5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD

Please join me in welcoming Eleora Han, PhD, whose book Grieving the Loss of a Love is now available. When I invited her to share some of her story, she was kind enough to write about looking for and finding her editor.


I just published a book about working through grief after loss. Surprisingly, I found that one of the most difficult parts of the process was finding the right editor.

Writing a Book Isn’t Like Other Writing

As a psychologist I’ve written or co-authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. Though I felt confident in my writing abilities, I soon realized that writing a book was different. How best should the material be organized and structured, I wondered. Is this writing too academic, or is it appropriate for general audiences? Is any of this any good?

I decided that I needed a partner of sorts—someone supportive who knew the ropes and the lay of the land—someone to bounce ideas off. I soon learned that in the land of publishing, this partner is sometimes known as an editor.

Searching for My Perfect Editor

Once I had my rough draft in hand, I began my search. I didn’t know much about how to search for an editor, but some sources said to look on Upwork, so I began my search there. I posted a job ad and soon received responses from thirty or so applicants, all with dramatically different qualifications and pricing bids. I reviewed their work samples and asked those who were willing to provide sample edits of the first three pages of my manuscript.

Many of the applicants were nice and provided great feedback, but reviewing their work made me realize several critical things:

  1. Anyone can call themselves an editor.

I received applications from teachers, psychologists, college students, hospitalists, pastors, the unemployed, creative writing instructors with literary magazine publications, and newspaper reporters. The variety surprised me! I wanted to work with an editor with prior experience working at a publishing company, but unfortunately none of them did.

  1. Being an editor means different things to different people.

For most of the people on Upwork, editing seemed to mean sending them my draft and then they would email it back to me with their edits … but I wanted someone who was more of a collaborator of sorts, someone I could exchange ideas with and learn from, someone I could turn to for support and help in understanding how the world of publishing works. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD”

Win-Win: Teaching Through Writing

collaboration writersRecently, an independent author who hopes to land a publishing contract this time around hired me to write a book proposal for her latest nonfiction book. She’s an experienced author, but she also knows what she doesn’t know. In her own words, “There is no point in reinventing the wheel when someone else already does it (writing a proposal) well. I think my time would better be served doing what I do best, teaching through writing.”

That sentence got me to thinking about how (as writers) we learn not just from reading, but also from the writing we do. One of the things I love most about my job is the collaborative work I do with authors. There is always a takeaway for me, and more important, there is a takeaway for my author/client.

The author who hired me to write her book proposal understands her personal strengths and weaknesses, and she appreciates the value of hiring someone to do something that might take her weeks of extra time to learn to do well. She’s willing to invest in her writing career by hiring a professional who has the expertise she doesn’t, which frees her up to do what she does best—write. She’s actually making money by spending money.

But there is an added benefit to her: once we’ve completed our collaboration on her book proposal, she will have a very clear idea of how to write a complete proposal for her next book if she chooses to do so.

You see, I too love to teach through writing. As we work together to create and sculpt her book proposal, we both learn. The author spends many hours researching a subject and sharing all her knowledge in a manuscript that she hopes will teach her readers something useful and valuable to them; I spend hours helping her choose just the right words and phrases and putting them together into a package that we hope will catch the eye of an agent or publisher.

And we each come away from this collaboration enriched by the other person’s strengths, because together we can accomplish something neither one of us could do, or do as well, without the other writer.

Collaboration is such an important part of a writer’s life. #writers #writerslife #IARTG Click To Tweet

Collaboration is such an important part of a writer’s life. Many articles have been written about the solitary nature of writing, but when we collaborate with others—through writing partners, critique groups, beta readers, blog followers, and editors—we enrich our writing lives exponentially.

By the time I finish writing this proposal, I’ll have a great deal more knowledge about a subject that interests me, and my client will have a killer proposal and the skill to write the next one on her own if she chooses to . . . and we’ll have both gained something of real value through teaching and writing.

Happy Writing,


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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be.

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