Midge Raymond's Blog

Ask Midge: Hiring an editor

Q: How do you know when you need an outside editor for your work, and what’s the best way to go about finding one? — K.S., San Diego

A: The first part of this question depends on several things: your goals as a writer, the shape your project’s in, and whether you have access to classes and/or writing colleagues. If you are able to participate in a writing class, fantastic — here, you will meet an instructor (who may also be an editor, or can probably help you find one), and you’ll also meet fellow writers with whom you can consider forming a writer’s group. Both instructors and fellow writers can help you determine where your work stands in terms of quality and readability; also, you may find that being part of a class and/or working with a group can be just as good as working with a professional editor, depending on your needs.

If, however, you know you want a professional editor — a good choice for writers who don’t have time for/access to classes or a writing group; for writers who are ready to submit manuscripts to agents, publishers, or contests and know they need help with polishing; or for writers who simply want to work with someone who has the experience and background of a pro — then below are a few things to consider.

So how to find an editor in the first place? Good places to start, as mentioned above, are classes, fellow writers, and writing organizations — always get a recommendation if you can. If you’re starting from scratch, try listings such as Poets & Writers classifieds for editors seeking clients. And if you don’t have a personal recommendation, here are a few things to be aware of:

Questions? Comments? Send them along.