How to Find the Best Editors for Hire
How to Find the Best Editors for Hire
Most writers won’t tell you this, but editors are the unsung heroes behind strong, engaging and compelling copy. A great writer can spin a yarn worth reading, sure, but it’s the editor who can turn that yarn to gold by ensuring that the writer’s words are delivered with utmost clarity and impact. Whether you’re writing the next great American novel or have commissioned copy for something much less impressive (but just as important), such as a website or your blog, complement your writing services with professional editing. If you’re not sure where to look for editors for hire, or even how to begin finding one, fear not — we’re here to help.
What Do Editors for Hire Do?
If you’re like most people, you use the word “editor” to describe anyone who has anything to do with the tweaking of content to prepare it for publication. While in the broadest sense of the term this is what editors for hire do, the truth is that not all editors are created equal. In fact, most editors have very different editing styles and levels with which they feel comfortable when “tweaking” copy. While every editor falls into a specific niche, it’s safe to say that most consider themselves one of the following four types of editor:
1. Developmental Editor for Hire
Developmental editing refers to a sustained and collaborative partnership between writer and editor that is established before the writer puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). While at the end of the process the intellectual property technically belongs to the author or commissioner, the editor helps the writer develop an idea (hence the name) and turn it into a complete and cohesive work.
The editor is there for the writer from the very beginning of the writing process (or close to it) and helps him or her answer the big questions. Who is the content for? What is the main idea the writer wants to convey? What is the best way to structure the piece? What should be included, and what can be left out?
Developmental editors typically work on long-form content and for the print industry. However, you may benefit from such a professional if you want to create a lengthy digital asset, such as an eBook or whitepaper.
2. Substantive Editor for Hire
A substantive editor does much of what a developmental editor does — focuses on the big picture stuff, such as theme, structure, genre, pacing, point of view and research — but does it after the fact. This type of professional editor will take your complete asset, whether it be a blog post, eBook or novel, and make suggestions for how you can improve it. While some writers prefer this approach, as it means they can just say what they have to say and then let the editor come in and organize everything, many prefer feedback as they go. Neither way is right nor wrong, just different.
3. Copy Editor for Hire
A copy editor’s job is drastically different than that of a developmental or substantive editor. A copy editor for hire takes care of the final details such as grammar, spelling, repetition, factual accuracy, word choice, inconsistencies, style, voice, syntax, context and repetition. These are the types of editors that typically partner with web copy writers and that ensure businesses like yours don’t post content that may make them appear less than professional. These are also the main types of editors we rely on here at BKA Content.
4. Proofreader For Hire
Then there’s your proofreader. The proofreader is like the final gatekeeper who gives the green light to go ahead and publish a piece. While it’s true that much of the editing work is done before a piece reaches the proofreader, don’t discount this professional’s contribution to any given finished product. The proofreader offers a much-needed fresh perspective when you and your editors can no longer see typos because your brains tell you that you see what you expect to see. Think unnecessary line breaks, mismatched heading styles, incorrect hyperlinks, a misuse of there/their/they’re and, of course, lingering textual errors.
Do you need all four types of editors for hire for your content? No, you don’t, especially if your work falls more in line with our “2020 Guide to Buying Blog Posts Online,” as opposed to, say, John Steinbeck’s, “The Grapes of Wrath.” When it comes to online content, you can likely get away with one strong editor to complete the level of editing you require.
What Should You Look for in a Professional Editor for Hire?
Regardless of how many editors you hire and for what purposes, the key is to trust that they will make magic happen. If you don’t trust an editor, he or she is probably not a good fit for you. So, how can you find an editor for hire that is best suited for your editing needs? While starting with a quick website review couldn’t hurt, we recommend reaching out to the editor or agency and asking the following questions.
What Type of Experience Does the Copy Editor for Hire Have?
When asking about experience, don’t just ask how many years of editing experience the editors for hire have. While it’s nice to know that a professional has X number of years of making typos, run-ons and excessive punctuation disappear, the real question you want to ask is, “Does the editor have experience editing content like yours?”
While some editors, like writers, are quite versatile, others are not. To ensure you receive a finished product that is in line with your brand’s voice and audience’s expectations, and that is in line with best practices for the platform on which you intend to publish, drill deeper by asking the following:
- What type of content does the editor have the most experience with? (Blog posts, website pages, eBooks, press releases, news publications, novels, etc.)
- For what industries has the editor worked?
