Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I just finished writing my novel/memoir/poetry collection/hard-hitting non-fiction book/sci-fi fantasy/vampire/werewolf romance/travel adventure/thriller/post-apocalyptic trilogy! Can you edit it for me?
Theoretically, yes. I’ll want to have a quick email chat about the work beforehand, and I’ll want to look at the manuscript before agreeing to work with you.
Q. Can you start tomorrow?
Probably not. I’m often booked months in advance. If you express interest in working with me right away, I’ll keep your name at the top of the list if I have a cancellation.
Q. how long will it take you to edit my book?
Depending on the condition and length of the manuscript, one pass will generally take between four and five weeks for me to complete.
Q. I don’t know which package is right for me. CAn you advise me?
Yes! After taking a quick look at your manuscript, I can recommend the What Next? package, the Deep Cuts package, or the Fine-Tooth Comb package.
Q. What’s the difference?
The What Next? package is a detailed manuscript evaluation with a very light copy edit as needed. It’s a Big Picture service. You’ll receive a long letter from me, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the work. I’ll point to areas including plot, setting, character development, trajectory, etc, and will let you know what I feel the next steps might be.
This is NOT an editing service, and doesn’t include a pre-edit chat. You can also book me for a one- or two-hour follow-up consultation if you wish. A lot of my clients find that useful.
In addition, I’ll address any concerns and answer any specific questions you have about the work.
The Deep Cuts package is a developmental edit—in which I will address strengths and areas that could be stronger—using Track Changes and Comments in Microsoft Word. I’ll dig into the meat of the book and be very specific in the markup area about what’s working, what isn’t, and what you can do to make it your best possible work. You’ll receive the edited manuscript as well as an editing letter from me.
This package includes a half-hour video chat with me prior to my starting work. This chat helps me in making sure I’m focussing on the areas about which you’re most concerned or unsure. You can book me for a follow-up consultation as well, if you like.
The Fine-Tooth Comb package is a detailed copy edit. You’ll want to choose this package if your work has already had a developmental edit, and now you want to shine it up to submission quality. I will use a combination of doing some edits myself, and suggesting others in the markup area. I keep my Track Changes on at all times so that you can see every edit I’ve made.
Q. How much will it cost me?
I charge by the word, so my fee depends entirely on your word count and which package you choose. Feel free to have a look at my editing page for my per word rates.
Q. That’s a lot of money because my book is eleventy trillion words long. CAn we negotiate a lower fee?
Would you ask your dentist or your mechanic that question? If you did, you’d get a variation of my answer, which is “no.” We can negotiate the package and the scope of the work, however, on a case-by-case basis. I also offer specials and sales occasionally.
Q. Fair enough. Do you offer a payment plan?
I do! You can choose to pay the full fee up front (on delivery of the manuscript to me), or make two payments: 50% on delivery of the manuscript to me, and the remaining 50% before I deliver the final edits to you.
Q. How can I pay you? Do you take cheques?
I don’t take cheques. You can pay me through e-transfer (the best option for us both as it’s a no-fee service), PayPal, or Stripe. A link to my PayPal and Stripe accounts is here. Of the three, I vastly prefer e-transfer.
Q. Do I get a receipt?
All of the electronic payment services available to you will send you a confirmation number for your payment. That’s all you need (in Canada) for tax purposes if you’re planning to claim the editing as professional development.
Q. I found someone who will edit my book for half of what you’re charging. They don’t have a track record, but I only care about price.
Good luck with that.
Q. I want to work with you, but we’ve never met. Shouldn’t we have some kind of written agreement about the scope of the work, your fee, the timelines, etc?
Excellent idea! I use the Editors’ Association of Canada’s contract with details that are relevant to you and our work together. We would sign off on it electronically once we’re both happy with the terms.
Q. So when I get your edits, the book will be perfect and error-free, right?
Nope. The standard for editorial work is 95% accuracy. I strive for perfection, but I’m only human. All humans are only human. Some errors may get by me.
You’re a writer so I assume you’re also a reader. Can you remember the last time you read a book that didn’t have a single error in it that got past everyone? Me neither.
Q. What if I don’t like your edits, and I don’t want to pay you?
You won’t receive my final edits until after you’ve paid me. Until then, they belong to me. Your work does not belong to me; however, my edits on your work do.
