Despite the tired narrative that writers resent their editors, who slash through their hard-won lines with a flick of the red pen, many of us have come to realize that a quality editor can help a writer figure out exactly what they meant to say…and say it better.
If you’re finishing a manuscript, for example, a round of professional edits can help you shine it up and increase your chances of getting published. Hiring a book editor can be a major leg up in the notoriously competitive publishing market.
And even if you’re just publishing a blog post on your own website, you want to ensure it’s the best it can be.
Where to find a quality freelance book editor
Ideally, you’re looking for an editor who’s got great chops, and someone who offers affordable freelance editing rates. Which kind of sounds like looking for a unicorn.
Fortunately, such editors for hire aren’t mythical beasts — but it can take some digging to find one.
Here’s where to look for a book editor.
In this marketplace for authors, you can compare offers from dozens of book editors, as well as designers, publicists, and marketers.
Pricing depends on the scope of your project and the professional you choose. Although you’ll have to browse through — and negotiate with — individual editors for a final price, Reedsy’s most recently calculated average editing costs run about $7 per page for developmental editing, $5 per page for copy editing and $3 per page for proofreading.
2. Ebook Launch
If you’re writing any book — be it fiction or nonfiction, ebook-only or print — Ebook Launch is something of a one-stop-shop for your editing, design, and formatting needs.
Professional edits, by real, live humans, start at $0.016 per word for copy editing and $0.007 per word for proofreading, with a minimum or $200 per service per book. They also offer cover design and formatting at additional costs.
While apps and comprehensive programs offer ease of use, sometimes you actually get a better deal and more personal attention by contracting with an individual professional.
The Editorial Freelancers Association is one of the largest collectives of professional freelance editors, writers, proofreaders, indexers, and other editorial professionals, and a great resource for those in need of their help. (Also, freelance writers, it might be worth joining to help you find new clients, too! It’s $145 per year or $260 if you sign up for two years.)
You don’t need to be a member to search the group’s directory, which allows you to filter by specific service and skill. Enter your criteria, and you’ll get a list of professionals who fit the bill, as well as their contact information.
Another large organization specifically for editors (as well as their educators and students), ACES is a great resource for finding freelance book editing, copy editing, and any other editorial services you might need.
Its Editors for Hire Directory lists professional editors from around the world, as well as their specific services, specialties, and contact information.
Manuscript Wish List is a well-known resource for finding agents once you have a polished manuscript — but you can use it to find freelance book editors as well.
This platform takes the legwork out of editor shopping by matching you with an editor based on your specific style and vision. The company offers a risk-free trial edit to ensure that your newfound partnership is actually a fit. There’s a $165 fee for the service, and it’s refundable if you’re not happy with the results.
Once you’re happy with your editor, you’ll move forward by determining which services your work needs — the depth and scope of which will determine your final pricing.
Along with making finding an editor a little bit easier, this company will also let you know if you’re not ready for professional edits yet. That can be a hard message to hear, but an important one.
Writing a book does feel like having a baby. And most people don’t expect themselves to have a baby without any help.
BookBaby is designed specifically for people who plan to self-publish, and the company can help with everything from editing your manuscript to designing your book cover to getting that book printed and on store shelves.
Services are offered a la carte, and your overall cost depends on exactly what kind of help you’re looking for.
For example, line edits, which include critique of character development and style, run $10 per page, but you can get proofreading services — which just deal with grammar — for $3 per page instead.
Yes, this one might look like a surprise at first glance, but online writing groups can be a treasure trove of resources at any point in your drafting process.
On Facebook in particular, you can find a wide range of groups dedicated to all things editorial, from places like EAE Ad Space, which is explicit in its mission to match editors and clients, to groups like Beta Readers and Critique Partners, where you can get (potentially free, but also potentially non-professional) editorial help.
In any case, the other writers in your online spaces may have a lead on a great editor, so it’s worth asking. (And if you’re not already a part of The Write Life Community group, this is your reminder to get in there!)
Finding a great editor can really take your work to the next level — as can learning how to become an editor yourself. So if you’re a writer looking to market your skills in every way possible, keep in mind that these resources also work for selling services as well as buying them!
As a next step: Is it your first time hiring an editor? Here are some questions to ask once you’ve figured out how to find an editor that could be a fit for you.
And if you’re wondering, what does a book editor do? We’ve covered that for you, too.
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Photo via Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock