The Editorial Shopping List

So you’re shopping for an editor. How do you know which one would be the best fit for you?

Here are some important things I considered when I was in the hunt. If you find only one point that you haven’t thought of, I’ll consider this post worthwhile.

1) Ask for a free sample edit: Send 750 – 1,000 words for them to work on at no cost. This way you’ll not only get a first-hand look at their editorial style but you’ll also see if they share your vision.

2) Ask for references: Don’t be that stereotypical shy writer who’s too intimidated to request an editor’s references. Do yourself a favour and ask. I think you’ll find that most people will be honest and unbiased with their opinions. Unless, of course, you’re asking the editor’s mother.

3) Check their cost flexibility: A fair editor will charge you either the actual number of billable hours worked or a flat rate (hourly rate multiplied by estimated billable hours for completion), whichever is less. This way you can both budget accordingly.

4) Get an itemized list of services: How many rounds of developmental and/or line edits will your editor agree to do within your budget? Can they also include a final proofread?

5) Is an Instalment Plan available? This is always a must for writers!

6) Ask to see an agreement beforehand: Usually these agreements are pretty simple in nature but it pays to make sure you’re both protected before any commitments are made.

7) Support: A good editor should be available to answer questions or address concerns during the process. A great editor would still be willing to offer feedback even after the job is complete (within a reasonable time frame).

8) Add-ons: Will your editor also include a synopsis, back cover copy, or other services if you come in under budget after the edits are complete?

Simple stuff, right? Editors need writers as much as writers need editors so, like with any partnership, choose wisely. And if you think I missed any important points, please list them in the comments box.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at


Author: Richard S. Todd

Pro copywriter. Expressive voice artist. Award-winning public speaker.

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