I really need to keep up with this! I actually wound up landing two jobs at the same time shortly after my last post. One was soul-killing data entry on third shift about an hour and a half away from home; I have never been so relieved to see a job end. The other was freelance editing for Crescent Moon Press.
Freelance editing is entirely awesome. I’ve been working with incredibly talented writers and I like to think they’re even becoming friends. They’re professional and decent people with a real interest in making sure their work will be the best it can be. I love their work enough that I’m on pins and needles hoping that I’ll be the editor chosen for the next book in the series or the next book they write.
So far I’ve finished editing 2 novels and 2 novellas.
- Justin Macumber’s ‘A Minor Magic’
- Lindsey Loucks’ ‘The Grave Winner’
- Cindy Young-Turner’s ‘Journey to Hope’
- Diane M Haynes’ ‘Sirocco’
I love all of them and I’m hoping to work with the authors again!
Right now I’m working on Shawna Romkey’s ‘Speak of the Devil’ and Jody A Kessler’s ‘Death Lies Between Us’. I’m enjoying working with both authors immensely! I think I’m very nearly done with Shawna’s book, and Jody’s isn’t all that far behind. Honestly, the thing I’m finding most puzzling about editing is that I really miss these books when I finish them. I’ve already decided that as soon as they’re published I definitely have to get my own copy of each. I’m going to pretend that’s not an emotional reaction and that it’s just “for my portfolio”. That’s a business expense, right?
Speaking of business, apparently freelance editing is a good business for me, even in the wilds of Northern Vermont. It has a lot to say in its favor. I meet nice people with whom I have things in common. I get to read books with a metaphorical red pen in hand and no one is upset about my nit-picky habits. I like helping other authors make their work shine. It’s nice to be appreciated for doing a good job. It’s nice to be appreciated for working fast. If something comes up at school or with after-school care I can still get my work done without dropping the ball on the home front. Honestly, I’m really close to talking myself into freelance editing, copyediting, and ghostwriting (along with my own writing, of course) as my only business, if only because it seems to be what God, the universe, and everything is handing to me.
Now that the possibility is really settling in with me I’m working on trying to establish per-page rates. There need to be different rates, of course. Level one would be light editing / proofreading and only involve correcting typos, grammatical errors, word choice, and consistency. Level two would be medium editing and add tweaking to better convey the author’s intent, finding and plugging plot holes and suggesting additions to keep the reader from being confused. Level three would be all that but start off with a full developmental edit with suggestions on how to improve the story itself. I looked at the rates charged by other professionals and they’re wanting an average of $6, $8 and $15 respectively, with full ghostwriting coming in somewhere between $25 and $35 a page. Those seem a little high to me, but a low ball price tells an author that your work is sub-par. What would be fair?
On the fairness front, I don’t want to take an author’s money to try to fix a manuscript that simply can’t be salvaged. I want to tell authors up front that if I don’t think I can fix it I’ll return it and their deposit with reasons why I won’t take it. I never want to be one of those horror stories that authors tell each other about terrible freelance editors who take their money and then do a terrible job. Authors may not have a centralized ‘Angie’s List’ type of rating system for editors, but word of mouth gets around and that’s not the kind of words I want.