You've completed your book, and now you can't wait for the world to see it. But, before that happens, you need to have an editor go over it. Because you are so close to your work, it's often difficult to see what might need changing, tweaking or fixing. An editor can give you an objective perspective on your book, can offer suggestions and can clean up grammar and continuity issues, such as having your protagonist magically appear in the bedroom when she was just in the kitchen.
Know What You Want Done
If you go about looking for simply an "editor," you're going to waste some precious time because there are three distinct types of editorial work: developmental, copy editing and proofreading. You need to know what type you need before you start your search. A developmental editor gives you feedback on your book as a whole. She might get into the tone and style of the book, whether the characters are developed enough and whether the plot makes sense. A copy editor fixes spelling and grammar errors, takes care of continuity issues and sometimes checks facts. A proofreader checks only for minor errors, such as spelling, grammar and spacing issues.
Join a Writer's Group
You can find an editor through word-of-mouth recommendations by joining a writer's group. You can join an online group, a group that has face-to-face meetings or both. Writer's Relief, an author submission service, offers a list of writer associations you could join. Once you get some names, check the editor's website, and arrange an interview to determine whether the editor is familiar with your genre and is the type of editor you need.
Visit the Editorial Freelancers Association
The Editorial Freelancers Association is a job-posting site that puts writers in touch with editors. Because you don't know anything about an editor you might find through this association, it's a good idea to have a potential editor do a trial or sample edit for you. Make sure the editor meets your deadlines and does what you expect, whether that is giving you insight into your work or catching errors.
Consider Bargain Methods
Expect to pay up to 2 cents a word for proofreading, up to 4 cents a word for copy editing and up to 6 cents a word for developmental editing. If you don't have that much money reserved to hire an editor, you can find people to edit your book on a freelance community, such as Elance, Guru, Freelancer or even Craigslist. You might find a terrific editor this way. Some of the freelance sites, such as Elance, allow you to see how others have rated the freelancer.