When You Should Contact an Editor

ask editor

If you have a work-in-progress you want to turn into an e-book or write a book proposal for, when should you contact an editor? Although I think this varies from editor to editor, here are a couple clues you’re ready:

  • You have a publish date in mind, but not a locked-in deadline. You have to fit your schedule with your editor’s schedule. Right now I’m booking clients a month in advance. I take about a week for the average e-book and then you’ll need a few days to make the changes before you can format your e-book or submit your proposal. If you know about when you want your book finished, you can work back from that date. You don’t want to already be locked in to a publish date, in case the editor you really want to work with is already booked.
  • You have most of your book written, but not quite polished. Before your editor can give you a price quote or know how long it will take her to edit, she needs to know how long your book will be. She may also have suggestions on how to best format your book or how you can fix a few common writing mistakes yourself that will save her time and save you money. Give yourself a little time to make final changes before you send her your book or proposal.

Ideally, the communication with your editor could go something like this:

  1. “Hi Sandra! I’ve been working on an e-book I hope to release this fall! I hope we can work together on it!” I would reply, “That’s great! What an accomplishment! I hope we can work together too. My e-book Beyond the Basics: 30 Tips for Better Writing might be a big help for you as you write. I’ve attached a free PDF copy of it to this email. Please let me know if you have any questions!”
  2. “Hi Sandra!  My book is almost finished and I was wondering about your availability for editing it? It’s about 40,000 words.” I would reply, “How exciting! I’m booked for the next three weeks, then my family is going on vacation for a week. I can schedule you for Aug. 13-17. If that works for you, I can send you details about pricing and formatting.”
  3. “Sounds great Sandra! I’ll have the book ready and send it by Aug. 13th.”
The main point is, give yourself and your editor time to make your book the best it can be! The earlier you make contact the better!