When to seek an editor for your writing? This is my personal opinion. But would say whenever I am at a point revising, where I feel like I’m going in circles. In other words when I feel like I’m making changes but have no idea if they are actually making my writing better.
I will even put the story aside for weeks, then look at it again. It helps, but it’s not the same as an unbiased reader. Certainly family or friends can recommend improvements or even their insight, but they are not editors.
However, I believe it’s counterproductive to hire an editor too soon. I look whenever I can no longer make improvements. Then I search online for three to four freelance editors. The best way for me to decide is find ones that offer X amount of pages of a free edit. When I did this with three services I got a range from my story was nearly perfect, to it needs some work, to it needs a major overhaul.
Guess which one I picked? Well, after getting over the criticism, I followed the advice of the harshest one. It was not easy. I pouted, grumbled, and eventually saw that they were right. It might not always be the toughest editor that fits what you want. It’s not about being mean. It’s about making the story better.
Writers’ critiques are also a good time investment. These can be found online, writing courses, or your local library. Many are free. They only request you to review other writers honestly without being demeaning. And it’s always polite to offer positive information along with the constructive criticism.
Remember that. If an editor, family member, or even a friend says hurtful things about your writing, it doesn’t mean that they are correct. Take whatever is said and really think about it. Ask yourself ‘Would this information help my story/writing?’ ‘Is there a hidden agenda from this person?’ ‘Does it make sense with everything that I know and/or have read?’
For example, it’s not wise to answer all of the readers’ questions upfront, but to open with the action and weave in answers throughout the story. If there’s lots of back story, it drags. Think of authors whom you love to read. How do they handle this?
Finally keep in mind that editors are human. They are excellent at what they do. Look for ones who help your writing and your story improve. When working with a publisher’s editor, take time to think about their suggestions. Don’t get upset. Do the easy changes first. Save the ones that made you cringe for a few days later when the open sore is not bleeding as much. Try and see the difficult changes from the point of the editor-and even more so-the point of the reader.
And Good Luck.
Andrea R. Cooper