Should I Hire a Freelance Editor For My Novel?


Freelance novel editors can do amazing things for your novel, but is hiring an editor right for you?

I get emails every week from potential clients asking whether I think they’re a good candidate for my novel editing services. In short, I believe that all writers would benefit from working with a freelance editor, even if just briefly, such as through my mentoring services.

But I also know that hiring a freelance editor is not always in the budget for aspiring writers. So here are the scenarios for the top candidates for editing services:

You’re Planning to Self Publish

If you’re planning to self publish your novel, you absolutely need to hire a freelance novel editor. Without a publishing company, it’s up to you to make sure your novel is at the caliber it needs to be before putting it up for sale.

At least once a month a self-published author contacts me in a panic. Their book is getting terrible reviews and they want to replace the current version with an edited version asap! While I’m more than happy to help these authors, it’s best to avoid this scenario in the first place!

Besides, edited self-published novels actually make more money than those that weren’t professionally edited! Win-win!

Something is Wrong With Your Novel But You Don’t Know What It Is

You’ve looked at your novel – over and over and over – but you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it. You know it’s not right, that something just feels “off,” but you can’t put your finger on what it is.

Rather than beating your head against a wall for weeks, months, or even years trying to understand what you’re doing wrong, a competent freelance editor can help you straighten out the novel’s issues in no time.

When clients come back to me absolutely delighted, saying, “That makes perfect sense! I totally get it now!” I know they’re on the road to success, and it’s a great feeling for both of us!

Agents & Publishers Are Rejecting You

If you’re submitting to agents or publishers, but you just keep getting rejection after rejection, you’re a great candidate for freelance editing services. 

Sometimes it’s just something small that’s holding you back – an opening that doesn’t evoke the right feel or something a bit taboo for your genre. A competent freelance editor can identify why agents and publishers aren’t biting and help transform your novel into something agents and publishers are clamoring for.

You Want to Get Better Faster

Working with a freelance editor, especially through mentoring services, is a great way to become a better writer faster. It takes years to learn the craft of writing and even then, it seems like there’s always more to learn! A competent editor has done all that learning already and can explain the concepts, rules, and tools in a way that’s approachable and easy to apply to your own novel.

Ready to hire an editor? Check out my editing services and mentoring. Feel free to email with questions, concerns, or for more information.

5 thoughts on “Should I Hire a Freelance Editor For My Novel?

  1. Kylie Betzner says:

    This is a great article! I don’t know where I would be without my freelance editor. The only problem is it’s so expensive, but I think the benefits out way the costs in the long run.

  2. cassandracharles says:

    What are your thoughts on beta readers? Are they necessary if you decide to get a developmental/line edit?
    I once read somewhere that an author used both beta readers and her agent/editor to look at her manuscript. They both had different ideas on what she should do. Obviously, she went with her agent, but she wasted a lot of time first making the changes the beta reader wanted only to have to change it to something different after her agent had edited it.

    • Ellen_Brock says:

      Beta readers are a great idea in theory, and some writers have fantastic beta readers that really do wonders for their books, but the problem with beta readers (or even paid “editors” who are really just charging for a beta read) is that bad advice can be worse than good advice.

      Like in your example, it’s a waste of time and energy to make unnecessary changes to a book.

      If you do use a beta reader, focus on the emotions behind what they’re saying – not their “solutions.” For example, if a reader says they didn’t feel close to the character – that could be great information! But they may recommend that you make the character “more likeable” when the real issue is that you need to decrease your narrative distance.

      So take the emotion/feeling/impression behind their comments, not the solutions.

      It’s also a good idea to have at least three beta readers and only seriously consider the comments that are the same between all three (or more).

      But also keep in mind that beta readers are not trained to look past their own opinion of a book to see how it fits into its genre or niche. So even their feelings/impressions could be irrelevant.

      So use them if you want to, but use caution when following their advice.

  3. arranbhansal says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I used the Writer’s Workshop when I became stuck. The professional editor assigned to me was brilliant and made me realise where I was going wrong.

  4. gpeynon says:

    My first book is due back from an editor in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait. The sample edit he did for me (amongst many others) was a revelation, so I can only imagine what he’ll do with my full manuscript. It was also interesting to see the numerous different styles of editors out there and how vital it is that multiple samples are obtained before making a final choice.

    Nice post, thanks.

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