Dear Miss Snark,
Do you think it's a good idea for new writers to work with freelance editors? I spoke to a very established editor who charges over $7,000. It seems the average price is 4k. Most of his clients already have agents. I do not.
Is this normal? I know you get what you pay for, but this is completely out of my price range. Am I reducing my changes of getting an agent if I don't have an editor look at my manuscript first? I want my book to be as strong as possible. I have had several very talented writers and readers look at it and give me notes.
You don't need to hire an editor.
I'm pretty sure (I haven't asked) that none of my novelists hired an editor. They worked at their craft, and wrote attention grabbing novels.
Freelance editors are valuable if you are not a writer. Several of my non-fiction clients have used editors. The clients had great ideas, great stories, great platform, but knew they were not writers and so brought in someeone to do the writing or editing.
And even if you DO have an editor on board, you don't mention in it in your query letter.
Before you start spending wads of cash join a critique group.