Should I Hire An Editor?

Which was should I go here? Relax. Dan has the answer.
Which was should I go here?
Relax. Dan has the answer.

People ask me all the time, “Should I Hire An Editor?”


And no.

There, that’s settled.

Different people have different needs, so let’s explore the options.

You and another author friend are coming up on your editing phase, and both of you want to hire editors – which is a decision I respect. A good editor earns their money. I know several.

You and your friend can help each other search for an editor, and maybe even find a better deal by offering two books – as in two customers – to the editor. Either way, if I’m a friend of yours, keep me in the loop. Maybe I can help, or refer someone, or learn something, or pass along the names of the editors you finally decide on. Maybe there’s a guest blog post in it for you, “My Quest For An Editor.”

There are MANY good editors out there, and they vary in price, and also in what they’ll do for you. The time to shop for editors is sooner, not later. You don’t necessarily have to wait until your book is finished. Sending a sample chapter to an editor will result in getting an estimate of what your whole book is going to cost to edit. Lots of spelling issues? That’s gonna run you more. Discover the wonder that is spellcheck. Have a friend proofread it and you proofread for them = money saved, starving artists!

Some beta readers catch spelling errors, too. That’s also a good time to send the sample out to an editor and start shopping. An editor will have a backlog and a schedule, too. No need to delay your publication any longer than necessary. Consider it multitasking.

What if you go the non-editor route?

You can!

I do!

So do smart people I know….

A friend recently self published her first novel and it was edited by herself (not a great idea for most of us because we don’t usually see our own errors after a second pass), with the help  of  her husband and some friends.

It was fine. Everyone survived. And they still talk to each other.

If you have author type friends – and you really should – they can edit, or help co-edit, for what I call “listing credit” (I’ll explain in a moment). Author friends can catch spelling and tense issues, too, and make a few suggestions or whatever else you want them to bring to the table. You can do this for them, too.

That way, you can list each other as the editors Amazon for your respective books (listing credit). That means the book you edit shows up on your Amazon author page. You can help edit four books for edit credit, and when you publish your first book on Ammy, there will be FIVE titles there for fans to see. There are a few easy steps, like creating an Amazon author page and “claiming” the book, but you can handle it. (If I can do it, you can.)

Five titles helps you look more established, makes your FIRST book look more credible when it comes out. It’s five ways for you to be found when people search, and it makes everyone’s books look more professional because somebody else is listed as editor. So do a good job. (Don’t have five books you can help with? Two is still better than one.)

On my author page, The Grandfather Tree is a book I helped edit with another author friend, so it shows up as a title on both of our author pages – cool, huh? For that reason, I’m big into trading favors, so when I help somebody they’ll help me and vice versa.

So I should… what?

Study up, ask friends, and make the call that’s best for you.

Paying an editor is a good idea, and I recommend it. Like I said, different people have different needs and a good editor earns their money. When you’re ready, I can help you with that process.

For me, between my critique group, beta readers, and a few friends, I’m thinking that’s as good as an edit – for me, and only part of the time. I like to get the task of editing accomplished through friends, as described above. Sometimes, that’s not the best way for me to go. I do it when I can.

Either way, I like to help new authors get established and start making money in this business, and I look to build lasting relationships that I hope lead to all of us toasting each other in some swanky New York literary club as we wait to receive our awards.


Want me to critique the first chapter of your story? SEND IT. Hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do.

Right now you want to subscribe to this blog and not miss another valuable bauble that falls from my fingertips. SUBSCRIBE TODAY (click the follow “Follow” button, above) and I’ll send you a free copy of my amazingly cute book “The Short Years” plus we’ll probably become friends and start hanging out and stuff.

If you benefit from this blog, share it with your friends!

He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn't he?
He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here and check back often for interesting stuff.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

12 thoughts on “Should I Hire An Editor?

  1. Great topic!

    For new authors, heading into the editing process for the first time, this can be a difficult decision. What makes someone a “good editor”? What can we expect an editor to do for us? What should we be looking for/considering when vetting editors?

    With so many self-editing tools available, choosing the right blend of traditional and non-traditional editing methods for your individual book is tough. We only have one shot at making a good first impression as an author.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a topic I’ve struggled with over the last few months. You’ve raised a few interesting points! The ‘listing credit’ seems to be a valuable strategy in getting your name out there, which is so important as a new author.
    I want to say I love the help I’ve received from my critique group. This mix of both aspiring and successful authors really opened my eyes in areas such as plot, pace, over-hyphenating, proper use of quotation marks and the importance of eliminating dialogue tags (so, pretty much everything to do with a book).
    In the future, I doubt I will ever write a novel without submitting my chapters to a critique group first.
    That said, I don’t think my critique partners will catch everything. Punctuation and grammar can be tricky beasts.
    I have poured an embarrassing amount of my time and effort into my book. Not months, but actual years of my life, as many authors before me have done. Whatever I have learned about writing, I have learned it while writing this book. I want the work to be edited with the same care I put into it, and if I have to pay for that, then it’s a bullet I may have to bite.
    I think that comfort is important when trusting anyone with your ‘baby.’ Research your editors. Know what you’re getting yourself into if you go that route. And, if you feel confident that your critique partners are competent enough to catch everything you need them to, who am I to argue?
    I have read the work of authors who obviously did not use an editor, and cringed. Other authors continually release work that is polished to the point of near perfection entirely on their own.
    While there are no hard and fast rules, the idea of self-publishing a book (my baby) before a tangle with a professional editor seems like searching for years for a diamond, and selling it as a rock.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You definitely don’t want that! And when you venture out there, how do you decide which editor is good, and which is ripping you off? You take a referral from a friend and that editor isn’t taking new authors right now. You shop and the ones who will take you want thousands of dollars.

      I respect the decision either way. A new author may not be able to get $8.99 for their book, so after a professional cover and editing, they may be $3000 in, with a book selling at 99 cents. It’ll have to sell almost 10,000 copies to not lose money, and every cent spent before marketing is money that can’t be sent ON marketing. Which means an even harder time betting to that 10,000!

      Which is why we indie authors have to help each other

      and why in the end you have to make decisions that are best for you. That may be different from what’s best for me.

      Listen to as many trusted sources as you can, and then decide for yourself. And share your results with your author friends so we can all benefit from each other’s experiences.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is a great insight. Really great.
        It’s incredibly eye opening to speak to authors who have made it. The business side of writing is all new to me, I find I’m learning new things every day.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The vast majority of authors lose money or don’t make money. The ones who make money treat it like business, not a hobby, and act accordingly.

    But it starts with a great story. You have that!

    And it may sound odd, but the more people I help to become successful, the more successful I know I’ll be. But that’s a post that’s coming later this week – so you have to check back!


What do YOU think? Let me hear from ya.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: