Now that you’ve hired the editor that’s right for you and your manuscript, the key to getting the most out of working with him or her is clear communication of your needs and wants. We all know email is quick and easy, but editing is not, so your communication with your editor should not be rushed, but rather thorough in its details. If you are not using a local editor with whom you can work in person, your first communication after an initial email requesting their services, or choosing them if they’ve responded to your advertisement, should be via phone and/or Skype/FaceTime. I would begin with a phone call: set aside a good half hour to an hour to introduce yourself and your book to your editor, and let them introduce themselves to you; voice-to-voice and in-person communication is something sorely missing from our lives today but it is still the best way to communicate and do business.
If you’d prefer to use Skype or FaceTime so that you have face-to-face contact and hear each other’s voices, then by all means go for it—I believe that direct communication between author and editor breeds the positive relationship necessary for understanding what each believes should be communicated, and how, in the manuscript. By phone or video chat you should tell your editor what you think needs work in your manuscript and why, so that your editor knows what to pay close attention to when reading. You also need to be up front about how much you are willing to pay and how much time you can give your editor to work on your book—these are two extremely important points to remember when working with and choosing an editor.
If you are setting aside time to work one-on-one with your editor, particularly if you are working with a developmental editor, then continuous communication is key. If you are only communicating by phone, email, and/or Skype, then once you’ve gotten all the specifics worked out (fee, what type of edit, deadline date) leave your editor to their work, only contacting them if it’s absolutely necessary. When the editor has finished, he or she will return your manuscript annotated with edits and comments for your review. At this time you should pay them, or pay them the remainder of the fee if you’ve paid part up front.
Finally, even when the editor returns your manuscript, you may need his or her services in the future to review your revisions, especially at the developmental stage, for which they will also need to be paid and given sufficient time, or you may need another editor (line or copy) to work on your manuscript at the more technical level.
In short, the relationship between author and editor should be one of clear, easy communication and pleasure shared between fellow lovers of the written word.