Some might read the title and say, "But editors write and writers edit. What are you talking about?"
Yes, I know they do both; however, writers need to understand that not all editors write when it comes to their editorial services. And knowing this, and researching accordingly can help the writer get the exact services he or she needs.
As an editor, I have a site where I talk about my philosophy of editing, state the type of editing I do, and offer prospective clients the opportunity to read what past, current, and repeat clients have to say about my services. I explicitly state what I do on the site: I edit. Prospective clients go there and they know what I am about.
When I talk to these prospective clients, I give them my spiel, much of which is expressed on my site. My goal as an editor is to help the client develop the strongest project he or she can. In my evaluations, I try to talk about what I see in their works in a way that teaches the writers, that gives them information so that future works can be stronger because of what they learned.
My clients come into a relationship with me realizing that I am their editor...and in a sense, I am their mentor.
However, I am not their writer.
And this is something I think writers looking for editors need to understand. In scouring editor sites, I saw that most--like me--talk about editorial services--the editing part of the writing process. Writers need to know that if they are expecting substantial revising and rewriting of their projects, then just looking for an editor will not help. They will need to look for editors that perform that type of service or they will need to look for a ghostwriter (and many editors are ghostwriters, too).
What this means is writers need to do their homework. They need to think about what their manuscript needs and research editors who provide those specific services. When you know what you need, you can specifically state that to potential editors, instead of sending an e-mail that starts, "Hi, I need an editor for my project." You'll get exactly what you requested, an editor and not what you may need, which is someone who will help in the revising and rewriting components of the writing process.