Do I Need to Hire a Professional Editor?

February 13, 2023

Four brown question marks. Photo by Leeloo Thefirst on
Question marks

Hey folks!

Here’s a question writers often ask:

“Do I need to hire a professional for each stage of editing?”

Here’s the thing.

It depends.

Let’s say you already have a book deal with a publishing house – your book is going to get each stage of editing done through the publisher, so you don’t need to worry about hiring someone else to do it.

But what if you’re looking for an agent; do you need to hire someone then? Possibly. If you’re a strong story creator and you get a critique partner to look at it, some alpha/beta readers, then you probably don’t need to hire a developmental editor. If you’re strong at self-editing for flow and errors, you might not need a copy editor or proofreader, either. However, if you feel you’re lacking skill in any of those areas, you might want to consider it. Perhaps at least a manuscript evaluation, so you have an idea of what you might need.

And finally, what if you’re self-publishing? Once again, it depends. What does it depend on? Mostly budget and skill. Remember that there are more expenses than just editing when it comes to self-publishing, so really determine where your money needs to go. For editing, I suggest, at the very least, that you get a proofreader – that way, your eyes aren’t the last ones (and possibly the only ones) to look at your text. Someone else is likely to catch errors that you’ve become too accustomed to to notice.

But what about developmental editing? Line/copy editing? Money-wise, take a look at your budget and ask if you can afford both. If you can’t, consider your skillset and whatever feedback you received from beta readers. If there’s an indication (or sometimes a gut feeling) that you need help in one area or the other, see if you can figure out how to work that into your budget. And get creative if you need to! Pick out the poems in your collection you feel least confident in, but do the rest yourself. Ask an editor to look at one element of the story and ignore the rest. By taking down the scope of what you need, you lower the cost.

If you have the skillset for developmental and line/copy editing, but your budget is large enough, consider hiring an editor. Editors can give a fresh perspective that you might not have gotten otherwise! Plus, if you’d find a sort of comfort in having an objective professional look over your work, we’ve got you covered.

And of course, if you know you don’t have the skillset and your budget can cover it, hiring an editor for all stages is probably your best call.

If you’re in the market for a poetry or picture book editor, check out my editing services and send me a message 🙂 I’d be happy to hear from you!

Published by Kaila Desjardins

Freelance editor, fiction writer, proud nerd.

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