Do I Need an Editor?
The short answer? Maybe. I highly recommend having at least one critique partner with whom you exchange manuscripts before looking at hiring an editor. Critique partners provide insight by not only helping with your own manuscript, but by giving you the opportunity to critique another manuscript. A Beta reader—a non-writer who reads your manuscript—is also useful for getting feedback from your target audience before looking for a professional edit.
That said, if you’re looking to self-publish your work, you need an editor. Even after several rounds with critique partners and/or developmental editors, hiring at least a proofreader and fact checker is necessary to present the best work possible.
If you’re looking for an agent and a traditional publisher, an outside editor can still be useful. This is especially important if you have a weakness in spelling and/or grammar and cannot find a critique partner with expertise in that area. Agents expect a certain level of language mastery and several agents say that more than a few errors in the query or sample would result in an automatic rejection.
If you’re writing a thesis, editors can be an invaluable part of the process. The best editor for your project will know something about your topic (at least a broad knowledge or a desire to learn about it) and the style guide to which you should format your paper. An academic editor will help you find places your argument can be improved, or where the logic of your paper isn’t coming through. Her goal is to make sure your ideas and research are presented articulately and accurately, while complying to the often minute details of formatting that will make your paper not only read professionally but look professional as well.
My Editing Philosophy and Process
I believe that an editor’s work should be invisible in the final product. I provide my comments in track changes mode through Word. Most of my changes are through comments; only explicit errors (grammar, spelling, etc.) will be corrected in the text itself, still in tracked changes. As I get used to a writer’s style, I will start to make more changes within the text itself, with my ultimate goal remaining to preserve the author’s own voice and argument (if non-fiction/academic) while providing error-free clarity.
See a sample of my editing here.
EDITING AND PAYMENT PROCESS
If you’re interested in using my services, please use the contact form to let me know what kind of work you have, the word count, the type of editing you are interested in, and a short summary of the work (i.e., a query). I will contact you for a five-page sample, which I will return within 2 business days, unless I let you know otherwise. With those five pages, I will include the per-word price for your work and tentatively assign you a place on my calendar. See my availability calendar here for what weeks are currently being assigned. Please not that I can book out several months in advance, so it can be useful to contact me before you’ve completely finished to make sure you have a spot. I maintain some flexibility within my calendar, so once the date gets closer, we can make sure the time frame will still work for you.
A 50,000-word project will have a turnaround of 1 week, 75,000 words of a week and a half, and 100,000 words of two weeks. I ask for 25% of the fee to reserve your spot in my calendar, and another 25% on or before the given start date. I will reach out a week before your start date to confirm your readiness for an edit. Total payment is due within one week of completion of the manuscript.
For projects less than 10,000 words (e.g., essays or querying packages), I am usually able to complete them the week they are provided. Projects less than 10,000 words must be paid in full in advance.
If the payment schedule doesn’t fit your needs and/or budget, contact me anyway if you think I would be a good match. I would be more than happy to go over your situation and your work to see if we can negotiate a payment schedule that will work for you.
For formatting-only projects, I will estimate the number of hours required and base the deposit off the estimate. The remainder will be for any hours not covered by the deposit, regardless of the percentage already paid for.
For projects that combine formatting and a per-word rate, the deposit will be on the per-word rate only. All of the formatting will be paid with the remainder. (So a 25,000-word project billed at $0.015 per word, with 2 hours of formatting will have a deposit of $188 and a remainder of $307 [$187 plus $120 for formatting]).