I'm clearly not a very good business woman, but I'll start by saying, YOU USUALLY DON'T. If you are improving, learning craft and have good critique buddies you're probably in a good place. But sometimes we need an extra little push. Here are some situations where you may want to seek a professional editor or editorial service:
- If you plan on self-publishing.
- If you've gone as far as you can go with your critique group, have queried agents, and haven't had any requests.
- If you have trouble finding a good critique group (they don't grow on trees unfortunately) and need another set of eyes.
So how do you find the right person?
- Recommendations from people you trust.
- Someone who has experience in the area you're seeking help with. For example, if you want a grammar check? Count me out. I'm serious. But if you need your opening looked at? I'm your girl (First Five Pages Workshop).
- Make sure you're comfortable paying for it. There are some amazing people out there that I know I just can't afford. I'm lucky though, I have a publisher and wonderful beta/critique partners. If I didn't and I was serious, I'd really have to consider what I was willing to put out to get the right person.
- Make sure you know what you want help with. Do you want a look at overall structure? Line edits? Just the first few pages or the whole manuscript?
No one should have to pay money to be a writer. But there are situations where investing in your own work is a good idea. Never let anyone pressure you. Be sure you feel good about using the person and working with her.
Have you used an editor for hire? How did it go?