What to Look Out for Before You Get a Freelance Developmental Editor

What to Look Out for before You Get a Freelance Developmental Editor

If you are a writer, there is a chance that at some point you need to hire a developmental editor. This is because a freelance developmental editor can assist you improve your manuscript by identifying errors and assisting you make your writing concise and clear. They can do this by rewriting sentences, proofreading, or reorganizing paragraphs to enhance flow and clarity. Some editors can also offer feedback on style, content, and tone.

Remember that developmental editing can happen at any point in the writing process, but it’s a good idea to do it early during the writing process. This can give you more time to revise without any need of making major changes in the future. The only problem is that it can be hard to choose a good developmental editor. This article discusses what to look out for before you get a freelance editor.

Experience and Availability

One of the key things when it comes to searching for an ideal freelance developmental editor is their experience. You need to find out how long the potential editor has been editing and the type of writing they have edited. Also, you should check the type of feedback the editor usually gives.

Besides, a good developmental editor needs to have experience in the type of writing you want help with. For example, a nonfiction author has to get a developmental editor with experience editing nonfiction books. Likewise, if you are a fiction writer, then you have to get a developmental editor with experience editing fiction.

Also, you need to find out from a developmental editor if they give you their feedback style. You can find some developmental editors that give detailed feedback while others just mark the mistakes and leave it up to you to fix them. Some developmental editors can also provide feedback on tone, style, and content. Ideally, you need to find a developmental editor whose feedback style you prefer.

You should also note that developmental editing can be a time-consuming process. Therefore, if you decide to work with a demanding developmental editor, then it can take them a couple of weeks or months before they can be available to handle your project. As a result, this can slow down your writing process and can stress you. This is the reason why it’s crucial to check the availability of the potential developmental editor before you decide to hire them.

One of the ways you can check the availability of the potential editor is to ask them how many projects they can handle at any point or how long they usually take to complete a project. Also, it’s a good idea to find a freelance developmental editor instead of an editor who is attached to a publishing company. A freelance developmental editor tends to be more flexible and may complete a project faster than other editors.

Check their References and Reviews

Regardless of the type of editor you decide to hire, you should always make sure that you check their references and reviews. The best way you can do this is by asking the potential editors for lists of customers they have dealt with in the past. After you do this, you can then contact these customers directly to get feedback on the work of the developmental editor. It’s usually a red flag if the potential editor refuses to provide you with this list of references.

Alternatively, you can also get a sense of the quality of work of the editor by checking their reviews online. There are various sites that provide these reviews. But you need to make sure that you read both positive and negative reviews so that you can have a good idea of what the developmental editor is like. Also, when reading these reviews and comments from their previous customers, make sure that you are careful because not all people can be objective. If the editor’s reviews are almost all negative, then you should consider moving to another candidate.

A Sample Edit

If you can’t decide on the right developmental editor, or if you only want to make sure that the potential editor is a good match, then you should ask them for a sample edit. A sample edit is when the potential editor can edit a minor part of your manuscript. After editing, the editor can send it back to you with suggestions and comments. This can be the best way you can know the style of the editor and how they may assist you with the project.

Further, if you have a particular concern or issue with your manuscript, then you can request the developmental editor to concentrate on it during the sample edit. For example, if the plot is your major concern, you can ask the developmental editor to comment on the plot structure and how to improve it.

But not all developmental editors provide a sample edit, so make sure to ask them the onset to see if they give this offer. If an editor doesn’t provide a sample edit, then you need to ensure that you know what you need them to focus on. And, if you are not pleased with the work of the developmental editor, then you just need to hire them to handle your project. 

Payment Options

You need to know that it can be expensive to work with a developmental editor, though there are several ways you can offset this cost. Most developmental editors usually charge by the hour and others charge a project fee. Therefore, you need to ensure that you understand the fees of the developmental editors and the extra costs you can incur.

You also need to discuss the payment process with the developmental editor. You can ask them if they need a deposit and the best way you can pay the rest of the money. It’s also a good idea to discuss with your developmental editor about the cancellation policy. You can find some editors who want a notice period before canceling an appointment and others may charge a certain fee for late cancellations.

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