Finding and hiring a freelance editor can be a long and tedious process if you don’t know where to look or what to look for. To help you in this process, here are five steps you can take:
Step 1: Determine what type of freelance editor and services you need.
Step 2: Learn about places you can find qualified and experienced freelance editors.
Step 3: Know what to consider when looking at potential candidates.
Step 4: Use specific interview questions to make sure you have the right candidate.
Step 5: Hire a qualified, experienced, and trustworthy freelance editor.
Keep reading to learn more about each step in detail.
#1. Determine What Type of Freelance Editor and Services You Need
Before you hire a freelancer, you need to determine what type of editor you are looking for. The kind of copy you work with usually points you to the right type of editor. For example, are you a company looking to outsource editing for your blog articles, or are you a mystery novel author wanting to edit your first draft?
There’s an editor out there for every type of writing, and it’s important that you hire someone who is knowledgeable about and experienced with your specific copy.
Here are some questions to help determine what type of freelance editor you need:
- What type of copy do I have? For example, is it B2B, B2C, an advertisement, a website, social media, academic writing, or a genre-specific novel?
- What type of services do I need? Do I want editing, proofreading, formatting, fact-checking, or copywriting?
- Do I need an editor for a short-term or long-term project?
- Am I okay with a remote editor in another part of the world, or do I want someone from my city/country?
- How much am I willing to pay?
#2. Places You Can Find Qualified and Verified Freelance Editors
A Google search for “freelance editor” will yield a plethora of websites facilitating freelance work. It can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to find a qualified and experienced editor who suits your needs. Furthermore, it’s important to be aware of scams and fake websites or social media accounts that claim to offer editing services.
Thankfully, there are editing associations and societies around the world where you can post jobs to vetted and experienced editors. If you’re not willing to work with a remote editor, be sure to check out local chapters or societies in your city/country.
Editing associations and societies by country:
- Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) – UK
- The Society for Editing (ACES) – US
- The Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPEd) – Australia
- Indigenous Editors Association – Canada
You can also post on job boards or view profiles on reputable sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed. Exercise caution with freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr. While experienced and qualified editors use these platforms, there are far more scammers and editors who are unverified and unqualified, or who simply lack experience.
#3. Things to Consider While Searching for a Freelance Editor
In your search for a freelance editor, you’ll need to consider some things to make sure you find someone suitable, experienced, and trustworthy.
Check Their Website
Your first stop when you have identified a potential candidate is their website. The site should be professional, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. Additionally, it should clearly state what copy the editor works with as well as their services, pricing, and contact information. Sometimes freelancers choose not to list testimonials on their site. If so, you should contact them and ask for reviews or references.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- They don’t have a website.
- They have obvious typos or errors.
- They use strange wording.
- They don’t have clear pricing or rates.
- Their contact information does not match information on their other professional accounts.
- They cannot provide reviews or testimonials from previous clients.
Reviews, Reputation, and Testimonials
Always make sure to check reviews from previous clients the editor has worked with. As mentioned above, you can ask for testimonials if these are not showcased on the website. Be sure to consider how many reviews they have, how many are positive, and whether they have personally addressed any negative reviews on sites such as Trustpilot.
Qualifications and Experience
The qualifications and level of experience that stand out to you are going to depend on what you are looking for in a freelance editor. Are you okay with someone who has one or two years of experience? Or do you prefer someone with five or more years of experience to handle your specific type of copy?
It’s also important to consider the editor’s tertiary education and any other certifications they may have. Are you looking for someone who has a background in your industry or someone who knows only where to put a comma? Ultimately, the more experienced and qualified a freelance editor is, the higher their pricing and rates will be.
Look for a Range of Services
Most freelance editors will offer a range of services that are in demand in their industry. For example, a freelance book editor will typically offer developmental, line, and copy editing services. Know your industry-specific services and compare them to what a particular freelance editor offers. Doing so could also be helpful in the future if you need additional services, saving you from having to hire another freelancer.
Most freelance editors will offer a free trial or sample edit of their services. They may say so clearly on their website, or you could ask them directly. Use it as an opportunity to see the quality of their work and decide whether they are a good fit for you.
Where Are They From?
This is important for two reasons: time and English dialect differences. If you are in the United States and your editor is in Europe, then time differences may delay communication. Additionally, you want someone who can write in your English dialect. Experienced and qualified editors should be able to use different English dialects with ease (e.g., switching from American to British English). Be sure to discuss these points in an interview if you are considering remote candidates.
Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates, it’s time to start interviewing editors. Be thorough. Here are some questions to consider:
- Can you work with our style guide / creative brief / specific referencing system?
- How do you communicate with clients? For example, do you use email, the phone, or video conferencing?
- What are your rates / what is your pricing for _______ service(s)?
- Are you able to meet ______ deadline(s)?
- What English dialects are you comfortable with?
- What’s your editing process? For example, what types of documents do you work with?
- What type of payment do you expect? Do you prefer a credit card? Direct transfer?
- Are you available for short-term, long-term, or contract-based work?
- Do you expect to be paid up front, by deposit, or in installments?
Congratulations! You’ve hired a freelance editor to work with your team. While it’s not a short or easy process, the payoff for using a qualified and experienced freelance editor is worth your time, energy, and money. Having someone who can ensure high-quality and error-free copy is indispensable to the growth of any business.
Don’t want to go through the hassle of searching for, weeding out, and interviewing candidates? Then look no further. Proofed has over 750 editors who have helped Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, independent authors, and others produce high-quality, error-free writing. Be sure to schedule a call with us today for your editing, proofreading, and formatting needs.
Outsourcing editing services can be a headache. But we’ve narrowed down the steps and provided resources and tips to make it easier for you:
- Determine what type of freelance editor and services you need.
- Use job boards and editing associations and societies to find qualified and verified editors.
- Check prospective candidates’ websites, reviews, testimonials, qualifications, experience, services, sample edits, and geographic location.
- Conduct a thorough interview.
- Reap the rewards of having a qualified, experienced, and trustworthy freelance editor on your team.
Want to learn more about how to build an efficient editorial team? Read more here.