- On which platforms does the edited content regularly end up? (Websites, social profiles, Google Ads, sales pages, etc.)
If you need anything more extensive than a quick proofread, the editor’s answers to these questions are important. The best editor for you is one who understands your market and the materials you plan to commission.
What Does the Editing Process Look Like?
You want to know what you’re paying for, right? The best way to determine this is to ask about the editor’s process. In addition to inquiring as to the type of editor a professional is (developmental, substantive, copy editor or proofreader), ask about what the services include. How many times will your copy go through editing? How many pairs of eyes will look at it before it gets back to you? How will the editor or agency track changes made so you can see that changes were, in fact, made?
Not only is it just smart from a financial standpoint to know what you’re paying for, but it can also help you make the best decision for your budget. Editors’ pricing structures may be comparable, but their services are not.
How Much Will Editing Cost?
How much you can expect to pay for professional editing services depends on two main factors: The editor’s experience and the level of editing you require. An editor with 10 years of experience and hundreds of satisfied clients under his or her belt is likely to charge more than a newbie. Likewise, you’re bound to pay more for substantive editing than you are for a quick proofread.
That said, most editors for hire price their services on a cost-per-word basis. For example, if a copy editor for hire charges 2.5 cents per word and you order a 1,000-word webpage, you would pay $25 for editing services.
Again, though, editorial rates vary. You can find average rates on the Editorial Freelancers Association website.
Do the Editors for Hire Have Samples To Show You?
So far, you like what you hear, so now it’s time to determine if the editor or editors are as good as they claim to be. A professional editor should have samples to show you, either from previous clients or samples they created for their own portfolios. If an editor doesn’t have samples, he or she may offer to perform some edits on your work, gratis. Either way, the only real way you can know for sure if an editor is right for your project is to see his or her work beforehand.
Does the Editor for Hire Feel Like a Good Fit?
An editor may be the best in the industry, but if you feel “meh” about him or her, his or her services are probably not for you. Whether it’s your own creative work in question or content you commissioned from a freelance writer, you want to entrust it to someone who respects your vision, tone and message for the piece. An editor for hire may struggle to do this if he or she simply doesn’t understand you.
How Can You Ensure the Best Possible Relationship With Your Editor For Hire?
If you and your editor like each other, you shouldn’t have trouble building and maintaining a professional and beneficial working relationship together. However, as with any successful relationship, there has to be some give and take. Below are a few things you can do on your end to ensure both your and your editor’s satisfaction.
Know What Type of Editing You Need
There’s nothing more frustrating to editors for hire than clients who request proofreading, only to be irate that the editor did little more than correct spelling and grammar and tweak headers for consistency. On the other end of the spectrum are writers who throw a manuscript at an editor and say, “Work your magic,” and then get upset because the editor completely changed the piece. To preserve your relationship with the editor you hire, understand the types of editing services available and communicate what you expect the finished product to look like.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Communication is key to your happiness with your partnership with your editor. A professional editor cannot know what you want or expect if you don’t tell him or her these things. In addition to specifying the level of editing you want, make sure to discuss the following before handing over your work:
- Writing style (AP, MLA, APA, Chicago)
- Point of view
- Level of research
It’s perfectly acceptable (and even anticipated) for you to have expectations. Just be sure to communicate all of them to your editor.
If there is anything about the editor’s process that you don’t like (for example, maybe you want the editor to track changes going forward, or you prefer hyperlinks as opposed to in-text citations), let him or her know. Though there are bound to be issues you and your new partner will need to work out at the beginning of your relationship, if you keep the lines of communication open, you can develop a smooth process that works for both of you.
Trust the Process
The most important thing you can do to ensure a happy and ongoing relationship with a professional editor is to trust the process. Your copy editor for hire has likely gone through the process dozens, if not hundreds, of times before with clients whose works were probably very similar to yours. The editor also probably has the training and education to edit your piece until it is flawless. Once you hand over your piece, step back and let the professional work his or her magic.
Where Can You Find Editors for Hire?
We’re glad you asked. If you want a fresh pair of eyes to go over text before you hit “Publish,” we’ve got you covered. At BKA Content, we offer standalone editing services for just about every level of editing need. We also offer editing services in conjunction with our professional writing services. When you combine the two, we make sure our writers are familiar with your expectations before getting to work, thereby streamlining the content production process. Visit our Content Shop to browse our services and identify those that will best fit your needs and budget.