2 Things You Need to Know Before Hiring an Editor

This post invites you to consider building a relationship with your manuscript editor before you send your rough draft off to be polished.  Just as there are “plenty of fish”, there are plenty of different editorial styles and perspectives. Some may be a match for you and some may not. Conducting interviews with prospective editors is a great way to begin your manuscript revision process, according to professional editors I have interviewed.

Brittany Veenhuysen, freelance editor and copywriter, revealed that many authors do not take the time to learn more about her as their prospective editor. There are many reasons why this is so, which I’ll dive into in future Insights. Based on my interview with Brittany, I encourage each writer out there to take the time to build this all-important relationship, in order to develop the best quality final draft you can imagine.

During our interview, Brittany outlined four important questions she asks every potential client. She also identified some of the “red flag” responses she hears. These are the replies that suggest to her that this writer may not, in fact, be ready for the revision phase. In the interests of building better writer-editor relationships, this post highlights two of Brittany’s important questions. Don’t fret - a later post will outline the remaining two questions.

Editor Question #1: Who is the intended audience for this book?

A red flag response is, “Anyone who wants to read it.”  Some of my previous posts have explained the reasons why knowing your audience will make your writing more engaging. The editor you hire also needs to know your intended audience. Your editor can review through the eyes of an intended audience member to create consistent tone, word choice, and story impact.

If you’re not sure who makes up your intended audience, you may not be quite ready to share your manuscript with an editor. A great starting point is my YouTube video, “How to Define Your Audience”.  Some of the other Insight posts on my website also cover the topic of Audience and Purpose.

Editor Question #2:  What are your goals for this finished manuscript?

One red flag response is, “I want to publish it.” That’s a great start! Now start narrowing down what you want as the end result for your creative work.  Consider the following possibilities:

  • Is this a memoir for your immediate family, children and grandchildren?
  • Do you envision your novel to be a New York Times bestseller?
  • Are you intending to self-publish or contract with an agent?

Your response to each of these questions will determine the tone and the level of revision required in your writing. As your partner in the revision process, your editor needs to know your goals.

If you’d like to learn more about the ways I support emerging writers, please contact me to schedule your free discovery session.

Do you want to learn more about moving beyond writing your first draft? I’m hosting a half-day workshop on Vancouver Island on Sunday, March 8th Energizing Editing.

Book a Discovery Call

Creatively Yours,


I want to write a book, where do I start?

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