How to Hire a Freelance Editor: Step 3

If you’re shy about your writing, making contact with a freelance editor may have you tongue-tied. What do you say? What don’t you say? Could you really be rejected? In step 3 of this five-part series, How to Hire a Freelance Editor in 5 Easy Steps, I offer some best practices so you can come off as if you know what you’re doing.

Step 3: Call or send an e-mail to your potential editor.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but believe me, knowing how to initiate a business relationship is not intuitive for everyone. You may be overeager and want to share too much, or you may try to keep your e-mail to 140 characters, in which case you’ll be getting a lot of follow-up questions or no response at all. But once again, it’s not so hard when you know what you’re doing.

Step 1: Gather the names of editors you think you want to work with got you the contact information, and Step 2: Research your potential editor gave you some of the basic qualifications to look for. Most likely, however, you weren’t able to find the answers to all your questions online, and you want to get a sense of this editor’s personality before you make any commitments. You have to make contact.

Whether you e-mail or call, provide the following information:

  • The working title of your book
  • The genre and topic of your book
  • The approximate word count
  • Some idea of the level of editing you want
  • Tentative scheduling information if you have any
  • A little bit about yourself

If you’re calling, you can also use this time to get the answers you couldn’t find online. If you’re e-mailing, you may want to schedule a phone call to get those answers.

Also keep in mind these best practices:

  • Don’t send a mass e-mail. Everyone wants to feel special, even editors.
  • An editor is not an agent, so you do not need to include marketing information or a full proposal.
  • A full bio is also not necessary. Just give enough info so that your editor doesn’t think this is a scam.
  • Be realistic about your scheduling needs. “I need it tomorrow” will get a chuckle, not a commitment.
  • As with all business communications, be polite.

And that’s it! Now, if you’re starting to like this editor and he or she seems open to your project, you’re ready to move on to Step 4: Ask for a sample edit, cost estimate, and scheduling information. 

Skip to:

Step 1: Gather the names of editors you think you want to work with.

Step 2: Research your potential editor.

Step 4: Ask for a sample edit, cost estimate, and scheduling information.

Step 5: Evaluate what you have learned, then add the crucial element of personality to decide if this is the right editor for you.

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