In this abridged version of her article for the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2022, Jenny Bowman has helpful advice for the self-publishing author on how to set about hiring the ideal editor.
Self-publishing has become a widely accepted avenue for publishing children’s books, from picture books to young adult novels. Self-publishing can be particularly attractive to picture book authors who prefer to select and collaborate with their illustrators.
Since self-published books forgo the rigorous editing performed when a book is acquired by a publisher, hiring a freelance editor is a must. It’s important to understand the different types of editorial services available to authors, and the order in which they are typically employed.
With so many editors available, how do you know which one to choose? To start, select an editor who specialises in writing for children. You want someone who understands the complex category systems within the umbrella of children’s books.
A Google search for a children’s book editor is the best place to start. Look for an editor who is specialised, or who has edited books similar to your own. Picture books take a surprising amount of work – every word matters. You will want to hire an editor who has unique experience in editing picture books.
Hire your editor before you commission illustrations. Quality illustrations are pricey. How heartbreaking it is when an author completes illustrations, only to realise during the editing process that major changes are needed to their book which make those illustrations obsolete. Hire your illustrator when all editing, apart from the final proofread, is complete.
Finding an editor to collaborate with is an essential step in producing a polished and complete book for publication. Self-publishing your children’s book is an exciting path to follow, with one of the most satisfying endings – the joy of holding your first printed book, and then revisiting that feeling every time someone reads your story.
You can read the full version of this article and more than 80 other pieces from writers, publishing insiders and agents in the new edition of the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2022, published 22 July.
Jenny Bowman is a creative writer and children’s book editor with experience editing books on the New York Times bestseller list, and books with international acclaim. Having edited over 100 books for children to young adults, Jenny is well-versed in all genres of children’s literature. She is an active member of the EFA, the Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, the Children’s Literature Association, and participates annually in both the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge and Inked Voices. Her website is www.jennybowman.com.