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5 questions you should ask an editor before hiring them.

Updated: 5 hours ago

If you read my previous blog, you'll know that editors are not the same. If you didn't read it, I suggest you look it over here.

Every aspiring author should ask a few important questions before hiring an editor so you get the best quality for your project. Asking these essential questions can also save you from spending extra money where you don't need, or worse, on rework.

1. What type of editor are you?

Again, different editors have different functions and don't all possess the same editing skills. You may find an editor who can complete the entire process, but usually, editors have specialized skills. By asking your editor what type of work they do, you can prevent a certain level of disappointment with your results. If you struggle to develop your story, a line editor won't help. This type of task is best suited for a developmental editor. If you want to ensure you have the correct paragraph structure or flow, a proofreader probably won't be of much help. Knowing your editor's specialty will save you time and money.

2. What type of book is your specialty?

Some editors, especially developmental editors, specialize in specific genres. Knowing their particular genre is essential because you want to ensure your editor is familiar with the language of the industry you are targeting. If your book contains technical terms or jargon that are important to conveying a particular message to your audience, your editor should be familiar with them.

3. What is your experience?

Your project may be the first one an editor takes on, while others have worked for news outlets, sales or government agencies, or publishing and marketing companies. Some may have years of experience, while others may be just stepping out on their own. Editors who are just starting may have a good command of English and understand writing mechanics, while other editors may have writing or language degrees and certifications.

4. Do you charge by word, page, or hour?

If you know how your editor charges, it will help you appropriately for your project. Word choice is critical here. If the editor charges by the word, you want to ensure you use only the words necessary to convey your message. If they charge by the page, you can ensure your project is within your page budget. Word count isn't the main focus here. If your editor charges by the hour, it is vital to know the approximate number of hours it will take to complete the project before you begin so you can ensure that working with this type of editor fits into your budget.

5. Do you have samples?

Samples can give you an idea of their breadth of experience and quality of work. Reviewing a potential editor's work can help you decide if the editor's writing style aligns with the vision for your book, easing any apprehension you may have about hiring them.

This list is not all-inclusive, but it is a good starting point. It is imperative to know what type of editor you need, what qualifications they hold, what costs you will incur, and if they are best suited for handling your project. Asking the right questions upfront will help ensure you hire the best editor for your project.

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