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How to Choose an Editor

If you’re looking for an editor, you probably already realize that there is a lot of variety. The purpose of this article is to point out some of the important factors of choosing an editor – things that you may not have even considered!


Most people consider price first when choosing an editor. They want something affordable, but they also want to make sure they get quality service and professional editing. How much should you pay? Rates for editing range from as low as .005USD per word to more than .04USD per word. For a 10,000 word paper, this can mean the difference between paying $50 or $400!

Although, in general “you get what you pay for”, it is possible to get high quality, professional editing without breaking the bank.

What to look for: Make sure you know whether you’re getting ‘proofreading’ or ‘copyediting’. Copy editors will fix your writing, while proofreaders will just check for mistakes. Many websites charge different prices for these two services. Also – if possible avoid an ‘hourly rate’. While this may in fact be cheaper, it is hard to judge upfront how much the project will cost.


Unfortunately there is no universal standard qualification for editors. They should have a B.A. (or even better, an MA or PhD) in English, but there are certainly editors that fall outside this rule. The best way to judge an editor is to see copies of their edited work, and read their testimonials. If possible, send them a trial and get a feel for their editing style.


Where are they located? This can be deceiving. Many editing companies are actually from India or some other country – but they display a US address in order to fool customers. The best way to double check is to ask; you can usually tell right away from an email whether the person is a native English speaker or not. If you get an email that is full of mistakes – choose someone else.


This is often overlooked – but choosing an editor that you get along with can save you from lots of emotional frustration. This especially matters if you are going to be sending lots of papers, or something more personal like a novel or non-fiction. A good editor will work with you, be polite, friendly and interested in your project.

Often, you can get a feel for an editor’s personality through their website. What colors did they choose? Does it look clean and organized or messy and distracting? Although this technique isn’t 100% (some editors have no control over their websites) it’s a pretty safe bet.

Shop Around!

Take your time and look at least a dozen different options before you commit to one editor – nothing is worse than getting a paper edited right before a deadline and getting it back full of errors.


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