There are many questions to answer before you hire an editor. Does the editor have experience in your field or genre? Is the editor’s technique compatible with your writing style? Can the editor meet your scheduling needs? In addition to those important questions (and many more), here are thirteen technology questions to ponder. Of course, some of these questions may not apply to your individual situation, but most of them should be considered before hiring a freelance copy editor or proofreader—because technology snafus can disrupt schedules and make everyone involved very cranky. Avoid cranky!
(The following questions are based on the assumption that your editor will work remotely from his or her own office.)
1. Will you communicate by email, phone, text, video messaging, or a combination of methods?
2. Are you and the editor comfortable responding to work-related communication outside of normal business hours? Or, do you prefer to limit communication to set hours on specific days?
3. What is the expected response time? A few minutes? A few hours? The next business day? Everyone has different communication habits, so there’s nothing wrong with asking about the other person’s typical response time so you know what to expect.
4. Do you need to make communication accommodations for time zone differences?
File Transfer Technology
5. Will you email files, share them on cloud storage, or ship them on physical storage (e.g., CD, thumb drive)? Or, will the editor be granted remote access to an in-house server?
6. Are there any security or technical issues that need to be addressed such as a password or approval from your IT department?
7. Do you or your organization have an established file-naming protocol to maintain version control?
8. Do you want your documents to be edited in Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Google Docs, or another program? Microsoft Word is the default in many organizations; however, Adobe Acrobat and Google Docs are gaining traction as editing platforms.
9. Does the editor have experience with that software?
10. Do you have experience finalizing edits in that software?
11. If you lack experience finalizing edits in that software, is the editor willing to provide basic instructions?
Invoicing and Payment Technology
12. Should the editor email PDF invoices, send physical invoices through the mail, or submit invoices through PayPal or an in-house portal?
13. Will you pay invoices through PayPal, credit cards, checks, money orders, or wire transfers?
Have you encountered other technology issues that have affected your writer–editor relationships? If so, please let me know in the comment section below. If you’re in the market to hire an editor, you may also want to hop over to my three-part series on hiring an editor, which begins with “How to Hire an Editor, Part 1.”