Saturday, September 18, 2010

VBT Writers on the Move Guest Karen Cioffi on Freelance Editors: Should You Hire One?

I'm really excited to be doing something a little different today. Some of you know I'm part of a blog group that does author tours every month. It's really exciting getting to know each of these wonderful writers and their work.

Well today, I"m hosting Karen Cioffi. Now Karen isn't a stranger to The Writing Mama. She was one of our authors for interview Friday, but today she's going to share a guest post with us.

But before we jump in, I would like to first introduce Karen . . .

About the Author:

Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter (for authors, bloggers, and business), editor, copywriter, reviewer, and on the team of DKV Writing 4 U ( She is also the founder and manager of VBT Writers on the Move, and co-moderator of a children's writing critique group.

For writing and marketing information visit ( and sign up for her FREE newsletter, A Writer’s World. You’ll get TWO free e-books on writing and marketing in the process.


A Guide to Hiring a Freelance Editor

By: Karen Cioffi

Will hiring a freelance editor ensure you pitch the perfect game? In writing terms, will it ensure you get published? Do you need an editor? There are a number of pros and cons related to whether you should hire a freelance editor. Some writers benefit greatly from the experience while others have a difficult time and may even get insulted. Four Points to Examine Before Hiring a Freelance Editor: 1. One of the most important aspects of hiring someone to critique or edit your work is to be open to criticism. If you do not have the personality to handle constructive criticism, suggestions, and/or edits, then you shouldn’t hire a freelance editor.

2. Before you contemplate hiring a freelance editor, get your manuscript in the best shape possible. What this means is you should know your craft or be engaged in learning it. You should obviously belong to a critique group that focuses on the genre you write. This group should have new and experienced/published authors in it. This will help you to hone your craft through the critiques you receive and the critiques you give. There are also a number of fantastic free online writers’ conferences such as the Muse Online Writers Conference that will help you hone your craft. There are workshops offered covering just about every writing genre, plus freelance writing and marketing. AND, you will have the opportunity to pitch to publishers. Between the networking and learning, it’s not something you should lightly pass on. Next up on the road to learning your craft is to join a couple of writing groups – again be sure they have new and experienced writers. You can even look into a writing coach or instructor.

If you’re writing for children, the best and most bang for your buck coaching group is the Children’s Writers Coaching Club ( Check out the article, “How do You Learn to Write For Children” ( for more information.

3. Hiring a freelance editor to go over your manuscript will not guarantee it will get published, even the best in the field can’t promise this. What they will do is help you to get it in the best shape possible. But, whether or not you take their advice is another story.

This holds true everywhere in the writing world. You may send your manuscript out, after it’s polished, to 20 publishers and agents and get rejections. Then, you send it to one more and it happens . . . this publisher has been looking for what your have.

But, it’s a sure bet if you’re manuscript isn’t polished you won’t ever get that far. 4. If you did your best to get your manuscript into what you think is publishable shape (this means going over all the self-editing rules) and you want an editor to give it a final once over, be sure to ask for recommendations from other writers.

5. Never let an editor discourage you from pursuing your writing goals. It’s the editor’s job to be honest and do her best to help you onto the publishing road. You need to take the constructive guidance in the manner it is intended. Don’t get discouraged, view the changes your editor is suggesting and try to honestly discern if the changes make the manuscript better. Think of the editor as your partner.


Interview with Karen Cioffie on The Writing Mama

Other sites:

Karen Cioffi Writing for Children & More

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

You can follow Karen at:


Learn from new and experienced authors. Join Writers on the Move's Sept2010 Authors' Tour!

Next on the author tour Janet Ann Collins is featuring Margaret Fieland!


  1. The best advice I tell aspiring writers is to budget money aside for an editor. You are only as good as your editor. Perception is reality, and if a reader spots grammatical erros, excessive gerunds, and other simple syntax errors, they may judge your book solely on this and not the story itself. An editor is a wise investment for any writer.

    Stephen Tremp

  2. Stephen, that's such good advice. I've seen so many new writers jump into self-publishing before their manuscripts were ready. Budgeting for an editor is a very wise thing to do.

    Thanks, Darcia.

    And, thank you Virginia for being such a gracious host.

  3. Karen it's great having you again on The Writing Mama.

  4. Great advice, Karen. So often I see self-published and even traditionally published works where I wonder who their editor was/is. It's the best investment you can make if you are self-publishing. If traditional publishing, work with your editor, they make their money on making your book shine.

  5. Well said, Karen. While it's important to have your ms in the best shape possible before submissions, the publishing house editor will most certainly do his/her own edits on it. :)

  6. Thanks for the great post, Karen. Such fabulous points to keep in mind.

    You so need to practice #2 - "get your manuscript into best shape" in order to be able to #5: "try to honestly discern if the changes make the manuscript better."