What Can I Do for You?
First, let's figure out exactly what we can do to polish your project. Upon receipt of your full manuscript, I’ll choose a random portion and will edit up to 1000 words, free of charge. If you prefer a longer sample, I offer paid sample edits of 5000 words for $25. Should you choose to book for a full edit, the $25 will be deducted from your total cost.
You'll receive an estimate based on the evaluation, with an explanation of charges. Pricing will be in accordance with the amount of labor involved, based on a 250-word-per-page industry standard. All US edits will be done with the Chicago Manual of Style unless a particular style guide is required for your project. All pricing is in accordance with the Editorial Freelancers Association, and is, in fact, a fraction of what they recommend.
PLEASE NOTE: I will edit most genres, but I don't accept poetry, LGBT, erotica, or books which have explicit sex scenes; I don’t read these genres and therefore don’t feel I’m the best qualified person to edit them.
Rate begins at .012 per word and includes copyediting. This includes two passes (see COPYEDIT column, right). (Also see note under PROOFREADING section for the "extra" that comes with this package.) For short stories up to 10k words there is a $100 minimum charge.
Your story is ready for this step only if you have already revised your manuscript based on feedback from your beta readers or critique partner, or have had a developmental or content edit. Based on my experience, it's my professional opinion that your manuscript isn't ready for a line edit if your eyes have been the only pair to work on it up to this point.
I use the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word so you can see exactly what I’ve done. I’m a big fan of margin notes to provide explanations if needed when making changes that may seem strange or inconsistent. My thoughts on margin notes: if you are able to see and understand why something is done a certain way, you’re more likely to remember it for the future, and your writing will improve.
I’ll focus on these areas at the line and paragraph level during the first pass:
Awkward sentence construction
Overused words and crutch words (every author has his favorites!)
Showing v. telling (this ties in with overuse of adverbs, though not all adverbs are evil in and of themselves)
Excessive and incorrect dialogue tags (less is more here)
Point of view inconsistencies (I’ll note head-hopping as well)
Irrelevant/superfluous language and ambiguities
Verb tense consistencies
Jargon/clichés (whether phrases or word pairings)
Repetition and redundancies
Choppy sentence flow and pacing
After this first pass, I will return the manuscript to you for approval of suggested line edits. If there’s any reason you wish to keep a particular item as is, please highlight and note that in the margin so I don’t simply correct it again, thinking I missed it somehow. After you’re finished incorporating all edits, send the manuscript to me for the second run-through.
PARTIAL MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION
I will evaluate a partial manuscript to give you an idea of what's working or not, and will provide a written report. No corrections will be made within the manuscript, but global issues will be addressed in the report.
Up to 10k words: $50
10k - 20k words: $80
I'll give you an informed report of the following, as well as any specific questions you may have:
Do I want to keep reading past the first chapters?
Are the characters engaging/do I care about them?
Does the plot "grab" me, and does it make sense? Are there any holes?
Do I have a fair idea of who's who and how they fit in the big picture?
If there's any chronology involved, does it make sense?
Are there too many characters?
Is the dialogue believable? Is it appropriate to the region?
Are there too many clichés? Overused adverbs? Redundant wording?
Do the sentences flow well?
Does the conflict feel contrived? (a.k.a. Yes, this is fiction, but I have to want to believe it!)
odds & ends
I also offer copyediting for blog posts, query letters, agent submissions, websites, and newsletters at $25 per hour spent. One hour minimum charge. (Note: I will not write or tweak your query letters to improve them, as this is not one of my strengths. But I will make sure what you’ve written really shines.)
There will be a 25% upcharge for any "rush" work with a tight deadline. The definition of "tight" depends on the size of the work, the heaviness of the edit, and the deadline itself.
I’ll focus on these copyedit areas on the second pass:
Consistency of names and character traits/facts
Grammar, capitalization, and spelling
Word repetition, correct word choice, and general wordiness
Adherence to current style manuals (Chicago Manual of Style & Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, others if necessary, e.g. military)
Proper handling/punctuation of dialogue and dialogue tags
Overused adverbs and adjectives (though this should be fairly clean after the first pass)
Fact-checking if needed
The copyedit should improve consistency and clarity in your book, and result in its most readable version.
If you’ve already had a line edit on your manuscript and only wish a copyedit, I provide a single pass for the immediate above-mentioned copyedit items only, starting at .008 per word ($100 minimum charge), contingent on the results of the initial evaluation. If a line edit is required, the line edit/copyedit package applies, and this will be noted in my estimate prior to starting any work. This single-pass option does not apply if you have not had any professional editing done yet.
BETA READING—BETA READER FOR HIRE
Why hire a paid beta when there are so many people willing to read for free? It's always wonderful to get something for free, and beta reading is no exception. However, many authors have found that beta reading is often a hit-or-miss situation. Either your betas give great feedback, general "I love it!" feedback which is essentially useless, or they disappear, never to be heard from again. Many writers have also mentioned how difficult it is to get their betas to finish in a timely manner. Paid beta readers WILL read your manuscript. They WILL provide feedback that's useful, and they WILL meet your deadline.
I provide paid beta services at the rate of $1.00 per 1,000 words for fiction, and $1.50 per 1,000 words for nonfiction, with a $40 minimum fee. I read the full manuscript through twice and will answer any questions provided by you if there are specific items you wish to have addressed. If you don't have specific questions, I will provide a writeup of my impressions as a reader and as an editor. No changes will be made to the actual draft.
I encourage you to have a variety of beta readers—include writers and non-writers. Find people who read in your genre and a few who don't typically do so. Find some free readers, certainly, but don't be shy about investing in a paid reader. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Rate for proofreading is $1.50 per page (based on industry standard of 250 words per page) or $25 per hour spent, whichever is more. I do use a timer for accuracy when editing, and I typically read 3,000 words per hour (oftentimes more) during a final proof, depending on whether the work is fiction or nonfiction, technical dissertation with fact-checking/confirmation, or if there are other factors involved. For short stories under 10k words there is a $50 minimum charge.
Proofing is all about that final “look” and is typically the last step in the writing/editing process, after typesetting/formatting & design. Proofreading is catching surface problems that were missed or errors that were introduced during the design phase, and it’s not meant to be a reworking of the manuscript.
If I’m proofreading another editor’s work, I’ll need copy of the final approved manuscript to compare and a style sheet provided if possible, so I can easily identify spelling inconsistencies with names, places, and similar items. Otherwise, I’ll work “blind” and will most likely have questions for you during the process, which may increase time and therefore cost.
NOTE: proofreading at no extra cost to you is included in the line edit/copyedit package, with a set of eyes other than my own as the “final final.”
A final word
Please note that there is no way to guarantee 100% error-free work, although I’ll make a heroic effort to come as close as possible. The accepted industry margin for error is 5%—that is, a copyeditor will catch 95% of all possible errors. Most competent professionals have an error rate of 2% or less.