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Can Freelance Editors be Right for Authors with Traditional Publishing Goals?

Some people will tell you not to pay for an editor if you plan to traditionally publish; after all, the publisher will hire editors to make the changes they want. But that only happens after your book is signed. And getting signed is not always an easy process. So you may find an editor helpful to get your book ready for submission to agents and publishers.


Here are the factors I recommend considering before hiring an editor on a manuscript slated for submission:


Are you going to be submitting to an agent or a small press?

Small presses tend to be less picky on their acquisitions and they usually offer less money to authors. If you are considering a small press, you may not want to spend time and money on your own editor(s).


Are you within the right range for the word count?

Agents and editors will reject a manuscript for word count alone, so missing this important checkbox may severely hinder your publishing chances. If you are unable to reach that word count on your own, a freelance editor may be able to help.


What type of editing does your manuscript need?

For authors planning on traditional publishing, I don't recommend paying for copy editing. Agents and editors don't expect manuscripts to be cleaner than spell check and a beta reader can handle. So don't bother paying for copyediting unless you plan to self-publish.


However, you may find yourself benefiting from working with a developmental editor and maybe a substantive editor. Depending on what kind of editing you are looking into, there are slightly different factors.


If you are considering a developmental editor, you will want to do so before considering a substantive editor. Here are some considerations for hiring a freelance developmental editor before traditionally publishing your manuscript.


If you have completed your developmental edits, whether on your own or with a freelance editor, and are now considering hiring a substantive editor, here are some considerations you will want to be aware of.



If you budget allows for it, and you believe that your manuscript could be improved to better catch an agent or editor's attention, a freelance editor can be a useful tool to prepare your manuscript for submission. If you do want to find an editor now, check out my post about choosing an editor. And if you haven't already, make sure to read my post about getting ready for an editor so you can get the best use out of your money.


If answering these questions led you to decide you don't want to hire an editor, you may want to check out my blog posts on submitting and querying. Good luck!





About my coauthor:

Elestrei Engrei was a huge help at providing the author perspective for this post.







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