How It Works
When you’re ready to have your document edited, please send me an email—I will respond within one business day. If you’d like to discuss your project over the phone, we can set up a time to talk that’s convenient for both of us. We’ll discuss the type of document you’d like edited, how long it is, what kind of help you’d like, and what you plan to do with it afterward.
Requesting References and Samples
Before you entrust your manuscript to someone for editing, you’ll want to know about the quality of the work. I would be happy to provide you with references from authors with whom I’ve worked. There are also several testimonials throughout this website. You’ll also find links to some published documents I edited, online. My Certified Professional Editor (CPE) designation is also proof that I have passed four rigorous editing tests and have been assessed to be at a level of excellence by the Editors’ Association of Canada.
What to Provide
Once we’ve discussed your project, I’ll ask you to send me a short sample (usually five pages) to give me an idea of the type(s) of editing your document needs. I’ll also ask you for the number of words in your document. (The number of pages is helpful, but it’s not very accurate.) If you’re using MS Word®, it will provide you with a word count. I sometimes request the full document, if there are several parts that are very different. If it’s an academic work, I might also ask the length of the references, and I’ll request any university or journal guidelines you might have.
Once I’m familiar with your project, I will prepare a written quote, which I’ll send you by email. The quote will also include the type(s) of editing the document needs; the length of the document; how long it will take for me to send you the first draft; how you should submit documents to me; what style guides, dictionaries and other sources I will use; terms of payment; and anything else you and I agree to. Sometimes either you or I will request a contract, in which case, we’ll use the Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement from the Editors’ Association of Canada.
When you receive the quote, you can look it over and ask questions. Once you’re satisfied with the details of the quote, it will be up to you to give me the go-ahead. The timeline included in the quote begins once I have your agreement in writing (email or contract) and your complete and final draft.
I will request that you send me your document as an email attachment, in MS Word® or similar program. I will edit it using Word®’s Track Changes feature, which shows any additions in the text in a different colour. I will then return your document as an email attachment. You may also request the document as a clean copy, with the changes accepted. In addition, I will send you general feedback on your manuscript.
Receiving Your Edited First Draft
Once you receive the edited draft, you’ll need to go through the changes and decide whether to accept or reject them. Once you’ve finished going through the edited manuscript, you can send it to me for a second, light edit. When I receive your completed first draft, I will let you know how long I will need to go through it for a second, light edit. When your document is ready, I will send it to you by email.
Invoice and Payment
Payment terms will be agreed upon before the project begins, based on my quote. If additional costs come up, I will let you know immediately. Sometimes, I will request a deposit. If the project is long term, I may request partial payment at intervals through the project, or half payment after the first draft. Once your project is complete, or at whatever intervals we agree to, I will send you an invoice by email, including applicable taxes. Payment is always due on receipt. You can mail a cheque or money order or pay by email money transfer, using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW?
Here are answers to some questions you might have about editing. If you’d like to know more about how to work with us, click here.
With so many types of editing, should the editor I hire be able to do all of them?
With the variety of editing roles, editors come with a variety of skill sets. Many editors are skilled in more than one area, but it’s not safe to assume that all editors are competent to carry out all types of editing. An editor may be highly skilled in only one or two areas—being able to do them all is not an expectation. Click here to read about a few of the major steps in book editing and the roles editors play in each.
Saying I need an editor makes it sound like I’m not a good writer. Why do I need an editor if I’m a good writer and I’ve checked my work over several times?
Needing an editor doesn’t mean the work was poorly written. But the author is usually too close to the work to be objective and often doesn’t see where changes are needed to correct or improve it. The author might stumble over a problem, not know how to handle it, get used to it after a few readings, and decide it’s fine. Editors bring an objective eye to the task.
Should my manuscript be in its final form before I send it to an editor?
That depends on what you mean by final form. The writing should be as polished as you can make it, to shorten the editor’s task (thereby reducing the cost to you). But there are many steps that take place after the editing process, and it only creates delays if they’re done ahead of the edit. Some of these steps include adding pictures, creating an index, adding page numbers to a table of contents, and saving the file in a format that’s ready for publishing, such as a PDF. If you’re tempted to do any of these first, ask an editor before you take the time.
I’m ready to have my manuscript edited. How should I choose an editor?
You’ve poured your heart (along with blood, sweat, and probably a few tears) into your manuscript and you’re not about to casually pass it along to just anyone. Here are a few pointers to help you decide about the qualifications of an editor.
I’m trying to find an editor—where should I look?
