Enlisting the services of an editor

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Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby stephendag » 27 Nov 2011, 02:40

I am thinking of asking a work-friend who is an editor to read and edit my 500-page novel. How do I approach this conversation? It would be right, I feel, to offer to pay her, but how much? Or am I being too altruistic? Should I ask this as a favor? Do I let her bring up the topic of payment?

Thanks in advance for helping this newbie out!

Stephen
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby HillaryJ » 27 Nov 2011, 02:56

Stephen,

You can ask friends to beta read for you, but if you're looking for actual editing, you need to pay for it. Critical reading and writing up edit letters is time consuming. I'm talking days, not hours, for a manuscript of this length (assuming 500 pages at 250 words a page).

The estimates I've seen are for 3-5 cents a word, or you can try to negotiate a flat fee at a slightly-reduced rate. Have you considered taking a writing/editing workshop? That might be a more cost-effective approach and, in workshops, you can get multiple opinions rather than a single one.
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby Ryan » 27 Nov 2011, 12:37

Depends on your definition of "Editing." If you just want her to read and give onetime feedback then maybe a few drinks and dinner would be fine. If you want her with you for the long haul of working out rough spots and and in-depth stirring of the pot then payment would be in order. Some editing services offer something like a Reader's Response. Not sure where you are at but that could be a good place to start. Not sure about other writers and their experiences but I edited my book for as long as it was "done." Two years for it to read beginning to end and another two years of editing. Whatever you decide...give your baby(manuscript) the care she deserves. :)

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Professional feedback on the overall concept and presentation of the book or story. This is especially helpful for authors who want guidance in self-editing or revising before deeper editing begins.
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby Mira » 27 Nov 2011, 13:11

I think I'd ask if she's available and then ask what she usually charges. Even if she's a work-buddy, I'd pay the going rate, because that's ALOT of work. Or arrange a work trade.

Be aware, she may turn you down because editing someone's work can get emotional, and she may want to keep that out of the workplace. (Something for you to think about as well, actually, just to be careful) You could also ask her for recommendations, if it doesn't work out for some reason.

Also, just a caution - have you seen her editing work? You really have to be careful who you give your WIP to, you want to make sure it's someone who 'gets' your work, and is very good at what they do. The wrong person can send your WIP in the wrong direction. Not every editor is right for every work.

There are alot of editors out there, even if you know her, I'd think about whether this one is the right one for you!

Good luck!
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby Skellie » 11 Dec 2011, 03:49

Be careful about hiring friends and colleagues. Though it feels easier because you can see them face to face, it doesn't always end well! Unless you are a huge fan of the editor's work, I would consider looking online for editor recommendations from reputable authors. If they agree to work with you, you'll know it's because they're doing it as a professional gig and not out of a sense of obligation to you.
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby Holly » 17 Dec 2011, 16:39

Skellie wrote:Be careful about hiring friends and colleagues. Though it feels easier because you can see them face to face, it doesn't always end well! Unless you are a huge fan of the editor's work, I would consider looking online for editor recommendations from reputable authors. If they agree to work with you, you'll know it's because they're doing it as a professional gig and not out of a sense of obligation to you.


I agree with this advice.

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/t ... 419.0.html

The Kindleboards Yellow Pages lists freelance editors. I would ask for a sample edit, 5-10 pages or so. I would also draw up a written agreement, signed by both parties, that covers the price, delivery date, and a ceiling on the cost.
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby marion » 17 Dec 2011, 23:38

1. Sample edit.
2. Written agreement.
Thanks, Holly. Practical.
Also, I agree with people who caution about friends & colleagues. I also find that hiring people from your faith congregation can be bummer, if you're not happy with the result.
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby Rachel Ventura » 13 Jan 2012, 17:11

A nickel a word doesn't sound like much in print, but when you do the math, an average 75K word ms works out to $3,750. :shock: This is something I'd love to look into, but four grand is waaaaay out of my ballpark. Which sucks big time, because any non-zero integer is above that line too. :|

It'd be nice if these services operated on a "no fee unless successful" model, i.e. in the hands of someone who would actually pay you, and then you the editor. But then the editors might not be too successful either, now would they? :roll:
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby MattLarkin » 17 Jan 2012, 07:17

Rachel Ventura wrote:A nickel a word doesn't sound like much in print, but when you do the math, an average 75K word ms works out to $3,750. :shock: This is something I'd love to look into, but four grand is waaaaay out of my ballpark. Which sucks big time, because any non-zero integer is above that line too. :|

Many pro editors will do a 75k novel for less than that. Perhaps $1500 to $2000, depending on the editor.

