One thing I think all writers can agree on is that letting your excitement get ahead of you is a mistake, especially if it means putting your novel on the market before it is ready. Sometimes the desire to put our work out there causes us to skip steps, and that isn’t good for anyone.
Hiring an editor because you just want your work published already is not the solution you may think it is. Editing is expensive, so unless you have an excess of money (wouldn’t that be nice?) you want to be sure that you haven’t skipped steps, and that you are ready for a professional edit.
Here are three examples of when it’s too early to hire an editor:
As soon as you’ve finished the first draft
It’s exciting! You’re proud that you’ve finished an entire manuscript, and you should be! But, at this point, you’re too attached to the work. Give it (and yourself) some space to breathe before you revise. Few people other than yourself need to read the first draft. In fact, no people other than yourself need to read the first draft.
Before you go through the self-editing process
Be sure to review your manuscript several times before sending it to a professional. You want to make it as clean as you can before you start spending money on it.
Before anyone else has looked at your manuscript
Ideally, even after self-editing your manuscript, you’ll have beta readers go over it before handing it to an editor. Beta readers give feedback from the perspective of the reader. This can be extremely beneficial and can help identify issues you didn’t see because you are too close to the work. There are plenty of places where you can find beta readers who work for free, and there’s nothing wrong with using free resources first to minimize your costs.
Writing and editing a novel is a long process, but the benefits of taking your time and going through all the preparatory steps should not be ignored. You’ll thank yourself for it in the end and your readers will thank you too.
Is there anything else you think should be done before you hire an editor? Let me know in the comments.