This post originally appeared on Popular Soda on 10/3/13.
All editors are not created equal.
It is virtually impossible to find professional-level editing for bargain-basement prices. This handy checklist will help you determine if you’re looking at an experienced editor or a green freelancer. You may not have the funds, desire, or need to hire a top-notch editor, but this checklist will help you avoid untrained and unqualified individuals.
These guidelines are for editors who work on a sentence-by-sentence basis. They may call themselves line editors, copy-editors, or even proofreaders.
Look for experience specific to editing. Degrees in English and published books are nice, but they do not constitute copy-editing training.
Writing and editing are related skills, but not interchangeable, kind of like being good at running and being good at soccer. If you are a fast runner, that will help you in playing soccer. However, you can’t simply run around the field and expect to spontaneously learn the rules of the game. Editing is the same.
Check to make sure that your potential editor has training or formal experience in editing and he’s not just running around the field. An English degree is not enough. Look for education directly related to editing as well as in-the-field experience, such as editing for a book publisher or newspaper.