I’m getting in a number of submissions where the query letter tells me the author has worked with a freelance editor (or several) to help polish their material. The quality of those submissions has varied widely. Several were polished, professional, and clearly showed the work of a good editor. Others were a mess. One thing is becoming clear to me. There are predators out there. Some of the people who told me how fabulous their editors said their work was were clearly being sold a bill of goods.
So, if you’re going to hire a freelance editor, check for credentials. See if they’ve previously worked as an editor in publishing or have published books of their own. Check them out on writers’ websites. (SFWA’s Writer Beware is a must read for any author.) Google them.
Then, a final word of advice. It’s probably better not to mention that you’ve hired a freelance editor in your query letter, to me at least. And maybe to any agent or editor. It raises the question in my mind about what your next book is going to look like without professional help. Just how much help did you get from that editor? Did you learn enough to repeat the good results without the editor on the next book? How much of what I see on the page is the writer’s and how much is the editor’s?
You can see why that might raise issues in my mind, when a simple and unadorned query letter wouldn’t raise any flags. The work would speak for itself.
The exception to this advice is if the freelance editor is a friend of the editor or agent you are submitting to. If I know the person, it’s a plus, not a minus, for me since I can call them up and ask frank questions. But if you were hard to work with (Some writers just hate being edited), it might not be a plus for you.
So, my advice, which is worth what all free advice is worth, is to check out any freelance editor you plan to use thoroughly before you hire them. And to keep the fact that you used that editor out of your query letter. I’d be the last person to say hiring someone to help polish your prose is a bad idea. I’ve done book doctoring myself. Just make SURE you check the credentials of anybody you hire.