One of the best ways to find an editor is through word of mouth—ask others if they were satisfied with editors they’ve worked with. You can also search the Online Directory of Editors on the Editors’ Association of Canada website, at www.editors.ca/ode/search or post a vacancy on their job board at http://www.editors.ca/hire/job board/index.html.
The editor I’m thinking of hiring lives far from me. Will this pose a problem?
Almost all editing is done on-screen. This means you can expect to exchange versions of your manuscript by email. Editors often live on the other side of the country or even in a different country from their clients, but this shouldn’t matter. (Of course, it’s nice to meet in person, but meetings take time, which makes your project more expensive.)
What ever happened to hard-copy editing (working with a paper manuscript)?
Ah, the good ol’ days of curling up with a manuscript bristling with sticky notes! It might sound enjoyable, but there are lots of advantages to electronic editing, and it has become the method of choice. (Read more here.) (link to “What ever happened to hard-copy editing?)
Should I sign a contract to work with an editor?
You may be asked to sign a contract or agreement, though not every editor does this. Or you may decide you would be more comfortable having one and be the one to initiate the request for a contract. Here is the Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement from the Editors’ Association of Canada, which can be adapted to your particular details: (link here to http://www.editors.ca/hire/sfea/index.html or link to a PDF or .doc of the contract, which I can provide.)
Don’t editors correct spelling and grammar? I know Stephen King and Margaret Atwood often thank their editors—do they really need help with that?
The term editor is used in so many different ways that it’s common for people to refer to very different activities when they talk about it: magazine editors, developmental editors, copy editors, substantive editors, production editors—the list goes on. Some may fulfill only one role, and others may wear several editing hats.
I’m thinking of having my aunt edit my book. She is a retired English teacher, and she’s excellent at grammar and spelling. Wouldn’t she do a good job?
: While many people have a strong command of the English language, that doesn’t make them good editors. As with any skilled profession, competence as an editor comes from the combination of knowledge, skill and practice. Different types of editing call for different types of skills, but there are some universal “must haves” for any editor.
How do I know when my document is ready for editing?
After you’ve finished writing your book, report, or other document, go through it a few times to try to pick up any areas that need to be improved or corrected. Then send it along to the editor. If you wait until it’s perfect, it might never leave your hands.
How do I know what kind of editing my document needs?
While you might have an idea of what kind of help you need from an editor, frankly, most editors don’t expect the author to know. Often, the editor receives the manuscript from an author who is sure the writing is fine and just needs a quick “once over,” only to find that much more is needed. Usually, the best way to find out what kind of editing your manuscript needs is to ask the editor.
What kind of qualifications should an editor have? How do I know the person has the right training?
A wide range of people call themselves editors, and it’s tough to know who’s right for your project. There is certainly no single way for editors to become competent at what they do. Some people say they’ve always been strong in English writing, and enjoy editing other people’s work, but that’s not enough to call yourself an editor. As with any skilled profession, competence as an editor comes from the combination of three elements: knowledge, skill and practice. Link to “How do you know a qualified editor when you see one?”
I’ve found an editor I’m considering hiring. What happens next?
Once you connect with an editor you’d like to work with, you’ll likely be asked to send a sample of your manuscript. This allows the editor to get an idea of a) what type(s) of editing is/are needed and b) how much work will be involved. You’ll also be asked about the length of your manuscript. Based on this information, the editor should send you a written quote with the fee and time line. Read more about my process here.
How can I expect to exchange versions of my manuscript with the editor?
Most editing is done on-screen, which means you can expect to exchange versions of your manuscript by email. Usually, the editor’s suggested changes and any specific comments will be directly on your manuscript, often using the Track Changes feature in MS Word®. If you find it difficult to read the marked-up text, you can also request a clean copy with the changes incorporated, for ease of reading.
How much should I expect to pay to have my manuscript edited?
Editors’ fees vary widely, depending on the number and type of tasks the editor is expected to carry out. There are various ways of quoting, too: by the word, page, hour, or project. Regardless of the type of quote, most editors will have an hourly rate in mind as a basis on which to calculate the fee, and this can vary anywhere from $30 to $100 or more.
If I don’t have a contract, can we still formalize our working relationship?
If you don’t have a contract, make sure the editor outlines the details in an email, so you both have them in writing. Minimally, this includes what the editor will do, when you can expect the edited manuscript, how many edits you can expect, how it will be delivered, the fee, and what happens if one of you decides to terminate the project before it’s completed.