What does a book edit cost?
fee is 1.5cents
per word per software word count plus $30 for return of your manuscript.
(EXAMPLE: 60,000 word manuscript is $930)
editorial services are somewhat expensive, but how much is your future
as a writer worth to you? College tuition is a major expense for any
profession. Similarly, editorial services educate you to succeed in
the publishing industry, and the expense is a major investment in achieving
editors with comparable experience charge more, but that doesn't mean
that their edits are more effective or greater in scope.
I don't incur large advertising costs to recover through increasing
my fee, nor do I pay anyone to maintain my web site. As a result of
my minimal expenses and the fact that I'm an honest man, I'm in a position
to charge a more reasonable fee for an in-depth edit that includes manuscript
markup and a detailed straightforward report that explains what you'll
need to do to improve your manuscript to commercial standards.
I don't just point out errors; I explain them, providing you
with vital information to enable you to perform a stronger rewrite.
For instance, if your manuscript includes point of view violations,
a major reason for fiction rejection, I offer a thorough explanation
of the concept and provide easy to understand examples. In a recent
edit of a competently written manuscript I identified 23 format issues,
32 other minor problems, and 17 potentially fatal serious infractions.
out my testimonials from prior clients. None were solicited; I asked
permission to use these quotes only after the client voluntarily chose
to thank me for my services.
information is available at Schedule
can I realistically expect from eBooks and self-publication?
information about this issue abounds. Common sense tells you, however,
that there will soon be millions of self-published eBooks online, so
how will a browsing reader find yours? Conventional forms of promotion
will likely produce minimal results. Without a solid method of informing
potential readers that your book exists and where to find it, your sales
will likely be limited to friends and family. It's a sad truth that
people in the industry are reluctant to admit because they want you
to believe that their services are necessary for you to succeed. My
advice is to have a solid, creative marketing plan firmly in mind before
you venture into self-publication of any kind.
keep in mind that even when you self-publish, your work will be judged
by commercial standards; therefore, it's crucial to assure that your
manuscript conforms to commercial expectations. There is no replacement
for the services of a skilled and honest editor to help you improve
your writing and produce professional results.
Why do I need a book editor?
you plan to submit your manuscript to traditional publishers, you
should eliminate all possible errors in advance. Manuscript submissions
may be rejected for the simplest of reasons, without having read a single
word. Likewise, you could be unknowingly committing major errors. You
have only one opportunity to make a first impression on a publisher;
a professional edit will maximize the impression you make.
If you plan to self-publish, you'll want your printed book
to compare favorably with commercially published books, all of which
are subjected to thorough edits; that's what assures consistent quality
from one professional book to the next. To maximize your self-publication
experience, have your manuscript professionally edited and avoid potential
embarrassment by correcting all errors prior to printing.
What can I expect from a book edit?
edit includes marking up your manuscript and providing a thorough report
that is rarely less than fifteen single-spaced pages in length and is
usually closer to twenty, depending upon the number of problems I detect.
You'll need to correct all of the marked items on each manuscript page,
then address the major concerns in a comprehensive rewrite. This could
involve considerable rewriting and reconstruction, depending upon the
degree of the problem(s).
An edit alone will not impact your chances of publication. The quality
of your rewrite incorporating the editorial advice will determine your
level of success. An edit doesn't excuse you from further work on your
manuscript; in fact, the opposite is true. You'll need to perform a
thorough rewrite following an edit to vastly improve your manuscript.
an edit a learning experience. If you're unwilling to learn, save your
money -- but don't expect to be published or taken seriously as a writer.
What is the most important consideration in selecting
a book editor?
If you plan to submit your manuscript to traditional publishers and
hope to avoid rejection, how can someone who has never rejected manuscripts
for a major publisher know how to warn you about problems that could
lead to manuscript rejection? The Internet abounds with editors eager
to get your business, but the overwhelming majority have never actually
worked in an editorial capacity for major publishers. Punctuation and
grammar are only two of many reasons for rejection. Without actual professional
experience, an editor cannot know what those other reasons are.
confuse editing with proofreading. Any decent English professor can
proofread your manuscript to correct/identify poor grammar, punctuation
errors, incomplete sentences, etc. My edit includes all of these, plus
a thorough assessment of your manuscript that involves "reading
between the lines" to evaluate your focus, cohesiveness, structure,
characterization, etc. English professors are not qualified to address
a manuscript through the eyes of the publishing industry. Few English
professors have had commercial editing experience.
