Q - I have been attending great writing conferences for ten years. Why do we not hear more about hiring a freelance editor and publicist?
A - I suppose it is primarily because these two entities are fairly new on the publishing scene. It has only been in the last very few years that we have heard anything about their importance. A freelance editor has become more important as the competition to find a publisher has become more intense. Publishers are offered many more books than they can possibly publish, so they look first for a great book that does not need a lot of editing. Writers who know they don't have exceptional editing skills see the value of hiring that freelance editor to make their manuscript sparkle.
As far as a publicist is concerned, authors are recognizing how important it is to get their book before the public in any way possible. Although most publishers have their own publicist, realize that you are sharing that publicist with all that publisher's authors--so you will not get as much personal attention as you might like. Gone are the days when we could just write a book, get it into the hands of a publisher, and move on to the next project--confident that the publisher would sell lots of books. Today it is definitely a join effort and whatever you can bring to the process will help your book become more successful.
At this point you might be wondering where to find these people. The Christian Writers' Market Guide includes a section in the back of people who provide various types of Editorial Services. In the front, you will find publicists listed in the Resources for Writers section under "Promotion:Publicists." www.stuartmarket.com.