There are plenty of ways to find people that can effectively edit your work. If one of the three strategies does not work for you, keep researching and I’m sure you’ll find a strategy that works for your professional aspirations and budget.
Reach out to a friend or family. This is great if you are strapped for cash but I do have reservations with this particular strategy. Personally, I approach my writing methodically. I give myself word quotas and/or time minimums that I need to write. I do this because I want to finish my book in an efficient manner. The problem stems when I hand my completed first draft over to a family member to review. Since I’m asking a favor I really can’t ask him or her to pick up the pace. Likewise, most people are busy and it is time consuming to edit a 20K to 30K word document. The guilt and impatience derived from asking a family member to edit. If you decide to move forward with this strategy be sure to avoid doing so during Phase 1.
Offer to swap your editing services with another author. There are plenty of independent authors out there who cannot afford to hire editors. Therefore, willingness to edit somebody else’s work in exchange for a reciprocated service can enable you to receive more affordable editing. The drawback with this strategy is that you are using your time as a currency as a substitute for dollars. If you have more time than money then this strategy can be very effective. Personally, I prefer this method over the first strategy because I feel more comfortable with an even exchange as opposed to asking for a favor. Moreover, I appreciate the fact that my own pace will encourage the editor/author to correlate.
If you’re unsure of how to go about finding authors to seek out I recommend you join the Authority Self-Publishing and Pat Flynn’s Kindle Publish Facebook groups that bring writers self-publishers together. In case you have difficulty finding these groups, I wrote an article on www.maketimeforwriting.com titled Two Facebook Groups Writers Need To Join that offers links to each of those groups. Do not limit yourself to Facebook as well. I also recommend you check out MeetUp.com to find local groups of writers that you can interact with in person. This is a great opportunity because it allows you (depending on the group) to have other authors review your work. It is intimidating at first but in my experience authors can be very constructive because they know how vulnerable it can be to share work.
Hire an editor. To this day this is my preferred method. I use elance.com which is transitioning to upwork.com at the time I write this book. These are great sites because you can propose a job and literally receive multiple bids within minutes. One tip If you decide to go this route is to add a few small detailed instructions to be included within the bid. This will allow you to eliminate any author who wasn’t detail oriented enough to follow your instructions. Keep it simple as well. For example, after you explain what the job entails you can add “Be sure to include the term “awesome author” at the very end of your bid. It may sound a bit awkward to do this but it is pretty common and it is a fair way screen out the people who are just trying to rush from one job to the next.
Another option is fiverr.com. In particular, I use Fiverr to hire my editor for Phase 3 because the transaction (depending on the seller) can be a little less personal than the Elance and Upwork. When you’re editing within Phase 1 and Phase 2 it is important to be able to have a back and forth dialogue with your editor(s). This can happen at Fiverr but I think it isn’t quite the norm. It should also be noted that though Fiverr markets themselves as $5 dollar service providers, you should plan on spending more than that depending on your word count. Phase 3 editors typically cost me $40 to $50 with a 20K to 30K book.
If you prefer to work with your editor in person then it doesn’t hurt to reach out to a member you met from a MeetUp.com meeting and offer to compensate him or her for editing services (as opposed to editing their work). Consider Craigslist.com for this service as well. It goes without saying though that you do not meet a person from either of these sites in a private setting. Pick a public, neutral location and always be sure to let a friend or family member know when and where this is happening. I’ve never had a negative experience with this but it is important to be safe at all times.