In the first post for JBM Books, I wanted to discuss when to hire a freelance editor--that is when to come knocking on my door. Quick tip: it's later in your writing game, not earlier.
1. Do you really need a freelance editor? A freelance editor is someone who has the knowledge and ability to identify the problems that may be preventing you from being signed by an agent or being bought by a publisher. A freelance editor is an investment. You should think of that editor as the money you spend to get your book in order to take it from a modest deal to a big deal. (Note that no editor worth their salt will promise your book will get sold and picked up; they will promise that you'll walk away with a better book and with industry knowledge to keep in mind as you write.)
2. When do you need a freelance editor? It's not after your first draft or even your second draft. It's after you've gotten your beta readers to read your book and after you've queried a dozen or so agents without getting any bites from them. Freelance editors are an added expense. Before you add that expense to your budget, do what you already have the ability to do first: write, rewrite, polish, and query. If you've struck out, meaning no agent has snatched up your book or agents have told you to send them your next book, it's time to hire a freelance editor to read and get targeted feedback.
3. What's the timing for a freelance editor? It varies from editor to editor but I generally try to work in six-week increments. It's a way of measuring where you were when you first came to me and where you are now.