In order to hire an editor who will be worth your time and money, you need to figure out what you are hiring an editor to do. There are many types of editing out there and some may be wonderful editors and still not the right fit for you. Here are some important questions to ask yourself before looking for an editor.
What genre is my manuscript?
Knowing your genre is key to finding the right editor. Just as authors specialize, so do editors. The style of writing in a horror novel and a romance novel are going to be very different. The pacing in a coming- of- age story and a thriller are going to be night and day. You'll want an editor who will make suggestions that are right for your genre.
What age range is it for?
Not all editors are familiar with all age ranges. Game of Thrones and Harry Potter are both fantasy, but the readers were going to expect very different things from those books. Make sure to use an editor who understands the intended audience of your book.
What publishing method are you interested in?
This can be useful for an editor to know, but it is also very important to help you decide what kind of editing to get and how much to pay for them. Are you interested in traditional publishing or self-publishing? Are you going to be submitting to an agent or a small press? Will you be doing print, ebook, or both formats? All of these choices will affect the best path for your book.
What concerns do you have about your manuscript?
Different editors will have different styles, just as different writers do. Some developmental editors will focus a lot on pacing and others are more interested in character arcs. If you know what you want an editor to look for, you can find an editor whose goals align with yours.
What type of editing are you looking for?
I have a post with some basic definitions of the typical types of editing, but these won't be universal. They're just a starting place. Make sure to consider your concerns for the manuscript and move from big picture to small for the best use of your time and money.
Next up, I'll talk about using this information to find an editor who is the right fit for you and your manuscript.
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.