Are you on the fence about hiring an independent editor? Not sure you need one yet? Don’t want to jump the gun? Understandable, as it’s not an easy or inexpensive step in the process, so here are questions to ask yourself to help you decide:Bird by Bird

  • Have you edited and rewritten your manuscript until your eyes want to fall out of your head and you’re sick of the book?
  • Have you exhausted all of your beta reader options, from your cousin to your college roommate to your elementary school Language Arts teacher?
  • Have you joined a writing group and gotten critiques?
  • Have you taken a writing class or workshop?
  • Have you applied all of the writing/rewriting/editing advice out there (including mine)?
  • Have you read On Writing by Stephen King? Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg?
  • Do you want your book to find a wider readership and be read by people outside of your friends and family?
  • Do you want to pursue traditional publishing and try to get a literary agent?
  • Do you want to self-publish but want to be sure you self-publish a great book you can be proud of?

Some of these questions might sound self-serving, but if you are putting together a family history just for a handful of your immediate family, that doesn’t need an editor. If you haven’t read any books on writing and haven’t asked anyone to read your manuscript, you might need an editor, but you’re not there yet. If you answered YES to five or more of these, you can be pretty sure you are at a good place for hiring an editor where you won’t be wasting your time or money. If you’re at fewer than five, you still have some options before going to a professional editor, which will decrease the cost when you do get to that stage.

When you do get there, check out the videos in our Author Resource Center as Nicole has some tips for how to find the right editor and what the different types of editing are.