Where to Find the Editor You Need

by Michael Bedford

Published at 2022-09-07

Editors, much like authors, tend to have specific areas of focus. Even among editors who consider themselves generalists, their literary preferences and specialties tend to define most of their workload. Googling “fiction editors” returns 456 million results, so authors have lots of options indeed, but it can be difficult to determine whether you’re picking the right editor for the job. Here, then, are some pointers for authors on how to streamline their searches.



Keywords are Key


If you haven’t already done so, take some time to determine precisely what genre of manuscript you’ve written. Beyond your manuscript being simply fiction or non-fiction, consider how you might further define it—horror, fantasy, historical, science-fiction, humorous instructional guide, etc. Maybe you’re looking for a dramaturg for your new play-script, or an academic editor for your periodical. Make a list of the terms you think best describe what you’d like your final draft to represent. From now on, these words will be your search keywords. After all, who has time to look at 456 million websites?



Editors Canada


The Online Directory of Editors


Perhaps not surprisingly, Editors Canada’s online directory is an excellent resource for authors looking for Canadian editors of all stripes. Editors Canada’s easy-to-use directory allows authors to search by genre, editorial skills, subjects, working languages, and location. In addition to these, a further keyword search option is available if the above categories don’t return the desired results.



The National Job Board


Editors Canada also operates a national job board for editors. Authors looking to hire editors for specific jobs or contracts can post on the board by emailing their posting to Editors Canada. The service is free for job posters, and posts generally appear on the job board after a two-day review period. Like enrolment in the Online Directory of Editors, Editors Canada’s job board postings are only visible to members of Editors Canada, so authors can rest assured that their posts are reaching the editors they’re looking for.



To Reedsy or Not to Reedsy?


Another online staffing pool of editorial professionals can be found on the Reedsy Marketplace. Reedsy offers a lot of options to authors looking for editors. And, because Reedsy vets its members, authors looking to hire can review editors’ past projects and make an informed decision before reaching out to them. One drawback to using Reedsy or a similar platform, though, is the 20% commission fee Reedsy adds to all transactions (10% of the fee is paid by the editor, 10% paid by the author).


Reedsy, then, tends to be a good place to find new editors: the advertising exposure that Reedsy provides to new editors reduces the significance of the cost of the commission. Well-established editors who have developed relationships with return clients, however, are less likely to use platforms like Reedsy since they don’t need the extra exposure that companies such as Reedsy offer, relying instead upon positive testimonials and word of mouth to drive business.



Pick Up the Phone


It might seem old fashioned, but sometimes the old ways are best. If you’ve found an editor’s business website, but you’re not quite sure whether they can accommodate the needs of your manuscript, consider giving them a quick phone call or sending an email to discuss some specifics. Even better, if the editor lives nearby and is amenable to the idea, consider meeting in person for a coffee and a chat about your manuscript. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting when trying to determine if a working editorial relationship is possible.



The Answer May Be Closer Than You Think


Editorial work can be a tricky process. More than simply checking the right genre boxes, the right editor for an author is primarily someone the author can freely exchange ideas with. So, although Editors Canada’s Online Directory and Reedsy Marketplace both provide great starting points for authors looking for editors, there’s nothing quite like personal recommendations or testimonials.


If a friend or colleague just published their own manuscript, consider asking them about who they contracted with for editorial work. Even if their project was wildly different from the manuscript you’ve written, editors often refer clients to other editors they think might be more suited to specific jobs. Or, if you’re new to the world of publishing and don’t have any helpful contacts, maybe there’s a business website you visit periodically or follow on social media that provides the services you’re looking for—pardon the self-promotion. Finding the right editor can seem daunting, but by making use of these resources and exercising a bit of patience, you’ll be able to narrow the search down and find the perfect editorial match for your manuscript.



Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Stoney Creek, Ontario. He can be reached at 



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