7 Tips for Hiring a Grammar Editor
Writing isn’t easy. If you’re a writer, you already know that. It’s difficult to express your ideas clearly and effectively, it’s hard to find just the right word, and it’s all too easy to slip in silly mistakes that you can’t detect no matter how many times you reread your work. When you’re writing something for publication, you need to be at the top of your game: no typos, no awkward structures, no ambiguities—and it’s nearly impossible to avoid all these.
That’s where professional grammar editors come in. Indispensable in the writing process, grammar editors not only clean up any silly grammar and spelling mistakes you let slip through but also tighten up your prose, clear up ambiguous phrasing, and offer suggestions to improve your writing. All are necessary when you’re penning a book.
So how do you find a good grammar editor? We’ve compiled a few tips to help you along the way.
1. Know what you want
Proofreaders and editors, though often conflated, are not the same thing. Proofreaders focus on misspelled words, grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, etc. Editors go deeper, offering more appropriate words, clarifying ambiguous sentences, and improving the flow. The style you want is up to you, but make sure you communicate to your grammar editor what you’re looking for.
2. Know the level of criticism you can handle
Grammar editors all have their own styles, and some are far stricter than others. Do you want an editor who gives your manuscript a light pass, fixing only egregious errors, or would you prefer someone who can give criticism if it means improving your work? Communicate your preference to your grammar editor before you start working together. If you’re sensitive but want all the valuable suggestions you can get, perhaps request that your editor leave gentle comments with their recommendations.
3. Get a sample edit
If the grammar editor offers free sample edits (typically a page or so), take advantage of the opportunity so you can see what their work is like. If they don’t offer free samples, try hiring them for a short edit to gauge their skills and suitability for your manuscript. This way, you can safely enter a contract with a good idea of what the editor will do with your manuscript, and you can rest assured that you’ll likely be satisfied with the end result.
4. Understand that hiring an editor is an investment
Editors are skilled professionals, and the good ones don’t offer their services for cheap. The price range varies dramatically, so different sources may report different figures. Furthermore, because some grammar editors charge by the hour and others charge by the word, it’s difficult to calculate an average for the industry. Browse the market a bit to get an idea of the possible prices. Grammar editors who charge too little may not have the necessary skills to give your manuscript a proper polish, but on the other hand, editors with exorbitantly high fees may be overvaluing their talents.
5. Communicate your deadline
In the publishing industry, deadlines can be tight, and you may not have a lot of time to get your manuscript professionally edited. Grammar editors, particularly the good ones, tend to be booked up in advance, so one obvious solution is to start looking for an editor well ahead of time. Regardless of your timeframe, make sure to clearly communicate your deadline and turnaround expectations to your editor. If you have an urgent deadline, they may be able to squeeze you in for an extra fee.
6. Find someone who doubles as a teacher
The best grammar editors do more than just edit. They want to help you improve your writing and language abilities, so in addition to suggesting changes to polish your manuscript, they’ll include comments teaching you about frequently occurring mistakes or areas that trip a lot of writers up. With their gentle guidance and valuable grammar advice, you can improve not only your current piece of writing but also your next manuscript.
7. Get an editor who can help with formatting
A truly superb grammar editor extends their work beyond the confines of language to polish your formatting as well. They know when to use bold and italics, when to break up long paragraphs, and how to implement layout changes in Word, which can be a tricky program to fully master.
No manuscript is perfect right away. The fresh perspective of an expert grammar editor can tighten up your manuscript in ways you can only dream of, helping propel you toward success in the publishing industry. There are a multitude of reasons to enlist the help of an editing professional, and now that you know how to find the right one, what’s stopping you? Go out and hire the industry’s top grammar editors now.