Why You Need a Professional Freelance Editor (and Where to Find The Right One)

Maybe you’ve just completed a manuscript and don’t know what to do with it. Maybe you know a bit about the publishing process, but you want to learn more.

There are all of these maybes, but you definitely know one thing. You know you have one burning question:

What the heck is a freelance editor, and why do I need one?

An excellent query. I hope that in the next 500 words or so, I can answer it for you.

The Freelance Editor’s Place in the Publishing Ecosystem

After you’ve completed your manuscript, a freelance editor should be your first line of attack.

In traditional publishing, freelance editors help make your manuscript marketable and polished, even before you approach a literary agent:

Rudimentary Illustration of Traditional Publishing Workflow.  Graphic Credit: Jessica Hatch, 2017.

Rudimentary Illustration of Traditional Publishing Workflow. Graphic Credit: Jessica Hatch, 2017.

In self-publishing, we can do the same before you sign an agreement with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace, or another platform.

Rudimentary Illustration of Self-Publishing Workflow.   Graphic Credit: Jessica Hatch, 2017.

Rudimentary Illustration of Self-Publishing Workflow. Graphic Credit: Jessica Hatch, 2017.

What is the value of a freelance editor?

That’s fine for the plebes, you may be thinking, but surely I don’t need a freelance editor. I majored in literature; I gave a talk at the last AWP Conference!

Perhaps you don’t need the same level of guidance a novice writer needs, but surely you’ve heard of not seeing the forest for the trees. 

Case in point.

Case in point.

An experienced freelance editor can assess which parts of your manuscript aren't functioning optimally and prescribe practical revisions to help you take it to the next level.

But don’t take my word for it.

Instead, take the word of agents, editors, and readers—the literary gatekeepers who will essentially judge your words whether you’ve hired a freelance editor or not:

Beyond traditional publishing, according to journalist Simon Owens, a 2015 paper in Learned Publishing found that up to 59% of self-published authors had at some point hired a freelance editor. With a team of professionals in their corner, these self-published authors are the ones that sell well, rank high with reviewers, and, with an increasing frequency, get a traditional publishing deal.

Moreover, an estimated 67% of freelance editors began their careers in traditional publishing. Even if you’re the rare writer who’s also a keen editor, a professional freelance editor will have a strong grasp of your book's marketability within the industry and can therefore give you relevant, practical, effective advice.

So, how do I find a good freelance editor?

Of course, there are freelance websites galore for your review. You could hire a freelance editor for cheap on TaskRabbit or Fiverr, but don't be surprised if their critiques aren't up to snuff.

How can you know when you're hiring a freelance editor that you’re getting your money’s worth?

Look in the Right Places. 

Reputable hubs on which to post your freelance job request include:

Ask for Recommendations and References.

If you have any writing friends or publishing contacts, ask them for recommendations. Chances are, they’ve worked with a great freelance editor and would love to share her information.

Once you’ve been put in touch with a professional freelancer, feel free to ask for references or work samples from their portfolio. (Caution: don’t ask for free work on your own behalf, just previous samples.) 

Work with Hatch Editorial Services.

And, if you’re looking for a professional freelance editor, I hope you won't find it remiss for me to say you’ve come to the right place. I’m part of the 67% of freelance editors that came from the traditional publishing industry. I dug my way through the slush pile at Writers House, and I learned what makes a book marketable to reporters and readers alike at St. Martin’s Press.

Writer, it would be an honor to work with you. Learn more about how I can help you here.