After writing a book, the next step—editing—can seem daunting. The good news? You wrote a book! Yay!

Getting started on the next steps means finding an editor. In a world where almost everything is at our fingertips, finding an editor online can be easy. Not only can you find professional editors near you, but you can also visit websites like Scribendi and BookBaby that have already hired freelance editors.

Knowing how to choose an editor can be difficult, and it is important to find a good match. Online editing sites offer an accessible option for quickly getting a book edited, which can be an alluring prospect. Why shouldn’t you pick online editing?

Depending on your editing needs, an online editing service may not be the best option. Both BookBaby and Scribendi offer copyediting and line-level editing. Scribendi also offers manuscript editing, which it describes as “a line-by-line edit of your early draft, including revisions for language issues and advice on content.” But if you are looking for a true global or developmental edit—which offers an opportunity to work with an editor beyond line-level issues—these sites do not appear to offer these services. In these cases, an editor who you can speak to directly may be a better option.

Working directly with an editor gives writers the opportunity to benefit from all kinds of editing. Most professional editors specialize in a specific kind of editing, which means you’re often getting a higher-quality edit, since their skills have been honed in that particular area.

It is also helpful to have a relationship with your editor. An editor who you hire yourself will have your book’s best interests in mind, and they will want to collaborate with you to make your book as great as it can be. A connection with your editor can be a huge benefit during the process of publishing (although it might not be necessary).

Additionally, most professional editors are a part of the publishing industry and have a better sense of the business, which is invaluable. Some editors have the ability to work on book proposals, query letters, and other submission or marketing materials to make sure that everything is ready for submission. Their membership in the publishing community means they are more aware of publishing trends and can give you advice about your book.

Working with an editor is an important experience in making a book the best version of itself, so finding the right match in terms of your editing needs is important. But working directly with a professional editor goes beyond the editing itself: it creates an invaluable relationship that online editing services don’t provide.

Bonus: If you’re wondering where you can find a guide for how much a professional editor costs, check out the Editorial Freelancers Association website.

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