Finding an editor

Okay, as I’m looking for what to do with my recently “completed” novel, one option is self-publishing. However, self publishing will require considerably more work on my part, including finding the professionals to do the tasks I can’t do myself.

One of those tasks is editing. Few writers are good editors, and fewer still are good at editing their own work. And I’m not one of them. That means hiring an editor. The problem is finding an editor for hire that is 1) competent, 2) not priced completely out of my league, and 3) after taking my money is going to do an honest job, including being willing to say about the story “trunk it and try something else” if that’s really what the editor thinks. Of those, #2 is the easiest to find.

There are lots of editors for hire, a quick google search turns up tons of possibilities. And I can quickly enough determine whether they are “affordable” (criterion 2 above), but how does one determine #1 and #3? How does one know that the editor in question is competent and willing to do an honest job, even to telling me things that the editor might think I don’t want to hear. (Well, I don’t want to hear “it sucks and there’s nothing I can do” but I’d rather hear that than either hear “it’s good but we can make it better” when it’s not or even “it’s wonderful, you don’t need me” when it’s not that either.

In “traditional publishing” the author doesn’t pay the editor.  The editor is instead paid by the publishing house. Supposedly, this deals with both #1 and #3.  The publishing house, supposedly, would only hire the editor if he or she were at least reasonably competent (please don’t write to tell me how wrong I am–I’m talking about the theory here, not how it works in practice). and the editor’s interest is in finding and publishing successful books, not in convincing you the author to send him or her money for “editing.”

In the not too distant past aspiring writers were warned by professionals in the field to avoid “book doctors” and many other “editing services” as people who will take your money and not really accomplish anything for you.  With the rise of self-publishing, however, the need for professional editors for hire is something that’s also on the rise.

So how does one find . . . how do I find . . . the editor that will do the job I need done?

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