Q & A

Q: I've hired you to edit my manuscript. Now what?

A: Once I've received your manuscript, I generally get right to work. Depending on the length of your project, here's my process: I start reading at the beginning. Sometimes I print out all the pages and work on hard copy first, using a red pen and proofreader's marks. I edit as I read, and I do not read ahead. I know some editors who do a first read, just to get an idea of a writer's style. I personally find that I will miss more by doing that; I see plot holes much better if I'm editing with fresh eyes the whole way through. 

If your manuscript is fiction (and, in some cases, nonfiction), I'll email you at the end of each chapter to give you my general thoughts and/or anything that particularly jumped out at me. This serves two purposes: one, you know I'm working on your book; and two, it highlights for you the things I'm seeing as potential problems or really good stuff. When I get to the last chapter, you may get a quick email saying I've reached the end, but probably very little else, simply because I'm moving on to the next part: the line edits. 

If I've started on hard copy (printed out), the line edits are next. That's when I transfer all of my horribly chicken-scratched notes from my hard copy of your manuscript to the file on my computer. I use Word's Track Changes for this, along with the Review panel, which will give a stroke-by-stroke record of what I've done to your baby. I'll leave comments in the margins about things I like, things I think you should change, things that surprised me. I save this file with your title followed by .MARKUP in the name, for easy identification. Once I've reached the end and all of my changes are saved to the markup, then I tell Word to accept all changes and stop tracking, close the review pane, and resave the file, this time with .FINAL after your title. This gives you a clean copy of the manuscript without all my digital scribbles. 

If I've not worked on hard copy first, then I've been doing line edits all along, and what comes after the last chapter and the newly saved files is the manuscript evaluation report. I write you a letter, basically! I tell you what the big problem areas are that I've seen (which you'll see in more detail in the line edits), the good stuff I've seen (which is the part everybody wants to read), and any of my general overall impressions of your manuscript. Then, I'm delighted to attach all three files to an email and send them to you. I follow this same process for all major manuscripts, although I have on occasion not sent a markup simply because the client stated he didn't need it, or if I'm asked specifically to submit only finalized manuscripts.

Q: How does your fee schedule work?

A: My fees are based on the length (usually by word count) of your manuscript and the complexity of editing involved. See the Pricelist for details on how I determine fees.

All payments are processed through Paypal, which is both secure and free for my clients to use.

A $35 up-front, non-refundable fee assures your manuscript's place in my schedule. This, plus the signed contract*, is required before I will start work.

Once work on your manuscript is complete and I've emailed all the files back to you, I'll send you two invoices through PayPal. Upon completion of the job, 30% of the fee is due immediately. The remaining balance is due within 30 days.

If you need separate payment arrangements, let me know, and we'll set up a payment schedule that works for both of us. This will need to be established before any contracts are signed or before I formally agree to accept your project.

PayPal invoices are used for all fees paid; if your money is sent before I have sent an invoice to you, the invoice you receive will have a notation that I've marked it as paid and the invoice is for your records only.

*Thumbtack clients are handled differently and normally not required to sign a contract for initial services.

Q: Well, why don't you have a PayPal button on your website?

A: There's a good reason for that, actually. My only real option is a "donate" button, since I don't have a "store" with exclusive prices. "Donate" is the only way for my clients to choose the amount they're paying, and it's really designed for nonprofits, not a small business. Since I'm not a nonprofit and my fees aren't considered tax deductible, I opted not to place a PayPal button here on my site. I send PayPal invoices instead.

Q: My project is small. What does that mean for your fees? It doesn't really fit into your fee schedule.

A: My minimum fee for any project accepted is $35. Beyond that, I will tailor my fees to meet the size and scope of your project and the amount of work that it will require. I strive to be fair to both my clients and myself when it comes to determining fees for much smaller projects.

Q: Are you affiliated with any particular publishing house?

A: No, I'm not. I'm a freelance editor. I enjoy the freedom of not being locked in to any one genre. I also love being able to help new and indie authors polish their manuscripts.

Q: Am I required to credit you in my book?

A: No, it's not required. It's entirely up to you. But if you choose to, I'll be delighted that you did, and ask that your credit line mentions both my name and the company name.