Do you need an editor?
"Susann is a brilliant reader and an extraordinarily thorough editor. She helped me with a complex nonfiction piece I’d written. I struggled for a long time with how to give this essay a clear, logical shape and a strong ending. Susann intuitively understood what needed to be done. The result was that the article was published in a prestigious journal and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. There’s nobody better in the business than Susann!"
Research your prospective editor's aesthetic and approach. Don't be afraid to ask questions! And check out their website to get familiar with their work, including what they might have published about the act and art of writing itself.
A really good fit for your working relationship means the editor will be able adjust their personal aesthetic to suit yours and what you need. Be as clear as you can be about what you want ... and be open to conversations (maybe more than one) in which both of you define expectations and wishes.
You've spent a lot of time writing your novel or memoir--or you're planning to spend a lot of time on it ... How can you be sure you're spending that time wisely?
Maybe you'd like to invest in a freelance editor, someone who can read your work and give you feedback and guidance before you begin the long job of querying agents and publishers.
A good freelancer can help you get the best possible reading once you do start the submission process.
You can, in fact, hire a freelance editor at any stage of your writing--from the first flash of inspiration, which you may need to talk through so as to get a handle on your approach; to the long haul of actually writing; to a final polish and perhaps advice on your query letter.
There's plenty of advice online and in those very special archaic objects we call books. But nothing quite replaces that personal interaction--on the page, on Zoom, on the phone, face-to-face--that you can have with a good editor.
See the next page, "Types of Editing," a.k.a. "What I Can Do for You," to get an idea of the different kinds of work for which you might want to hire an editor (even me).