My business and work processes are the same practices followed by most independent editors.
Every writer is unique, and each manuscript has its distinct strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, I find it impossible to have a schedule of standard fees that I can post on my website or email off in immediate response to a query.
If you have a manuscript you’d like to have edited, we’ll first need to discuss what type of work you expect. I’ll then review a sample of your manuscript, test-editing several pages, and prepare a written quote detailing my recommendations. Once we concur on the level of edit, the time frame, and the fee, I’ll prepare a letter of agreement.
The fee can be a page rate, hourly rate, or project fee. Rush jobs will have an additional rush fee applied. In determining fees, I usually follow the guidelines of the Editorial Freelancers Association. For a general idea of what my fee would be for your project, see the EFA’s “Editorial Rates” chart. Note: In manuscript editing, one page always equals 250 words.
Letter of Agreement
I learned the hard way to have a letter of agreement in place before beginning a project. A letter of agreement protects both the editor and the client. The letter of agreement that I use is simple, but it will clearly state all the points we have agreed upon.
My letter of agreement allows a client to halt a project with no penalty if I haven’t yet begun the work. It requires an up-front deposit of one-half of the total estimated fee, with the remainder of the fee due when the project is delivered. If the project is extensive, the fee may be broken into three payments, with the second payment due at the midway point. All work is guaranteed and kept in the strictest confidence.
Unless otherwise discussed, the work covered is one edit and one cleanup edit. If additional work is needed, the fee and terms can be renegotiated.
Some projects are more complex than others. Usually, I read through a manuscript once to familiarize myself with it. The pace varies as necessary, from slow to a skim. I edit the manuscript during a second pass. If I leave questions for myself or mark anything for further work of some kind, I go back through the manuscript a third time, focusing just on those parts. Rarely is a manuscript so complicated that it needs more than three passes.
In addition to editing the text, I format the manuscript, applying any necessary styles, plus run a final spell check and prepare a style sheet. The style sheet lists the style decisions I made, such as which spelling I chose for words that have two or more options, whether or not I used the serial comma, and what style I followed for numbers. For novels, it lists the character and place names.
Unless other arrangements are made, projects are delivered and returned by email and the work is done electronically.
The deposit is due before the work is begun, and the final payment is due within 30 days after the date of the invoice. Payments can be made by personal check or PayPal.
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“All authors are not necessarily great writers. Elaine, my editor, took my manuscript and turned it into a great book.”
—Lewis Harrison, author of Healing Depression Naturally