When Should You Schedule a Book Editor?
Wouldn’t it be dreamy if your editor were waiting in the wings at your beck-and-call, just as you’re finishing up the last-minute revisions on your manuscript? Reality check: it rarely works that way. Since an editing job can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months to complete, editors usually schedule their projects a few months out. A little advance research and communication on your part can save you a lot of stress and time when hiring an editor.
When you’re up to your eyeballs in a new manuscript, hiring an editor is usually the last thing you’re thinking about. But it’s a good idea to reach out to one or two potential people a few weeks before you’re anticipating finishing your book so you can check their availability, services, and fee structure. If you’ve got a chapter or two written, you can offer to send a few pages of your manuscript and ask for a sample edit. This can be a win-win for you as it allows you to choose an editor who’s a good fit—at your leisure—and at the same time, receive some feedback on your writing early on in the process.
What you want to avoid is scrambling at the last minute to find an editor you can trust, afford, and is available. An author I edited for once had her book cover ready and several Amazon and Facebook ads already paid for when she reached out to me, in tears, looking for an editor just two weeks from her release date. It was a fluke that I even had an opening; the author I was scheduled to edit at that time had postponed her release. I can't imagine the bind the first author would have been in had I not been able to help.
Don’t bring that stress on yourself. Look ahead to your estimated finish date (give or take a couple of weeks) and contact a potential editor as soon as possible. That way, you have plenty of time to find someone reputable you can trust. Remember, the early bird catches the worm!