Over the past several weeks, we’ve discussed different types of services provided by freelance editors and how to find editors through Internet searches and professional organizations. Today, we’ll cover the final phases of the hiring process: interviewing an editor, discussing payment, and establishing a schedule.
Interviewing an Editor
Once you’ve narrowed down your search for an editor, contact the individual and ask for a phone or in-person meeting. Real conversation, as opposed to an email exchange, will help you get a feel for the editor’s personality and compatibility with your writing style. Here are a few introductory questions that you may want to ask during the meeting:
1. How long have you been a professional editor?
2. Do you have any formal training or certifications?
3. Have you worked on a project similar to mine?
The editor will also ask you a lot of questions. These questions may range from “Have you ever worked with an editor before?” to “What is your vision for this project?” and “Do you have a budget?” Of course, you shouldn’t answer any questions that make you uncomfortable; however, providing as much information as possible will help the editor to decide if he or she is a good fit for your needs.
At this point, the editor may also offer to perform a short sample edit. The sample will give the editor a better understanding of the project, and it will allow you to see his or her approach in action.
If you both agree to move forward, the next step is to talk about the money. Most editors will offer an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a fee range based on word count. A portion of that fee is generally paid in advance, with the remaining balance paid upon delivery of the completed document. Be sure to get all of these details in writing, along with other specifics such as the number of rounds of editing to be performed.
Establishing a Schedule
While you’re documenting the financial aspects of your arrangement, you should also document the editing schedule, including:
1. The date you will deliver the document to the editor
2. The date the edited document will be returned to you
3. The amount of time you will have to respond to the editor if he or she has questions or concerns about the content that may delay the editing process
4. The delivery dates for any additional rounds of editing
While you’re establishing the schedule, keep in mind that editing is as much an art form as it is a technical skill. As such, it takes time to achieve the best results.
Now that we’ve got all of those administrative duties out of the way, we can begin the actual task of editing. “How to Hire an Editor, Part 3: Tips for Working with Your Editor” shares five insider tips to make that process go as smoothing and productively as possible.
And if you missed them, don’t forget to check out “How to Hire an Editor, Part 1—Where to Find an Editor” and “A Quick Overview of Different Types of Editors.”