Do I Need an Editor?

Writing Tips

Congratulations!  If you landed here, chances are you’ve finished writing a book and you want an editor to help you polish it.   First, you have a few questions.

What does a book editor do?

There are several kinds of editors. Developmental editors work with big picture issues and offer manuscript critiques. Others, such as copy editors, do a more comprehensive edit to clear up inconsistencies, weed out repetition, or correct grammar mistakes. Copy editors usually work in depth with writers after big picture issues have been addressed.

I work as a developmental editor, offering a manuscript critique. To see the services I offer, and to get information on the cost of editing a book, check out

How much does a book editor cost?  

Most commonly, editors charge per page. Prices typically start at three dollars a page. Some editors charge per word.

What would it look like to work with you?

Sometimes, a writer wants a test drive so I do a first-page critique. To get a feel for my work, let’s take a look at one of those test drives and my feedback.


 Melting Down (a middle-grade novel)

         “So, Reggie Rose. This is our group. Say hello to Kevin Chantz, Frankie Powers and Trudy Bozlin.” Mr. Bumpus, the eighth-grade counselor smiles. He reminds me of Punchy the Inflatable Clown. Knock him down and he’ll bounce right back. I stuff my hands into my pockets. Take it easy, Reg. Play nice. No need to melt down.

I think back to the last time I melted down. One of those girls who harasses me in homeroom made fun of my giraffe shirt and matching sweat pants. They were always finding something to make fun of. If not my clothes, then my hair. If not my hair, they picked on my glasses. Okay, so round black frames aren’t high fashion. Get over it! The most original thing they could say was, “Oh, so cute! A giraffe? Why not an elephant since that’s your twin?” I clocked her without even thinking.

A chubby, tan colored kid with bent ears glances toward me and sucks his teeth. Bumpus waves his hand toward the group and I can tell this is Frankie. The other guy doesn’t look up. He’s buried in his hoodie. “Just call me Chantz,” he mumbles.

“This is Trudy,” Bumpus says. Trudy wears her hair on top of her head, the braid coiled around like a dog turd.


My Feedback

(This is a one-page submission, so the critique is short. For a full-length novel I normally provide a five or six page critique and a follow-up phone call.)


Character: We get a good sense of the main character from page one. We see how she relates to the world, and we get an idea of one of her issues–that she’s a bully and needs counseling. I want to know more about her! (See notes below on character.)

 Voice: The voice is strong. The character seems unique and we sense the tone of the story and how it might be told. It sounds like the book will be funny. I’m in!




You may want to re-think the use of a flashback in your first chapter. It’s not necessary and slows the action. Keep the story in the present.


We need to know a little more about what’s happening here. It seems like the kids are in group counseling, so we can presume they have issues. It would be helpful to hint at the main character’s specific problem and the stakes involved if she doesn’t resolve it.


Not much happens. People talk, we see what they’re wearing, and we get into the character’s head, but we need more action. Make the main character do something. She should also say something.


We do get a sense of the main character, but we know very little about the others. Think about how you introduce characters. Each should enter in his or her unique way.


So with this little bit of information I’ve given the writer several ways to revise. If you like what you see, or you have more questions, I offer a free consultation.




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