Working with an Editor

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 24 2011

I am currently working on my first erotic novel (first novel of any kind). I have a question regarding an editor. Once I have finished it is it truly necessary to find an editor? If so, should I be specific in finding someone who deals in erotic editing? If so, any suggestions as to a good editor? I live in Australia, but editor anywhere is no problem.

It’s never “required” to get an editor, unless you feel that your work needs a good edit. There are a number of ways you can have your book edited. You can hire someone, or work with a writing partner or a critique group. If you do choose to hire an editor, I would suggest you find someone knowledgeable in your genre.

I’m not going to give specific editor recommendations, but if any of my readers have any, please feel free to promote them in the comments.


17 responses to “Working with an Editor”

  1. Avatar Megan Burke says:

    going to your local editor's society is a good bet of a reliable find.

    my local one – in Melbourne, Australia – publishes a helpful guide which has all the editors in the society, their qual's, areas of interest etc.

    It really helps and saves both you and them time – so you don't go asking the wrong people if they do your genre.

  2. Avatar Megan Burke says:

    **if you don't have an editor's society try your local writing centre and see if they can point you in the right direction

  3. I'm not sure about editing for Erotica, a cool genre to be sure, but when you're ready to query I would suggest, if not Jessica of course, Lori Perkins. She kinda specializes in the genre.

    Hope that helps in some small way…

  4. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, but it annoys me when people finish their first MS and ask, "Should I get an editor?"

    If you were a painter, would you ask another painter to 'fix' your painting? Or another sculpter to fix your sculpture? Chances are no. You might ask for their opinions.

    To me, IMHO, 'hiring an editor' to go over the final version of your MS is taking the easy way out. You don't learn anything about your craf that way.

    I agree with Jessica here. Find a critique partner and hone your craft. If your work is ready for submission, then the publisher will work with you on the small tweeks and changes required (another apportunity to learn).

  5. Avatar Rebecca Kiel says:

    Alta Price in NY comes highly recommended. She has done both fiction and non-fiction. Erotica,I don't know, but it's worth asking. Google her.

  6. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    Finishing a first manuscript is awesome. I understand your hesitation in putting it out there. Writing "the end" is only the beginning though, it's all about the rewrite. ; )

    I would suggest before going to the expense of hiring an editor, join RWA (Australia), because there you will find opportunities to join local critique groups, or find one crit partner who writes in the same genre. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to put your work into contests and gain opinions from unknowns. Your confidence in your work will grow.

    You could offer to do a straight through read of your crit partner's work, doing line edits, and they would do the same for your manuscript. In that less formal environment you'll feel freer to ask questions.

    Another thought is to give your manuscript to Beta readers (say three or four, and not writers but avid readers) supply them with a list of questions for feedback. Good luck!

  7. Avatar Angela James says:

    I actually looked at this question a different way, given the state of publishing today, so I would add to the answer: …but if you're going to self-publish the novel, not submit it to agents and editors at publishing houses, then yes, you need to hire an editor.

  8. Avatar Sean says:

    I didn't realize you could hire out editors like caterers. Where would someone even look that kind of info up at? Under "editors" in the phonebook we never use anymore? And how much would a normal length ms cost to have edited?

    I always thought that part of the reward in getting picked up by a publishing house was input from an editor. I also have always heard never to pay someone who wants to help get your book published. I'm missing something here. I mean, are literary agents for hire as well?

  9. @Sean: There are people who offer their services as editors for a fee. Some of them have worked in publishing before, but they're doing the editing as a freelance thing. As for not paying people to get your book published, that's not what you're doing in this case. You're paying someone to edit your book to make it stronger. After that point, you can let it sit in a drawer or you pitch it to agents to sell (or editors of publishing houses that take unsolicited manuscripts). The paid editor's portion is done. If your ms does get sold to a publishing house, the editor there is still going to read and possibly edit it more. If the agent or the publishing house wants to charge you, that's when you have a problem.

  10. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    I can offer a suggestion for aspiring authors of erotic romance–Changeling Press is currently holding a contest (no entry fee) to discover new talent. They're the publisher that launched my Wolf Tales series seven years ago (which Kensington now owns) and the contest offers a chance for full critique and publication–the link is

    I'm one of the finalist judges, along with Dakota Cassidy, Angela Knight and Michele Bardsley. Deadline is March 17.

  11. In response to "annonymous" at10:38 – an editor would have found your typos. 🙂

    Yes, an editor is a reasonable option although pricy and you may still fail to win over an agent.

  12. Avatar ryan field says:

    I think this is a different process for everyone. Some writers feel more confident hiring an editor before submitting. And I don't see anything wrong with that if you have the money to spend.

    But there are excellent crit groups where writers don't have to spend money. And if you look at writing as a business, which I always have, unless you're very lucky it's going to take a long time to get a return on the investment of hiring a private editor.

  13. Avatar Beth says:

    I've never used a freelance editor, but I can see how it would be beneficial. I critiqued a ms for someone who used a freelance editor on her past project and she seemed to have learned a lot from the experience. The editor was very thorough and met with her after reviewing her work to explain why he corrected things and to show her pattern problems. The work I read for her (that had not been submitted to an editor) was good. Though, I feel she was in the wrong genre.

  14. Hi,
    As someone involved in running the CP scheme set up by RWAus, I recommend joining and filling out the CP application. You can find a CP who is targetting the same areas as you at approximately the same stage. Hopefully you'll have complimentary strengths/weaknesses (help each other) and find a partner in your journey.

  15. Avatar Sheila Cull says:

    Jessica, I have a question. If you do hire a well known editor, can/should you mention that in your query?

    Sheila Cull

  16. Avatar Horserider says:

    When I read the question I thought what they meant was "Is it necessary to have an editor to be published?" rather than "Is it necessary to hire a freelance editor before submitting?"

  17. Avatar Kay Tee says:

    Why don't you check out the AutoCrit Editing Wizard? It's a great tool for learning how to see the problems in your manuscript. And it's WAY cheaper than an editor.