Assessing Freelance Editors

Assessing Freelance Editors

Having spent months, and possibly years on your manuscript, writing, editing, rewriting, editing, and then tweaking it a few more times for good measure, the time will come when the services of an editor will be required. But with so many editors to choose from, all with a wide range of pricing and experience, how do you work out who to hire?

And where do you even begin?

My advice, first of all, would be to seek out the personal recommendations of your fellow authors. Some may have been lucky enough to have found an affordable, yet excellent editor.

Armed with a short list of names to consider, you should take the time to visit each of the editor’s websites with a view to finding answers to the following:

  • Do they offer the editing service you are looking for?
  • Are they experienced in the editing service you are looking for?
  • Do they have a good knowledge of your chosen genre?
  • What does the editor charge? (Please note that not all editors list their prices on their website)
  • Do they have testimonials/reviews you can read?
  • Your initial impression of their website? Does the editor seem organised? Professional? Is their website in disarray and littered with typos?  
  • Do they offer free sample edits?

With some of your questions answered, and a chosen editor in mind, it’s time to make ‘first contact’ so you can continue your assessment of them.

Introduce yourself, the genre and word count of your manuscript, what editing package you are considering, and enquire about sending them an excerpt of your manuscript for a sample edit. When engaging in communication, consider their level of professionalism and knowledge, as well as their response time. Do they reply within 24/48 hours or are you left hanging on for days? Initial communication can be a good indicator of what to expect if you hire this editor.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to find an editor who is not only experienced and knowledgeable but who you like and feel comfortable with. Likewise, the editor needs to feel comfortable about working with you too. Editing isn’t about going to battle over a particular scene or style of punctuation, it’s about working together with the shared aim of making your book the best it can be.

This post is a summarised version of What to look for when assessing a freelance editor which can be found on

Michelle Dunbar editing

Look what came in the post this morning!

Look what came in the post this morning!

Since 2011, while looking after my three delightful [read as you deem most appropriate] children (7, 5 and 3), I have been studying with the Open University.  Today I got my certificate. It’s kind of a weird feeling actually.  While it marks the end of five years of extremely hard work, it also marks the beginning of something.  What that something is, is not quite what I had initially intended because I needed a better degree than this to take that road. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed, but the world is full of disappointed graduates and I am not prepared to let my efforts, thus far, go to waste, or let others set horizons of my ability anymore.


My certificate!