Hire the Right Freelance Editor by Following These Tips

As someone who has worked on both ends of the spectrum, I’ve learned several tips on how to hire the right freelance editor. This decision will be different for everyone. Not all editors are the same and different genre books will require a different type of editor.

Decide if you Really Need an Editor

Have you written a book that’s going to be published on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or some other major platform? If so, then you definitely need an editor. When publishing a book, it must be perfect. The truth is that a writer cannot efficiently edit their own book. They are too close to it. A fresh perspective is necessary to provide the right insight.

With that said, if you’re writing blog posts or eBooks that are planned giveaways, then editing is not a requirement. Editors can improve those types of works, but writers are able to edit them well enough to accomplish their goals.

When to Hire an Editor

There are several phases of editing that we’re going to discuss later in this post. But for now, it’s important that you understand exactly when you need to start planning to hire an editor.

  • Perform one edit yourself to take care of major rewrites before you send it to an editor. This will save you a lot of time and money.
  • Do not expect copyediting on the first pass. This is a waste of money. The first editing pass will require so many rewrites that any copyediting done will have to be redone.
  • Some editors will include several passes in their packages that can render the items I mentioned irrelevant. Communication is key!

How Much Does it Cost to Hire the Right Freelance Editor?

This varies greatly. Some editors will charge by the hour while others charge by page/word count. For a full length novel, you can expect to pay around $1,000. Some editors charge up to $6,000. It really just depends.

Cost is also affected by the type of editing required. Full developmental editing is going to be more expensive than copyediting. But make sure you’re asking for the right type of editing. Don’t expect someone being hired as a copyeditor to pay attention to the development of your book. They are just going to do the copyediting.

That brings us to the next one.

What to Expect from a Book Editor

Now we can get into the different types of editing that authors need to understand. The single biggest mistake I see on freelancing sites from inexperienced writers is that they don’t understand the types of editing. Almost every post is “copyediting” when in reality what they need is far deeper than that.

Developmental Editing

This is the first edit that will always be done to a book and is one that requires at least two passes, sometimes more. I highly recommend that authors do the first developmental editing pass themselves. This saves a lot of money because they will be able to spot a lot of developmental edits on their own. Then let an editor take over. When properly set up, one editor can be hired to make two passes of the book – one for developmental editing and one for copyediting.

Line Editing

Line editors go line-by-line and ensure consistency in tense, tone, and clarity. Line editors usually handle developmental edits as well. However, line editing itself does not pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The reason is because it’s impossible to keep track of all that stuff in one edit. If an editor takes on too many edits at once, they will miss stuff. That’s why a book usually has at least four full editing passes – two from editors and two from the author.


This is the type of edit that will deal with grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Copyediting and proofreading are used interchangeably but they describe the same thing, the difference being that proofreading is a lighter form of copyediting. Books require at least two copyediting passes – one from the editor and one from the author.

Editors Will Not Rewrite a Book!

The final thought that must stick is that editors are not going to rewrite the book. Editors will simply point out what’s wrong and leave comments. It’s up to the author to handle any major rewrites. Editors will make corrections to grammar and typos though. Just don’t expect them to rewrite paragraphs because they won’t, unless they specifically state otherwise.