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15 Tips for Working With a Freelance Editor | INPress International

15 Tips for Working With a Freelance Editor | INPress International
15 Tips for Working With a Freelance Editor | INPress International

Whether you're self-publishing your debut novel or non-fiction book, working with a freelance editor is highly recommended to polish your manuscript before launching. However, effectively collaborating with an editor remotely takes planning and open communication on both sides. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore 15 actionable tips for finding, hiring and working productively with a freelance editor.

1. Define your editing needs clearly

Be specific about whether you need developmental, copyediting or proofreading help. Clarify the scope of work upfront to ensure a freelancer can deliver as needed. Know whether they specialize in fiction, non-fiction or a genre like memoir. Aligning expectations prevents misunderstandings down the line.

2. Research editing qualifications and specialties

Check a prospective editor's website, client testimonials and samples of prior work. Do their edited books and experience match your project's subject/style? Look for credentials like university editing degrees, professional memberships or bestselling author experience. Experience matters most for complex developmental editing.

3. Get estimates from multiple editors

Rates vary substantially depending on experience level and project scope. Request fixed estimates or hourly rates from several editors so you can compare packages. Watch out for overtime charges or unexpected additional costs hidden in policies. Negotiate payment schedules that work for both parties too.

4. Schedule a consultation call

Speak directly to evaluate communication fit and address any lingering questions. Discuss turnaround times realistically based on their current workload too. Ask how they structure feedback, stay on deadline or handle mid-project scope changes. Good rapport is important for collaboration.

5. Have an editing contract or agreement

Spell out payment details, expected deliverables/timeline, scope of revisions permitted within your fee, intellectual property ownership and other policies in writing. Request a sample edit to ensure proper care will be taken. Protects interests on both sides legally and professionally.

6. Provide thorough instructions to your editor

Supply style guides and ensure they understand nuances of format, industry terms, or overall vision if self-publishing. Note any additional proofreader expectations clearly. Dropbox, Google Drive or other transfer methods for delivering manuscript back and forth smoothly. Communicate contact preferences too.

7. Be available to answer editor questions efficiently

Unclear areas always arise despite instructions - collaborate openly and promptly to solve issues. Editors are mind readers so give feedback as needed to progress editing smoothly. You hired the professional, so listen to their recommendations seriously too about improving style consistency or plot weaknesses.

8. Review edits in a structured way

Block out distraction-free time and systematically go through track changes using the editor's commentary as a guide. Don't skim or take editing for granted. Consider all suggestions thoughtfully and don't hesitate to discuss points needing clarification civilly.

9. Make timely editorial decisions

Respond to inquiries, implement changes or provide rationale for rejecting suggestions within a few days per your timeline agreement. Editors juggle many projects so keeping momentum ensures them finishing yours efficiently too. Be easy to reach by your preferred method when they circle back with follow-up queries too.

10. Manage expectations if additional editing rounds are needed

Realistically scope major vs minor edits based on time/budget. You may need to prioritize certain portions or decide on copyediting alone for now depending on depth of changes needed. Communicate any additional rounds, timeline extensions or estimated new costs professionally in advance.

11. Express gratitude and provide honest feedback

Positive feedback and a heartfelt thank you note mean everything to freelancers. Rating them highly online/to colleagues also boosts future biz. Offer candid commentary on their performance too so they can continue growing skills benefiting all clients. Aim to build rapport for potential future collaborations down the line.

12. Respect deadlines and provide prompt payment

Unreturned manuscripts, missed communication or late payment chip away at an editor's trust and willingness to work efficiently. Value their time by following through responsibly on your commitments too. Consider small author perks like proof copies, ARCs or a book mention when mutually beneficial.

13. Promote your newly edited book

Tag editors in relevant social media posts and give them a special preview. It boosts their profile if seen contributing professionally to successful author projects. Ask them for testimonials too to strengthen your online presence and credibility landing future projects. A collaborative relationship achieves lasting benefit for both parties.

14. Address disputes professionally

Bring any unresolved issues to their attention respectfully per contract terms at first before escalating elsewhere. Mediation or arbitration usually provide better outcomes than court. Maintain healthy working partnership through open yet polite discourse even amid challenges.

15. Pay it forward by referring new work their way

Word-of-mouth remains editors' top traffic source. Introduce promising new clients capable of fully leveraging their expertise. Provide meaningful feedback or references if entering editor job boards/directories yourself too. Cultivate goodwill throughout the industry by paying respects to all creative professionals.

In summary, bringing the right freelance editor onboard takes due diligence but yields tremendous results when partnering respectfully. Follow these tips to maximize your odds of a successful collaboration culminating in a beautifully polished final product you'll feel proud to publish. Nurturing professional relationships across the industry lays the groundwork for future creative successes too.


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