Hiring an editor is a big step, but it is also an exciting one. Why? Because it means you have likely poured your heart and soul into your creation and have now made the commitment to bring it out into the world for others to enjoy. Or, in other words, you've been running the race for quite some time and are nearing the finish line! Bravo!

I'm sure you have some questions about the process, so I have assembled some answers here to help you understand what is involved.

Do I really need an editor?

How does it make you feel when you find a misspelled word or glaring error in something you are reading? Did it interrupt your train of thought? Did the text seem unprofessional? Did it lower your estimation of the author? If you want to make sure your readers have the best experience with your text, and the highest regard for you, it is important to bring your work up to the highest level of quality possible. As an author, you are so familiar with your own words, that it might be easy to miss something as your eyes move across the page. Or you may communicate your ideas clearly enough, but could use a little help with the trickier aspects of grammar or style. You may be the expert in your subject, but your editor will be the expert in making sure your words are clear, concise, and eloquently stated.

How do I choose an editor?

You first need to make sure an editor offers the services you need for your specific project. If so, then take a look at her credentials. Obviously, an editor must have proficiency in proofreading and editing. A college degree in English, Journalism, Communications, or a similar subject is a good sign that she has been adequately prepared in the language arts. An in-depth familiarity with the most current rules, such as knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style, is even better. Most editors are also fabulous writers in their own right. So take a look at what your chosen editor has written. If this editor happens to know a lot about your own subject matter, or has a genuine interest in it, that's an added bonus. For the cherry on top, it will be much easier to work with an editor who is friendly, patient, understanding, listens well, and has a great personality!

What is it like to work with an editor?

Working with an editor can truly be a joyful experience. It is your baby you're working on, after all! Bringing out the best in your writing until it gleams like gold just feels wonderful. Typically, the editing and author review process goes through a few rounds. The editor will make corrections to the text as well as suggest ideas or ask questions of the author. This may prompt the author to revise, delete, or add something to the text, after which the editor may look it over again. Writing and editing is very much like producing a work of art: each sentence can be sculpted in many different ways. It's truly a co-creative process to work that clay until it's just the way you want it. Even if the editor only puts on a few final touches.

How long does editing take?

Well, unfortunately, the answer to that is, "It depends..." Is your text 5 pages or 50 or 500? Have you finished writing the entire piece, or do you still have some sections to complete? Is it already well-written or does it need substantial polishing? In other words, every editing project is unique and will take a different amount of time. For example, a short, well-written, finished text may take just a few days to a few weeks. A longer piece that requires a lot of correction or re-working may take many months. And, of course, the amount of changes an author continues to make will impact the time frame.