6 things editors need to know from writers before editing

Editors are essential. It’s also important to communicate some information with them when reaching out to get their services.

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 a general standard that every page is about 250 words, but different fonts, font sizes, scenes, files, etc. matters. For example, if a page is mostly dialogue, there could be closer to a hundred words 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 some use other platforms as well. It’s good to discuss this beforehand, so you both are on the same page.


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

It also helps us decide 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, 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 be booked up for a few months and can’t edit your piece right away.

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

Previous editing work done

Editing a manuscript that has not been edited before is much different from editing a manuscript that has gone through professional edits.

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

Publishing where

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

Hope this helps!

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