through professional edits. Beta reading counts!

The more an editor needs to edit, the longer it will take them to edit your work, which will cost more.

Publishing where

It’s good to know if you’re self-publishing or publishing traditionally. If you’re publishing traditionally, most publishing houses will provide copyediting and proofreading, so don’t have to pay for those services beforehand.

Hope this helps!

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