How to Hire an Editor

Looking for an editor to support your academic writing? You could simply hire me–but my schedule is often booked in advance, and I only edit in certain disciplines (the humanities, social sciences, education, and health sciences).

I’d also be happy to recommend a few of my friends & colleagues:

  • Rhonda Kronyk is a member of the Indigenous Editors Circle who has done sensitivity reads to ensure that texts are inclusive;
  • Iva Cheung is one of North America’s top plain language editors and is the 2012 recipient of the Editors Canada Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence;
  • Heather van der Hoop has expertise in science communications and editing, and can do any formatting you need (APA, CMOS, APA, and house style guides) faster than anyone else I know.

If none of these folks are the right editor for you, or if you prefer to do your own research, then the process I recommend is:

  1. Figure out the scope of editing that you’d like. Do you want a copyeditor whose feedback will be limited to grammatical accuracy, consistency, and spelling? Or a stylistic editor who will make a lot of changes in your text, enhancing your flow, and making the emphasis land in the right part of the sentence, the paragraph, the section? Or do you really need a structural editor who will assess the overarching organization of your work? Or even a developmental editor who will help you fundamentally reassess the purpose and logic of your text?
  2. Review the Professional Editorial Standards, published by Editors Canada. These standards delineate the parameters of the different kinds of editing practices. Write down the standards that you want your editor to follow, and the ones that exceed the boundaries that you’re comfortable with.
  3. Search the Editors Canada Online Directory of Editors. Find someone whose bio and website appeal to you.
  4. Contact your chosen editors to request a quote. Expect to send them a 5-15 page sample of your work and the deadline by which you need the work completed. Also send them the list of the PES that you’d like them to adhere to, and the ones that you’d like them to avoid. For instance, you might say something like, “I really want someone who will eliminate unhelpful wordiness (PES C12), but for my readers, I don’t want you to get rid of jargon (PES C10), because I’m writing for a niche audience.”
  5. If their price and timeline work for you, and they agree to your limits, then sign a contract with your editor. You may be asked to pay 50% upfront and 50% upon completion of the work. Canadian editors often accept payment via email money transfer (also known as Interac e-transfer), which you should be able to send through your online banking account. Note that many Canadian editors are not able to accept payment by credit card.

Have any questions about what it’s like to work with an editor? Feel free to contact me. I also answer writing queries through my monthly column, Ask Dr. Editor.