I’ve been blogging on the internet for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve probably written 3-4 million words and published most of them.
I’ve also hired a lot of content marketers and creators, and helped a lot of companies hire content people to help them create more content (or update their existing content) to take their website’s traffic and audience to the next level.
But I never truly understood the value and challenge of hiring a great editor until I was scaling my own content output a year or so ago. I realized that while I am very good at writing a lot of content, I tend to be very wordy and need an editor to tighten up my copy so it makes sense and can accomplish my goals (of driving revenue).
So how can you find freelance editors for hire to edit your own copy or a business’s? Based off my own experience and that of content marketer leaders I speak with, it’s really hard to do well.
In this post I’m going to tell you where to find a freelance editor on your own, but I’m also going to show you why EditorNinja is the right solution for you because we eliminate ALL of the pain of finding, hiring, paying, and managing work.
What To Look For In A Freelance Editor
As you’re hiring and vetting editors, you need to ask yourself the following nine questions. Some of these you will need to ask to each editor to see if they are qualified.
- What is their background? Are they actually trained in editing?
- How much do they cost and how do they charge?
- What type of editing are they most familiar with, and do they have experience with your type of writing and tone of voice?
- Do they edit to a style guide, and can they edit to your style guide?
- What is their availability for editing and how quickly do they turn documents around for you?
- How often do they invoice you for the work they have done?
- How do they expect or need to be paid? Can you pay with a credit card?
- Are you familiar with laws and regulations around hiring and paying contractors, including tax implications?
- If you need to hire more editors, is it easy to do so?
After you find some freelance editors you’re interested in, you need to test them. Have some documents that are ready to be edited, assign them to different editors, and then check the work on the back end. At EditorNinja, we take care of all of this workflow for you including the review before it comes back to you ready to publish.
For most companies looking to hire editors, the challenges come in the following areas:
- Performance and time management.
- Actually FINDING editors.
- Scaling up or down the team as needed based on editing volume.
- Paying editors and managing cashflow, and especially avoiding unexpected charges for services rendered.
Hiring editors is hard, and scaling up a content editing team can be even harder. EditorNinja makes this easy, but you can totally do it on your own if you prefer.
Where To Find Freelance Editors
There are many places to find freelance editors for hire. Here are our favorites.
Yes, we’re listing ourselves here because EditorNinja lets you get editing done by MFA-level editors without worrying about finding, negotiating, or paying them yourself. If you’ve worked with freelancers before you know how much trouble it can be to sort out all the legalities and payment.
With EditorNinja, you pay one transparent monthly fee and use our easy-to-use document portal to submit your documents. Our editors work on your uploaded documents every day, and you have transparency into when each document will be returned to you.
So how do we eliminate ALL of the pain of finding, hiring, paying, and managing work?
By bringing it all in one place. You don’t have to find an editor – you hire EditorNinja. You don’t have to pay them – you pay us and we pay the editors. Managing work is simple through our easy-to-use software portal. It’s copy editing and editor hiring, redefined.
Let us worry about the technicalities. You worry about creating great content.
Many local universities have MFA or simply English programs where they train students to become editors. Many of these students are also studying to become teachers, as we all know that teaching something is the best way to learn it thoroughly yourself.
If you want a local editor, you can often reach out to local English departments to see if they can put you in contact with students who are open to editing work.
The upside to this is that you can often get great work done for a lower hourly rate than hiring a professional editor, as these students are looking to build their experience for the future.
The downside is that some students may not be as professional as a professional editor.
We can’t talk about hiring freelancers without mentioning UpWork. A conglomerate formed out of the merger of oDesk and eLance, UpWork is a trusted place to find freelancers.
As with any freelancer platform, quality and pricing will vary. Many freelancer profiles on UpWork do have reviews and UpWork’s simple payment system makes it easy to pay your freelancers through their site, but you are still taking on the responsibility of posting a gig, sorting through all the applicants, hiring one (or a few) to test out, and then paying them via the portal where UpWork takes their percentage.
If you have a good process for hiring freelancers via UpWork, you can find some good editors on there.
Editorial Freelancers Association
The EFA is a widely trusted national not-for-profit organization, headquartered in New York City, run almost entirely by member volunteers, all of whom are also freelancers. The EFA’s members, experienced in a wide range of professional skills, live and work all across the United States and in other countries.
They provide a member directory and job list where you can either browse their directory and contact editors directly, or post a job listing and have editors reach out to you.
As with any directory, you need to make sure you are asking the right questions and need to be prepared for a LOT of respondents to sort through.
Reedsy for Book Editors
Editing for a full book is a skill in and of itself, and many services like EditorNinja are not set up to provide this type of editing service.
If you have a manuscript that is ready for editing, you can use a service like Reedsy to find a book editor. You’ll still have the vet them yourself and understand that book editors on Reedsy set their own rates. This is good because you can find someone within your budget range, but if you receive a wide range of quotes you will likely have trouble picking the right now.