Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

November 18, 2008

Hiring an Editor

Filed under: Edit Your Work — roundtablewriting @ 9:03 pm

Many writers are looking for editors and manuscript consultants to cast an eye over their manuscript before it’s submitted to publishers; some writers need an editor’s help to pull the manuscript into shape; or proof-reading for a final check. It may seem expensive but it is well worth the investment, if it means that your manuscript is prepared for a publisher. The Society of Editors NSW Inc. is a good place to start. They have a website at:

Society of Editors NSW

Society of Editors NSW Directory

Here you can research their Directory of Editors; check current fees for editing work; and find out more information about Hiring an Editor.

Why would you hire an editor? Many publishers will only read manuscripts which have been edited by a reputable editor or have been recommended by an agent. A manuscript that has been through a professional editing process can save a publisher a lot of time and money and will enhance the chances of publication.

How do you approach a freelance editor? Usually through an association or organisation, many have websites or are listed in the telephone book or in The Writers’ Marketplace and similar writers’ directories.

Where can you find a freelance editor? You can find information and details about freelance editors experienced in various genres from the websites of the Australian Society of Authors; Institute of Professional Editors Ltd; and The Society of Editors NSW Directory (or the Society of Editors in the State where you live). It’s best to choose an editor who is a member of a bona fide organisation which screens and selects editors, to make sure they are experienced and accredited, rather than simply googling or responding to an advertisement.

For editors, the Society of Editors NSW Inc. is a very worthwhile society to join. They email regular notices from people, groups, departments, institutions and corporations who want to hire an editor. They provide courses in editing, including a course to prepare for the editors’ accreditation exam.

(Disclosure: I’m a professional member of the Society of Editors NSW).

Today’s Writing Tip

Practise editing your story, article or essay by cutting them by one-third, take out every unnecessary word. Read your work aloud and listen to the rhythm of the prose, take note of words and phrases that jar or don’t flow naturally and easily. Look especially for any of the ‘Words that we can’t stand’ – repetition, redundancies, tautology, clichés, overstatement and grammatical errors. Ask someone you know and trust to read carefully and respond honestly to your writing. It’s surprising how often a second pair of eyes can pick up errors that the writer has missed; or perhaps not surprising given how closely a writer is involved with their writing. Before you send your manuscript off to a publisher, make sure it is well edited. A well edited manuscript shows a publisher that you are professional and it also saves them time and money. A well edited manuscript can mean the difference between having your manuscript taken seriously and having it left on the ‘slush’ pile. You can begin by cutting this paragraph by one-third and then begin on your own writing.



  1. An additional place to look for an editor is in the directory of the Editorial Freelancers Association, of which I am a member.

    Comment by Katharine — November 18, 2008 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks, Katharine for your link. The more resources for writers the better – does your association cater for Aussie writers as well? It’s nice to meet another editor – are you in New York?


    Comment by roundtablewriting — November 18, 2008 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  3. You’re welcome, Sharon. The Editorial Freelancers Association has members all over the world, although most of them are in the United States. But I’ll bet that we have plenty of members who would be happy to work with Aussie writers, especially in the age of the Internet. Yes, I’m in New York State, and I have clients from many different countries, especially in China, South Korea, and Japan.

    Comment by Katharine — November 18, 2008 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

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