top of page
  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

Before you hire an independent editor

Chipmunk Sentinel by McGuinn

Understand levels of edit

Before you hire an independent editor, know what kind of editor you need. A first draft is not ready for a copy edit.

First consult with a developmental editor who will look at things like structure, flow, and continuity. You may decide to do revisions that would need copy editing again. Why pay for that twice?

Choosing an editor

Once you know what type of editing you need, ask for credentials, examples, and references. Most online websites where you can get creatives cheap do little or no vetting – that’s up to you. A short free example should be offered – look at it, see if it’s what you want and expect for your money. Check The Alliance of Independent Authors watchdog list rating - it won't have every editor listed, but you can avoid any that have been red-flagged.

Before You hire an independent editor:What can you do yourself?

Why pay an editor to do things you can do yourself?

list terms that might slow an edit

This includes foreign language phrases, words requiring an accent, unusual names, terms specific to the topic, etc.

check research sources & quotes

Make a citation list that includes author, title, publisher (and their location), publication date, page numbers used overall in your research and specific pages for any direct quotes. Do this even if it's "just" a quote used in fiction, even if it's a picture book. You need to give credit, whether it's formal footnotes or a bibliography or a note on the copyright page.

While you're making that list, make sure direct quotes are accurate and clearly shown as such - and that you have avoided careless rewording of large tracts of text (aka plagiarizing).


You can’t legally just clip and paste from the internet. For every image, list the source, documentation that you've gotten written permission to use it in your book, and how to give credit for it the way the source requires.

While you're going through your images, make sure you've used "insert" to put images on the page. Cut and paste can become an issue later.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page