Friday Tip: Choosing Your Editor(s), Part II
Updated: Sep 13
After an editor passes your vibe check (see last week's #FridayTip on that!), there are several other questions you’ll want to discuss before you choose who will be working on your manuscript.
Here are a few things to ask when finding the right editor:
✨ What is your rate? ✨
Honestly, knowing whether or not the editor is in your price range is one piece that you’ll want to find out even before you do your vibe check. Rates are sometimes available on an editor’s website, but not always. Ask for a base cost/estimate if you’re not sure. (A proper quote will come later.)
NOTE: The Editorial Freelancer’s Association has a list of median rates per genre/type of editing to help authors gauge an editor’s quote. Be aware that this is from 2019 so costs have likely gone up slightly.
✨ What is your pay schedule? ✨
While some established, big names may require the full payment before they start, most editors will break down their fees into a pay schedule. This may be a 50% retainer with balance paid upon completion, 33% to start, 33% when midway through, and balance upon completion, etc.
✨ What is your availability? ✨
Some editors book out MONTHS ahead. If you have a particular editor in mind, reach out sooner rather than later to get on their schedule.
✨ Do you offer a rush option? ✨
This is only important if you’re on a deadline. Some editors do offer a rush option, some don’t. If they do, expect to pay $$$ for the night and weekend hours they'll have to spend away from their friends and family to get the job done. (Another reason to plan ahead!)
✨ Do you provide a sample edit/quote? ✨
Most editors will provide a sample edit, all will provide a quote. Sample edits may be complimentary, but it’s becoming more common to charge a small fee for the sample, the cost of which is then knocked off your total balance if you decide to book the editor.
✨ How long will it take you to provide edits? ✨
As stated before, editors sometimes book out months in advance. They’ll provide a project start date and, depending on the length of your manuscript and the level of editing, will provide an estimated time to complete the work after that date.
✨ Do you include a feedback call? Additional passes? ✨
All editors work differently. Some build the cost of feedback calls and additional passes into their base rates, some offer these as add-ons. As with the sample edit, there’s no right or wrong way. Just know what you’re getting upfront.
✨ What are the next steps? ✨
Likely there will be a sample edit, quote, contract, retainer fee, and the scheduling of your start date. The editor will also tell you when you need to deliver your completed manuscript to them to start on time. Know what to expect to keep your own anxiety down.
Are there other questions you would suggest authors ask an editor before working with them?
Share in the comments!