Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you work only for publishers, or do you also work for individuals and other kinds of businesses?
A: I work primarily for publishers; however, I welcome inquiries from anyone seeking editorial services.
Q: What do you charge?
A: Use the NEED A QUOTE? button in the upper right corner of this page. Relax. Nothing goes into an automatic collecting monster that will sell your information or put you on a weird eternal telemarketing list. All you will find there is a list of specific questions about your project and my contact information. You can get a rough idea of cost from the Rates & Services page.
Q: I like to shop around. How do I compare your editorial services to somebody else’s?
A: Use the NEED A QUOTE? button in the upper right corner of this page to get an estimated cost. If you are still interested, you will supply me with several actual pages from your manuscript, which I will process and return to you with a quote for the full project. Submit the exact same manuscript pages to all your editor candidates, and you will be able to compare cost, quality of workmanship, and compatibility in working relationship.
Q: I want some
help with something I’m writing, but I’m not sure exactly what kind of
help. Can you help me figure out what I need to be doing?
A: Maybe. Feel free to contact me using the NEED A QUOTE? button. Just put your question in the Description box, and I will respond within two days.
Q: I have a book or story I have written. Will you tell me if it’s good?
A: No. Literary critic is a different occupation from what I do. I will tell you what your manuscript needs and help you prepare your manuscript for your target reader. My job is to ensure that your book is as compelling as it can be.
Q: I’ve been over
this manuscript a million times. I’m really good at English, so I know
there aren’t very many problems, if any. Do I really need to have it
A: I recommend at least a copyedit by a competent editor if you are going to present your hard work to any kind of an audience whose judgement matters to you. Copyeditors are usually writers too, and we can all produce a perfect manuscript—that is, until handing it off to another copyeditor, who then scrawls all over it in screaming red ink. A second pair of eyes will pick out all kinds of things that got past the author’s diligence. Frequently, these are the super obvious errors that an author’s own eye will skip past, seeing what it believes must be there—such as the “l” in “public”—the very things that will jump out at readers and inspire snarky comments in Amazon reviews. Copyeditors may also spot gaps in needed information, unintentional inconsistencies, and a host of issues you don't want to leave for your readers to find.
Q: I’m really
terrible at English, but I used Spellcheck. Can you just go over my
article and do a quick fix on just the bad grammar?
A: I want to say this kindly. No. And you really don’t want me to say yes. There is no point in spending money to have a manuscript tidied up here and there. Based on the sample you supply, I will give you an honest assessment of how much work will be required to bring the quality of your manuscript in line with the demands of your publisher. If you are your own publisher, I will help you understand what you need to demand from yourself.
Q: If my manuscript is really, really clean will it cost less?
A: Most likely. The final quote, based on a review of your sample pages, will reflect how much time I expect to have to spend on your manuscript.
Q: Do you have a problem with sex and violence?
A: Not if you are Mickey Spillane. I reserve the right to return a manuscript and terminate our agreement if the subject matter exceeds my comfort level. If you as the author have a sense that what you have written may be objectionable, a heads-up would be appreciated. A work that is excessively and gratuitously violent or primarily erotic may be better off in the competent hands of another copyeditor.
Q: Can you be fair minded with materials of a political nature?
A: You are entitled to express your views grammatically, whether I agree with you or not. I will not alter content to soften or undermine any assertion unless it appears to be the accidental byproduct of a badly formed sentence. In which case, the alteration would be accompanied by a comment such as "Did you intend to say this?" Exceptions would be materials advocating violence against others or activities of a malicious and/or criminal nature. In that case, I reserve the right to return a manuscript and terminate our agreement.
Q: What if I don’t like your changes?
A: Unless otherwise agreed upon, your manuscript will never be permanently altered. If your manuscript is in Word, Word’s Track Changes feature will be used so that you can accept or reject edits. The final shape of the manuscript is entirely in your hands.
Q: Do you do ghost writing?
A: Your life story? Yes, I can help with that. Your college entrance essay? No.