What to Ask Before Hiring an Editor

If you’re working on a book you’ll need an editor at some point. I know it’s tempting to save money by editing the book yourself but that’s such a bad idea. Your opinion of the book will be biased and your analysis of the book won’t be objective. But finding an editor that you’re comfortable with can be a challenge.

If you need an editor you probably will have more than enough things to ask! But for starters, here are 4 questions to ask before hiring them that will go a long way.


This will depend on a couple of variables like how long your book is, how much editing you need done and if the editor does work full time or on the side. You’ll have to be realistic about the time it takes to get the work done. I know you’re anxious to get the book back but editing is serious business! Please don’t rush the process.


Does the editor print the manuscript, mark it up with a red pen and then mail it to you? Do they track changes in Microsoft Word? Are they brutally honest or do they try to spare your feelings? Which editing style guide do they use? Do they keep in touch with you throughout the process or will they go into a cave with your book and make contact when everything is done? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a better idea of how you and the editor will fit together in a business relationship.


Be crystal clear about this. How many rounds of editing do you get? What type of editing will you get? Just as important…what things aren’t covered in your cost? Always remember that a cheap editor doesn’t immediately equal a good deal. An editor’s job is to make your manuscript the best darn book that it can be. This won’t come at a low cost.


You think finding a good editor that you like is hard? Finding a good editor that you like that has experience with your kind of book is even harder. For example, I wouldn’t edit a Science Fiction novel. Not only do I have zero experience with that kind of work, I have zero interest in the genre. When a potential client asks for help with a book that’s out of my scope, I refer them to someone else in my network of editors. 

Besides asking good questions there are other things to do when searching for an editor. Make sure you have a contract. You need to understand exactly what each party is to give and receive in the business exchange. When it comes to my business, I keep my contracts simple and to the point so that it’s clear to my clients. Also check up on this potential editor. Do they have any reviews? What comes up on them in Google? Visit their website and social accounts. It’s always good if someone you trust can refer you to an editor.

It would be a sad thing to pour so much of yourself into your book and not take the time to find the right professional editor. Don’t settle for just anyone. The process of getting a book published for the world to see can be long. But it’s all worth it. Don’t be discouraged!

Are you writing a book or have an idea for one?

Until next time…


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