Trudy Graham

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An internet search for freelance editors will return over twenty-six million results so you will certainly find editors who will offer their services for reduced rates, but how do you choose one that is right for you?

You will want an editor who is a good fit for you, one you can work with and who will communicate well. It is perfectly acceptable to ask a potential editor for a sample edit of a page or two of your manuscript and they may do this for free, but most charge a small fee. In this way you will see if they have the skills to catch errors, improve word choices and maintain your voice.

Ask potential editors what they offer for what they charge so you can compare the costs but remember, sometimes it is worth paying more to get more.

An editor will charge by the hour, the project or by word; it all depends on the service they offer and the level of editing the writing requires – developmental and copyediting are often by the hour, proofreading by the word, and a manuscript evaluation may be a fixed rate on a scale to fit the length. The website of the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) lists the current Australian pay rates for professional editors and outlines what those pay rates represent.

Whoever you choose to edit your work, there are ways to potentially reduce those editing costs.

1. Format your manuscript. If you do not already know how to do this and are not prepared to pay someone to type the work for you, look at the MS 365 training centre for help. Or search the internet for useful tips on formatting a document.

2. Check the dialogue, including punctuation. Is it inside the quote marks? Have you kept the dialogue with the action? Have you resisted the urge to double space after a full stop? This last is a hangover from the old typewriter days. Stop doing that!

3. Buddy up with a fellow member of Women Writers Qld for reciprocal reading/critiquing and find beta readers to give you feedback from the point of view of a typical reader.

4. Self-edit and proofread your work multiple times before you send it to an editor.

A clean, well-formatted and rigorously self-edited manuscript will always bring a smile to your editor’s face, and they may charge you less the next time you use their services.