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  • Anouchka Harris

How to Hire an Editor


You’ve finished your third draft of your manuscript! Or maybe it’s your fourth, or fifth, or sixth… But whatever number you got to, it’s done! You’ve reached the point where you’ve done all the work on it you can do by yourself, or with feedback from friends and family. You need a second pair of eyes, a professional opinion. Maybe you don’t want to pursue traditional publishing, maybe you’ve struggled to find an agent to represent you. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to go down the self-publishing route. And you’re going to hire an editor.

Step 1

Research editors. There are plenty of ways to do this. Maybe you have friends or a writing circle who’ve worked with freelance editors before and they can give you recommendations. Maybe you find lists of freelancers on social media or on a website, or maybe you see an ad somewhere. Either way, have a look around and see what your options are.

Step 2

Narrow your options down. Find someone you like. Depending on the length of the project, you might want a long-term working relationship, or a short-term one. If it’s long-term, you’ll want to make extra sure that this is someone you can work well with, take feedback from, and who will be able to connect with you and your work.

Step 3

Get in touch. Now here’s the tricky part. Your chosen editor may not have the availability to work with you, or they may decline for another reason. Perhaps they think more work needs to be done on your novel and a beta-reader would be a better choice for you. But don’t make your own attitude the reason they may hesitate to work with you. An editor isn’t an employee, or even a prospective employee applying for the opportunity to work for you. They are a person providing a service. (And perhaps don’t mention it if you’re seeing other editors on the side – it runs the risk of sounding pompous or even rude.) You should tell them a bit about your manuscript – your genre, audience, word count and the like – and your goals. If, after a few emails or a chat, you don’t think this editor is the right one for your work, that’s fine. Say so, politely, and return to Step 1.

Step 4

If your editor is available, you will agree on a price for the work and a deadline for delivery.

Step 5

Pay your editor promptly when you receive their invoice.

Ta-da! You have successfully hired an editor. You have unlocked Level 2: Redrafting with Editor’s Notes.


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