Many writers out there may be asking, “why do I need an editor?” or “isn’t that just proofreading?” The answer is quite simple, you may be the best writer in the world, but there will always be mistakes or amendments that are required. Also, a proofread is normally done at the end of the publishing stage, getting confused with copy-editing. So, the question should be, “what will an editor do for me?”

Picking a good editor is crucial, as they will be able to enhance your work without destroying the core message within your work. There are a number of different kinds of editing, for example: copy-editing, line editing, structural editing and so on… Finding an editor who is able to do more than one form of editorial will benefit your work. You do not want a professional who will just fix the punctuation, grammar and spelling.

Where can I find these editors? Should I look on freelance websites? These are the kinds of questions you will ask. Yes, you can look for an editor on a freelance site, heck, even Facebook. The main problem you will find is an overabundance of editors and proofreaders. If you place a job online, you may get responses from hundreds of prospective editors. How then do you choose?

  • A portfolio is a must: find out what work they have done previously and see what testimonials have been given.
  • Qualifications: make sure that they are qualified, so many people will set up as ‘editors,’ yet have no understanding of the profession.
  • Professional affiliation: are they an accredited member of a recognised professional body? One of the main organisations is the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders (CIEP) .

Price is always an ever-present thought. How much should you spend? Most editors will work on a word count basis e.g. £10 per 1,000 words, but some may charge per hour. Be aware of any editors whose prices start low, or if there appears to be a bidding war e.g. one says £10 per 1,000 words and another says £5 per 1,000 words. This race to the bottom shows that the individual does not value themselves, and therefore will not value your work.

Make sure you set a budget for your work and find a good editor who will meet your needs.