As the amount of content both online and offline seems to grow by leaps and bounds every year, those working as a freelance editor have increased to support this. There’s a good reason for this: people know that hiring an editor is the way to go if you want quality, polished work that will stand out and get noticed.
But though there may be a lot of freelance editors out there, there are some characteristics that you should be looking for, and some that you should definitely avoid, when hiring one for their editing services.
GOOD CHARACTERISTIC: Shares Your Vision
Choosing an editor to work with is about forming a partnership with someone who understands the goals behind your work and the message that you’re trying to get out to the right audience. They’ll put their all into making sure that the vision that you have is properly portrayed through your content in a sophisticated and eloquent way.
BAD CHARACTERISTIC: Bullies You into Ideas
While it’s good to offer suggestions, some editors seem to want to turn your work into theirs. Rather than working within your framework, they’ll try to impose their opinion on what they “think” is best upon your work time and time again, despite you clearly stating that their vision just isn’t jiving with yours.
GOOD CHARACTERISTIC: Fully Explains His or Her Editing Suggestions
Having someone critique your work can be a bit of a blow to the ego, so you need to make sure that you choose a freelance editor who’s willing to explain exactly why they’re suggesting that you make any changes. It may be because it’ll flow better, or that a certain topic is really a tangent and steers your readership off course, but either way, they should be able to give an explanation you can trust.
BAD CHARACTERISTIC: Has No Suggestions for Improvement
Before you hire any freelance editor, it’s important that consider carefully what they do, and what sort of suggestions they’ll be making. For example, many who work as a copy editor are in the business of only performing stylistic, mechanical, or line editing. In that case, you should expect them to be able to make some suggestions about your work based on that criteria. Some copy editors go beyond that and look at things like consistency and flow. Know who you’re hiring and what you should expect from them before going ahead.
GOOD CHARACTERISTIC: Meets Deadlines
Freelance editing has gotten a bit of a bad rap since some editors don’t really stick to any strict deadlines. Sure, situations arise that can delay work, but if they continue to arise and your work is continually unfinished, then it’s time to move on. Either check out reviews left by past clients or contact them to make sure that the editor you’re choosing is going to abide by his or her word and have your work finished on time.
BAD CHARACTERISTIC: Is Disorganized
Being a freelance editor is a rewarding job, but it’s one that definitely takes some level of organizational skills. It’s easy for anyone performing freelance work to pile on too much work and fall behind. Ask the editor you’re hiring what they do to make sure that they stay on track so you’ll know that your work will be handled within your agreed upon timeframe.
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