I'm sure you have lots of questions. Some may be about me specifically, some may about the editing and publishing process in general. I'll do my best to answer some of the common questions I get. If you don't see your question here, do feel free to email me.
Q I've finished my book and need editing–what now?
A: Writing the book is only the first half of getting published, and that's true whether you plan to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing. In this answer, I'm going to assume that this is your first book and that you plan to self-publish.
For the purposes of putting your editorial team in place–and yes, I said team–you need to determine how you're going to meet your various needs for publishing. See my article Great Expectations: What to Expect during the Editing Process for more information. Once you've decided which level of service you need from whom, then it's time to start booking your slots. Plan for plenty of time of time between phases, plan to make plenty of editing passes yourself, and try to stay calm 🙂
Q How should I send my materials to you?
A: For editing and proofreading projects, I prefer a Word doc, set to Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, 1-inch margins. If you have a preference for something different to preserve formatting, let me know. I generally don't worry about it as long as I can work on it without it suffering eye strain 🙂
For Oops Detection®, we do final passes on a Kindle. If you do your own formatting, you probably want to format your book before sending it to us in .mobi form. This will let us also check for formatting glitches. If you don't do your formatting, you can just send an RTF file or a Word doc.
For ways to format your document as you work that will save you time, headache, and maybe even money, check out this article: How to Pre-Format Your Manuscript.
Q What references do you use?
A: I have a lot of references at my disposal that I use on a regular basis (grammar books, etc.) but my two go-to, must-have, use-them-thirty-times-a-day sources are The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (as well as their Unabridged, online free, French, Spanish, and Medical dictionaries). For UK & Australian clients who choose to maintain UK spellings and style, I use New Oxford Style Manual and Oxford Dictionaries.
Q Why don't you have firm rates listed for editing?
A: Every project is different and has its own unique considerations. I do give a ballpark, though even that can be problematic as there's no way to really know ahead of time what your project will need. Do contact me, though—I'm always happy to do a sample and provide a quote.
Q Do you book clients in advance? How does that work?
A: Yes! Get in touch and we can see if our schedules mesh.
Q How many projects do you work on at a time? How do you determine which project is next?
A: It depends. For editing, I will generally work on one project at a time, though I might do smaller assignments (blurbs, advertising copy, etc.) during the same time frame. Oops Detection and proofreading are handled, for the most part, by my assistants, so those services run on separate schedules.
As for how I determine what project is next–projects are scheduled based on how long I think they'll take. I usually have projects booked up in advance, and I work on them as deadlines dictate.
For Oops Detection clients, I add those to a queue on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if you've pre-booked my services, you basically get to cut in line. Let's say I have four books waiting for Oops Detection–A, B, C and D. We're currently working on “Book A.” You let me know a couple of months ago, though, that you'd have a book ready for me now. That means that as soon as I finish “Book A,” I'll start on your project. If you hadn't made a reservation, you'd come after “Book D.” That would suck. Schedule in advance if possible 🙂
Q Can I get my initial deposit back?
A: Generally speaking, no. I don't charge a booking fee, and I don't usually invoice deposits until just before I start work, so you have a lot of lead time to cancel or reschedule if necessary.
Q I thought my book was ready, but it's not. What now?
A: Once in a while, I get a book for Oops Detection and it turns out that it really needs another editing pass. If this happens, I'll let you know. Please don't shoot the messenger 🙂 As well, you might have thought you just needed proofreading, but it turns out that you need more in-depth work done. Again–please don't be mad at me for this. I don't like being the bearer of bad news any more than you like being the recipient, but at the same time, I want your book to be the best it can be. If you contracted for editing to begin with, we can figure out the difference in your estimated bill and go from there. If you were an Oops Detection client, your reading fee will be credited toward the initial deposit for proofreading, minus the fee for work done. Of course, you're always free to settle your invoice as it stands and make other arrangements for editing.
For more information on what to expect at the various steps of the editing process, check out my article Great Expectations: What to Expect during the Editing Process.
Q Money Matters…
A: Here are the answers to the major questions:
- I invoice using Zoho Books. You'll be sent to PayPal or Stripe where you can then choose your payment methods and such. Please wait to pay until you receive your invoice–it makes it easier for me to keep my bookkeeping square, and Zoho makes it easier for you, too, as you can track your projects and invoices as needed.
- I accept (and prefer) PayPal. I will accept physical checks, but again – I GREATLY prefer PayPal. It's quick, easy, and I can print a nifty little report to take to my accountant when April rolls around.
- Payment schedule: Projects will be invoiced by phase (developmental editing, line editing, and so forth). Project phases of $500 or less will be invoiced when work begins. Generally project phases of $500 or greater will be invoiced in two parts, with a 50% deposit due up front and the remainder due upon completion, although this may change depending on projected turnaround time. Invoices will be sent within 72 hours of the project's start. Files will be delivered upon final payment.
- Invoices will be provided for all projects.
Q What About Professional Organizations?
A: I believe in staying up to date with industry news and also networking with authors, learning new skills, and furthering my knowledge of the writing craft. I also network with other services providers and try to give back to the self-publishing community. Here are some of the organizations I belong to:
- The American Copy Editors Society: This is a terrific professional organization for editors, both practicing and aspiring. They provide ongoing education, industry news, and opportunities for networking.
- Association of Independent Publishing Professionals: A professional organization that I cofounded. Its mission is to help freelancers with the business side of our professions. Members consist of editors, artists, website designers, author's assistants, formatters, narrators–anyone in the publishing industry who works with indie authors and small presses.
- Editorial Freelancer's Assocation: I belong to the EFA for the same reason I subscribe to Merriam-Webster and own a huge collection of reference materials—to enhance the skills which will make your book the best it can be.
- Romance Writers of America: RWA advances the professional and common business interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy and by increasing public awareness of the romance genre. They work to support the efforts of their members to earn a living, to make a full-time career out of writing romance—or a part-time one that generously supplements their main income.
- Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America: SFWA promotes, advances, and supports science fiction and fantasy writing in the United States and elsewhere by educating and informing the general public and supporting and empowering science fiction and fantasy writers. They also host the Nebula Awards, a prestigious industry award.