How do I Find an Editor?
Updated: Sep 17, 2021
There are so many choices and variables to selecting the right editor for you, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Where do you look? How much should you pay? How do you know what kind of editing you even need?
The first thing I recommend is doing some research on the levels of editing to figure out what you need. There are many articles, blogs, and websites that describe the different levels of editing. Start with a simple search. ‘What are the different types of editing,’ yields about 496,000,000 results on Google. So, there is no problem finding information about that. (I have even posted about this.)
After reading about what is handled in each editing round, you should be able to decide what you need. Now, you need to look for editors that perform the level you need in the genre you write in. Personally, I specialize in author coaching, developmental and line editing of paranormal romance and fantasy fiction for YA, NA, and adult novelists. If you are writing a legal novel, I’m probably not the best editor for you—I don’t know much about the law. So, you narrow your search by genre and level of editing. Great, you now know two major criteria for the editor you want to hire.
Have you decided on whether you want to publish traditionally, use a hybrid publisher, or self-publish? Believe it or not, editors can help you with all of these things, and yes, you still need an editor before submitting to a traditional publisher or hybrid publisher. You want to submit the best manuscript you can for both these publishing paths. Even hybrid publishers will reject a poorly written manuscript. (Vanity publishers are a different story. Don’t publish with a vanity publisher. Do your research.)
Whichever publishing path you chose, look for members of professional associations. Sites like the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association), PEN (Professional Editors Network), and ACES (American Copy Editors Society) all have directories of their members which you can filter by genre and specialty. Read their profiles. What does their bio say about them? They have probably written it themselves, so the tone speaks to their personality.
I suggest choosing between 5-8 editors, then go to their websites and see what their range of services, how much they charge, read their ‘about’ page. Narrow your choices to three, based on the vibe you get from them. Shoot them an email saying you are interested in their services, ask how much they charge for a specific type of edit—if it isn’t listed on their site, and ask if they provide a sample edit. Most editors will respond within 24 hours to your email, and most will perform a free sample edit from 1,000 to 2000 words. If you need a developmental edit, a sample is difficult to do, so try asking for a review of your synopsis.
After you receive your sample edits back, review and compare them. Chances are one out of three will seem to be a good fit. If not, go back to those 5-8 you chose from before and repeat the email and sample editing process. Of course, if you are still having trouble finding the right fit, go back to the professional editing sites and search their directories again.
Now for the big question. How much should you pay for editing? Well, many editors use the EFA’s (Editorial Freelancers Association) average rates as a guideline for their pricing. https://www.the-efa.org/rates/. You might find an editor that doesn’t fall within this expected range. The reasons for that are varied but using it as a guideline to see if your editor’s price is reasonable is helpful. In all honesty, expect to pay around $2,000-$3,000 for a 100,000 word novel.