Hiring an editor can be costly. It can be a great investment in your work, but not always necessary. Don't let anyone sell you something you don't need. Before you hire me or any other editor you feel is a good fit, here are a few things to consider.
Typically you don't need or want to pay for an editor for work or school assignments. You can, but it's typically not a need.
When you're in the middle of your manuscript.
It can be tempting to write and rewrite the beginning of your book or try to make your book perfect along the way. And it can be discouraging when your book isn't coming together. I know, I've been there. You could turn to an editor for a brainstorming or consultation call during times like these. However, it's best not to hire an editor for content or copy until the entire manuscript is finished and you've had a chance to pass through it again.
If your manuscript is hand written. It's a lovely way to write, but if it hasn't been put into a word processor and self-edited at least once, it's not ready for an editor.
If you want someone to write your story for you. You'll want a ghostwriter, not an editor here. I am open to ghostwriting, but the rates will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Before you've done most (hopefully all) of the things in the list below.
Things you can do yourself before you hire an editor:
Look for commonly repeated words and phrases.
Repetition is common in first drafts, so expect to find some. Repeated words can weaken the delivery of your message and even distract your reader.
Double-check words that are new to you to ensure proper meaning.
Eliminate the number of words that might distract your reader.
Inspirational nonfiction is intelligent, but not academic or highly complex. We want to challenge our readers to think and grow, but not on a way that detracts from the inspirational purpose of the book.
Lingo not all readers would understand.
If you are writing a religion-specific book, keep in mind there are terms that people of other religions might not be familiar with. Make sure you use and explain them in a way that everyone in your audience can understand.
Do a spell check.
This one seems obvious, because it is.
Read your manuscript out loud.
This is a wonderful way to make sure your book flows well. It's especially key if you are hoping to record an audiobook version as well.
Read your manuscript sentence by sentence . . . but start at the end of the book.
Yep. This sounds weird. But it works. Our minds fill in the blanks left by our mistakes. When we read each sentence correctly, but in reverse order (so the last sentence in the book is read first and the first is read last) our minds are allowed to focus on each sentence, which allows us to catch small mistakes not caught otherwise.
You could trade editorial services with a fellow writer. The you can spend the money you'd save paying an editor on chocolate. It's a win win!
Also, a list of things I don't do:
Copy editing. That's editing dealing with grammar, punctuation, spelling, citations.
Jumping jacks. But I have been known to still pull off a cartwheel without injuring myself.