How To Hire A Freelance Editor

By on December 23, 2016
How To Hire A Freelance Editor - Writer's

When you have finished your book and want to send it off to publishers, or if you have decided to go down the self-publishing route, it is important to make sure that it is in the very best condition before you try to get it out there into the world.

There are many things you can do to give your book the very best chance of success. One of these is by hiring a freelance editor whose eagle eyes will help spot mistakes or inconsistencies and who will be able to give you helpful advice and suggestions on how to improve your work.

However, there are lots of things to consider before you take the plunge. Hiring a freelance editor to review your work is not a decision that you should take lightly so make sure that you have solid reasons for doing so, and that you have done your research too.

Here are some things to consider.

Can you afford it?

Hiring an editor doesn’t usually come cheap, and if it does you should probably be suspicious of the quality of the work they can provide. Bringing a pair of fresh eyes and a new perspective in can be invaluable, especially when that person has years of experience, and is removed from your work so will give you a professional and unbiased point of view. However, getting yourself into masses of debt before you have even begun will get you nowhere. If you need to wait and save up to hire and editor then do this. Unless your book is particularly time sensitive then waiting a few months to make it the best it can be is the better option rather than rushing it and putting it out there full of mistakes.

Are you ready?

Don’t hire a freelance editor to help you if you haven’t already drafted and re-drafted your novel yourself first. Many editors will charge by the hour so make sure that you get your book in the very best condition you can before hiring someone else to take over. It is also important to be ready to accept constructive criticism and suggestions for change. If you are too emotionally attached to every single word in your book, then you might end up ignoring your editor's advice which makes the whole exercise rather pointless.

Have you done your research?

Take your time to investigate several different options. Good freelance editors will have a portfolio of work and be able to provide references from previous satisfied customers. While you shouldn’t just go for the cheapest, there is no reason why an editor can’t be good value, so shop around, get several different quotes and try to negotiate. Also, it is important to make it clear exactly what you expect from and editor and what guarantees they can put in place. For example, if you want them just to correct spelling and grammar but not comment on the plot or structure you need to explain this from the outset to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

When you have found an editor you are interested in the first thing you should do is make contact. Introduce yourself and your project and give as much information as you can. Let them know the length of your manuscript, the genre, and the type of editing you require. A good editor will then be able to come back to you with an accurate price, and timeframe. It’s OK to ask them what experience they have had with the genre, for references and links to previous jobs and if they have payment options. Many editors will have answers to these questions already on their website - so make sure you check this out first.

Getting a sample edit is also entirely usual and a useful way of being able to tell whether this editor is any good. Some editors offer this service for free; others will charge for it. You can decide whether you are willing to pay, but don’t get put out if there are costs attached - it is still work for them, and can be very time-consuming if they are offering this service to several potential clients!


Once you have decided you would like to go ahead with a particular editor, then get a contract. The editor will usually send this to you. Make sure you read it thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask them if you don’t understand anything. Contracts are usually pretty straightforward, but you need to be clear on everything before you sign.

So, are you thinking of hiring a freelance editor? If so make sure you follow the above steps, and you should enjoy a positive and productive relationship and have an altogether pleasant experience!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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