If you’ve hired me as a professional editor, I will assume that you know your book needs editing, and that you will be open to my suggestions for changes or cuts. I will further assume that you are not a diva, that you’re going in on good faith, as I am, and that you want to improve your work. Isn’t that why you’re hiring me?
Q. I’m writing this book with my wife/husband/significant other/mom/dog. They’ll be offering feedback on your edits after you’re done.
They can offer. It’s an offer I can refuse. The only feedback I’m interested in getting is yours.
Q. I want you to work in google docs/ snapchat/Adobe/pages/whatsapp/Instagram/Power point/keynote/excel/quark. Cool by you?
Nope. Microsoft Word. The end.
Q. so… what exactly do you do?
Depending on what package you’ve chosen and the condition of the manuscript (HINT: you want to read and edit it yourself before sending it to me), I will work in the markup area using Track Changes and Comments. I’ll advise you on areas that could use your eyes, and I’ll make some edits myself in the body of the text.
Using Comments, I’ll query you about areas of the work that are unclear to me, I’ll flag text for which you might need to get permission to reprint, I’ll tell you what’s working, and I’ll suggest revisions as appropriate.
Every edit is different, and my process will be tailored to your work. When I edit poetry collections, for example, I print the manuscript out and work with it by hand.
Q. Will you edit my book again after I’ve done rewrites?
For an additional fee, yes. Otherwise, no. My package rates are for one round of edits/evaluation.
Q. Will you edit this one short story?
Usually, no. I work with full manuscripts almost exclusively.
Q. What if I have a ton of leftover questions afterward? Can i just email you?
You can book a consultation with me following your receipt of my edits if you’d like to talk to me about next steps or anything else. A one-hour follow-up consultation costs $99 CDN, and for $175 CDN, you can have my full and undivided attention via video chat for two hours.
Q. CAn I take you out for coffee and pick your brain?
For $99/hour, you most certainly can. And I drink tea.
Q. Can i send you a chapter to edit so we can see if we’re a good fit? Will you do a free sample edit on part of my book so I can see if you’re any good?
Nope and nope. The way to find out if we’re a good fit is by you sending me a .doc file of your entire book. We’ll pick the package that’s right for you, we’ll sign a contract and sort a payment plan, and then away I go. For insight into my personality, editing style, and all-around coolness, feel free to take a look at my portfolio (where you’ll find several books I’ve worked on that have gone on to international acclaim) and the list of nice things people have said about me on my Testimonials page.
Q. I’m really nervous to show you my work. How do I know you’re not going to tear it apart?
That’s not how I operate. My M.O. is kindness, confidentiality, positive mentorship, and encouragement. And fun. A video chat with me is a great time.
I don’t usually believe in tough love when it comes to editing. Though I will certainly advise you to make some changes to the text, I’ll be kind and gentle about it. My editing style is to ask questions rather than stamp my will on your work. It’s your book, after all.
Q. Can i bug you with more questions while you have my manuscript?
Absolutely! The lines of communication are completely open the entire time I have your work. I find that writers will often forget all the things they wanted me to look for. If something occurs to you half-way through the process, feel free to send me a note about it. I can’t answer questions that haven’t been asked.
Q. Can I write you an endorsement if i think your work is great?
Why, yes. Yes, you can. If you feel moved to send me a few lines about my work, my personality, or anything else you think might be helpful for my future clients, I’ll be very grateful. I will publish it on my website and thank you eternally.
Q. can you help me get an agent/publisher after i’ve done some rewrites?
Nope. If you want me to look into publishing opportunities as part of your evaluation or edit, I’d be happy to do that. However, finding publishers and agents is not what I do. That’s work you need to do on your own.
Q.CAn you help me market my book?
Nope. My wheelhouse does not include that feature. However, I’m always happy to signal boost writing/books that are traditionally published after I’ve edited them. Just let me know the good news, and I’ll broadcast it.
Q. I have a great idea for a book, but I’m not a writer. will you write my life story?
Oh, honey. I’m looking for time to write my own life story, never mind yours. Google is your friend here. Search “hire a ghostwriter”. They’re out there.
Q. Do you have a self-editing course I can buy if I’m not ready to hire an editor just yet?
I will have by the end of the summer. Watch this space.