7 Qualities to Look for While Hiring a Developmental Editor

Your manuscript is like your baby. It is your most prized possession because you put all your heart and soul into it. You may read and edit and re-read and re-edit your script to make it refined. But sometimes your brilliant creation also needs an external little help reaching its maximum potential.

A developmental editor is your partner in crime, focusing on the big-picture aspects of your writing. They will help you strengthen your plot, develop your characters, and ensure your story resonates with readers. But the market is very competitive and you will be needing to look for the perfect match.

The following are the key qualities to look for in a developmental editor to get your work done without any hustle:

Experience over everything

The experience and expertise of a developmental editor are significant qualities to consider while seeking a person for the job. Through years of working with authors across various genres and styles, seasoned editors bring a wealth of knowledge and perfection to the table.

Their hands-on experience and expertise allow them to get the editing job done with finesse. Expertise in developmental editing is not solely about proficiency in grammar and syntax. Rather it allows a deep understanding of storytelling, character development, and thematic coherence.

A proficient developmental editor has a keen eye for identifying narrative gaps, inconsistencies, and areas for improvement. They can provide constructive feedback that nurtures the vision of the author. With an experienced editor, you can make sure that your project receives transformative guidance.

Effective communication skills

The editing process is a collaboration that requires clear communication. Your editor should be able to communicate clearly and effectively, explaining their suggestions and working with you to achieve your vision. For effective developmental editing, the communication skills of the editor should be strong.

Good communication skills involve not only conveying suggestions for improvement but also actively listening to your concerns and preferences. It helps foster a collaborative working relationship. Editors with strong communication can articulate complex ideas in a comprehensible way.

To get a polished final product you will need to revisit your project countless times. Therefore, when you seek a developmental editor, prioritize candidates with exceptional communication skills. It ensures not only the refinement of the manuscript but also a seamless publishing experience for you.

Enthusiasm for your genre

While finding an editor for your work having someone on your list who has a love for your genre is a bonus for you because their passion can translate into a deeper understanding of your work and more insightful feedback.

A passionate editor not only understands the nuances and expectations of your chosen genre but also brings energy to the collaborative process. Whether your chosen genre is romance, fantasy, or mystery an enthusiastic editor will delve deep into your manuscript.

They will not just polish the technical aspects of your script but also enhance its essence to ensure that every plot twist, character, and thematic element of the genre is well-knitted. Finding an editor who is enthusiastic about your genre will be like an icing on the cake.


One of the most important traits of a good developmental editor is professionalism. Save yourself the effort of giving constant reminders to your editor. Look for individuals who are particular about meeting deadlines and maintain a professional demeanor through the process.

A professional editor will approach your project with integrity and dedication. They prioritize clear and transparent communication, ensuring that both parties are on the same page throughout the editing process. They respond promptly and respectfully to your queries by practicing clear communication.

Their professionalism will reflect in their ability to adapt to the needs of your project while maintaining a respectful relationship with you. Everyone who is an editor by profession is not professional because it is not a trait, it is a mindset that puts exceptional developmental editors on a high pedestal.

Credibility through references

While you set an appointment with an editor to discuss your project, do not hesitate to ask for references. A good developmental editor will not be reluctant to share the contact details of their previous clients. It will help you learn more about your potential editor’s reputation in the market.

Contact previous clients and get their take on the editor’s work style and effectiveness. Just like how you would not want a shaky plot twist in your script, you do not want to gamble with an editor who lacks credibility. References of the editor will guide you like a compass.

Positive testimonials from reputable sources can reassure you that the editor is proficient in their craft. It can also help you get an idea of whether the editor possesses the professionalism and integrity necessary for a successful collaboration or not.

A keen eye for details

A good editor possesses the trait of paying attention to detail. They would be able to identify inconsistencies, plot holes, and areas for improvement within your manuscript. Editors with a keen eye for detail can help make your writing more polished and professional.

They can catch errors that you might have missed on your own. So, when you are searching for a developmental editor, it is important to make sure to choose someone who pays close attention to detail, as it can make a big difference in the quality of your final manuscript.

Discuss the editing philosophy

Understand your editing needs before hiring an editor because every editor has a different philosophy. Some prefer a hands-on approach, that dives deep into the manuscript to provide detailed feedback and suggestions. While others opt for a lighter touch, focusing on broader structural issues.

If you want extensive guidance and support throughout the editing process, a hands-on editor may be the ideal fit to give you a detailed review. On the other hand, if you prefer more autonomy and minimal intervention, a lighter-touch editor would be suitable for you to keep your voice and vision intact.

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