How do I choose a freelance editor?

weighing1After you’ve filled out the Search Request Form, you will likely receive responses from more than one editor (unless you have specifically requested only one). You may have even found other potential editors through an Internet search, referrals from other authors, or at writers’ conferences. So how can you determine which one is the best for you?

Here are some things to consider.

1.  What type of editing do you want?

  • Basic proofread for typos and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling (may include checking Scripture quotes)
  • Critique (overall substantive/content edit)
  • Copyedit (line by line)
  • Teaching (tutoring)
  • Mentoring (long term)
  • Coauthoring
  • Ghostwriting

2. What method of editing you prefer?

  • Online: With the Track Changes feature turned on, every change the editor makes will show up in a different-colored font. You can right click to either “accept” or “reject” each change. Or you can choose to accept all changes and see how the manuscript reads that way. A second online alternative is to ask the editor to make whatever changes he/she feels are appropriate right in the document and send you the revised version.
  • Hard copy: You send the editor printed pages to mark up with a pen or colored pencil. (As a professional courtesy, send the editor a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage to cover the cost of returning your work. Please add a few cents postage to cover any additional pages the editor may wish to include.)

3. What type of writing you do?

Find an editor who specializes in whatever kind of writing you do. For example, you probably don’t want to hire someone who specializes in nonfiction to edit your novel. That person may not understand fiction techniques. Don’t hire a secular editor to work on your Bible study or devotional.

4. How much can you afford?

Find out how much the editors you are considering charge. (Click here to read the article “How much will a professional edit cost?”) You’ll want to hire the best editor you can afford.

Once you’ve narrowed down the choices to a few, how do you make that final decision?

  • Ask potential editors for a free sample edit. Most editors will provide a sample edit so you can see their editing style. (Some may charge a small fee for this.)
  • Ask for references/testimonials from authors they’ve worked with.
  • Personality compatibility. Try to determine whether you and the potential editor will “get along.” You don’t want to inundate a freelance editor with numerous phone calls or e-mails just to decide whether or not you want to work with that person. But one or two quick e-mails can tell you if the two of you are “on the same page.”
  • Review an editor’s website to discover a variety of information about them.

If you’re still on the fence, consider what one author who connected with an editor through our network said. After getting sample edits from three CEN editors, she chose the one that “frightened” her the most. She figured that editor would probably challenge and teach her the most. “I couldn’t help but feel like God wanted me to face my fear and trust Him through the process.” (Mary Allen)

If you’re ready to hire a freelance editor:

AUTHORS Seeking Editors

PUBLISHERS Seeking Editors


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