It'd be nice if these services operated on a "no fee unless successful" model, i.e. in the hands of someone who would actually pay you, and then you the editor. But then the editors might not be too successful either, now would they? :roll:

Kind of like traditional publishing, then. Except asking someone to gamble on you, without claiming the high percent if they win?

Typically, the person making the gamble gets the chance at the big payoff. Otherwise, what's the benefit in the risk? In self-publishing, you pay up front, but if you're successful, you more than recap. In traditional, the editor pays, but if the book does well, you still only get a small percentage.
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby Rachel Ventura » 20 Jan 2012, 00:20

MattLarkin wrote:
Rachel Ventura wrote:A nickel a word doesn't sound like much in print, but when you do the math, an average 75K word ms works out to $3,750. :shock: This is something I'd love to look into, but four grand is waaaaay out of my ballpark. Which sucks big time, because any non-zero integer is above that line too. :|

Many pro editors will do a 75k novel for less than that. Perhaps $1500 to $2000, depending on the editor.

If the non-zero integers weren't in there I might be able to afford it... :lol:

It'd be nice if these services operated on a "no fee unless successful" model, i.e. in the hands of someone who would actually pay you, and then you the editor. But then the editors might not be too successful either, now would they? :roll:

Kind of like traditional publishing, then. Except asking someone to gamble on you, without claiming the high percent if they win?

The "no fee unless successful" model is what trial lawyers promote. The trick is, they settle, which constitutes a marginal "success." (Well, a marginal victory, and a huge success for the lawyer.) :roll: No, I'd like to see a more level playing field where the gambler wins but so does the race horse.

Typically, the person making the gamble gets the chance at the big payoff. Otherwise, what's the benefit in the risk? In self-publishing, you pay up front, but if you're successful, you more than recap. In traditional, the editor pays, but if the book does well, you still only get a small percentage.

Trouble is, you're usually only successful if you, yourself, put in all the effort. And not everyone can be an expert in everything. I read some article from a British paper saying that Amanda Hocking struggled with depression all her life and signed with St. Martins because of burnout. She's probably very introverted like I am, really shy and a little eccentric; the article said that her decision to self-publish (and the immense success thereafter) was a fluke, that she just wanted a relatively quick way to make $300 to get a ticket to some Muppets festival in Minneapolis or something. :lol: She's not at all a brash go-getter like John Locke or Joe Konrath. She's, well, just a kid. A kid with a sort of quirky obsession with '80s artifacts (she mentions the John Hughes movies a lot) and a desire to create something a lot like the Jim Henson flicks and TV shows she probably watched growing up. (All of which I loved too.) A kid who did a lot of work that was probably 80 million light-years away from her comfort zone and deservedly achieved success because of it. But she's set a standard, one that's tough to meet, never mind beat. Not everyone is going to be a Hocking or a Locke or a Konrath; proof of concept doesn't automatically create a "trend." I'd think most people self-pubbing would hope to be. Otherwise... where's the benefit in the risk?

Amanda said she hired a freelance editor but that even still, she doesn't think her books were written well, and felt she coulda-shoulda-woulda worked on them more to make them better. Myself, I'm every bit a perfectionist and would want something what's called a "developmental editor" to get things on a good path right away. I don't know how much these folks charge, but it's worth looking into. (If only I could have some time, a loan, and time alone to look into these things.) ;)
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Re: Enlisting the services of an editor

Postby MattLarkin » 20 Jan 2012, 08:06

Developmental editors (freelance) are less expensive than copyeditors, but a good one is still going to cost several hundred dollars, at least. If you have no money, a critique group may better serve your current needs. I use a developmental editor, but I actually got incredibly useful feedback from my beta readers both before and after consulting with him.
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