Deciding Whether or Not to Use a Professional Editor

I am still in the early stages of attempting to have my first novel professionally published. There are many aspects I hadn’t thought of until now, but I am grateful for all the online resources and writer’s groups that are helping to guide me.

One thing I had always assumed was that I wouldn’t need an editor to land a publishing deal. That being said, I know trying to get a rough first draft published these days isn’t going to fly either. I spent two years working with a group of people who worked with me to improve my novel. I had an alpha reader, a group of beta readers and a proofreader go over my manuscript. They gave me a lot of fantastic advice in terms of fixing pacing, consistency issues, and improving the believability of some of the “science” I used in the story.

So, while I’ve edited and revised the novel numerous times in the past two years, I knew more editing would still happen. I just always assumed that I would be assigned an editor after landing a publishing deal. I may well still be assigned an editor by a publisher if I can land a deal. However, it turns out that these days many authors will pay an independent editor to go over their work before submitting their novel to an agent or publisher. It seems that in some cases the use of a professional editor can lead to a connection with agencies or publishers, depending on the editor you choose.

The rise of self-published authors has created a market for independent editors and it seems even traditionally published authors, aspiring or otherwise, are taking advantage of them.

So that leads me to the quandary of whether or not to spend the money and hire a professional editor before landing a publishing deal. Currently I am exchanging emails with a couple of professional editors, and I may work with one of them while simultaneously sending out queries to literary agents. It’s a way to hedge my bets while trying to keep some forward momentum in this process. I don’t know if I’ll hire an editor or not, but I need to explore all my options.

Have you tried to get published? Have you worked with a professional editor before? What was your experience like. Please share!

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