How long does book editing take?
My services are in demand, so sometimes it's necessary to reserve a
place in line. I'm a full-time editor, so a day job doesn't interfere
with my editing schedule. I usually devote weekends and holidays to
editing as well.
I urge you not to hurry an edit or rewrite. If your work is important
to you, patience will assure far better results.
Why is manuscript format so important?
If your manuscript doesn't look the way publishers expect it to, they
are likely to reject it without reading a single word. Publishers have
specific format requirements that will be revealed to you through my
edit. I require basic manuscript formatting reflective of industry standards.
This gets you, the author, accustomed to formatting your manuscript
properly and the editing process easier for both of us. For you, a properly
formatted manuscript provides more white space for editorial notations,
thus it's easier for you to read my notes. And from my perspective,
properly formatted manuscripts are easier on my eyes, which makes me
more effective in spotting errors. To learn proper manuscript format,
Why should I avoid sample edits?
the weakest of manuscript editors can appear deceptively strong on the
basis of marks on a few pages of text. Inexperienced editors encourage
"sample" edits because it gives them a deceptive opportunity
to compete with more seasoned editors who don't have to "prove"
anything. If an editor has actual experience with major New York publishers,
what more could you want from a prospective editor? Besides, there is
no accurate way to judge the depth of a potential editor's skill based
upon the results of a few pages alone. Many major manuscript issues
cannot be "marked," but must be explained in a report. Again,
when a prospective editor can prove that he/she has actually edited
some of the literary giants of the world, what more assurance could
you possibly need that this editor can deliver quality professional
Where can I find out if an editor I'm considering has been involved
in dishonest practices?
your own protection and peace of mind, you should verify a prospective
editor's credentials. Also, check Preditors
and Editors, a site devoted to warning you about dishonest
people in the publishing industry.
a manuscript be given a complete reading first before the actual edit
your success with a publisher will ultimately depend upon the first
impression that you make on a publisher, your editor should approach
your manuscript based upon first impressions as well.
example, an editor who reads through a manuscript first, then edits,
will likely leave an issue alone if he/she feels that you cleared the
matter up further into the text. There is an inherent problem here,
however. Your manuscript will likely be rejected by publishers when
the issue first surfaces. Expecting publishers to continue reading after
identifying an issue of concern is impractical. Publishers are bombarded
with submissions and simply don't have time to read every word of every
manuscript submitted. In the overwhelming majority of cases, manuscripts
are rejected at the first occurrence of an issue of concern. It's essential
for new writers to make an unblemished first impression; therefore,
editors should base their feedback on initial reactions rather than
opinions formed after the fact. An "edit as you go" approach
is far more effective in terms of making a solid first impression.
manuscript has already been professionally edited, but there still seems
to be a problem. Should I invest in a second edit?
I've edited numerous manuscripts that had already been professionally
edited and, in all honesty, I detected almost as many problems in those
as in manuscripts that had never been edited. What is your manuscript
worth to you? If you feel it is still not right and you want to make
it the best it can be, then by all means invest in a second edit.
How can you detect problems that other editors miss?
If an editor evaluates your manuscript from a purely academic perspective,
he/she will miss issues of importance to commercial publishers. College
English professors don't work for commercial publishers. They evaluate
manuscripts from an entirely different perspective than commercial publishers.
That's why many hugely successful novels are not necessarily well written.
They are highly criticized by the academic community, but still hit
the best-seller lists.
I opt for a generic critique or evaluation rather than a complete edit?
don't offer, nor do I recommend, simple critiques or evaluations. My
services are limited to editorial only. Why? Because critiques and evaluations
are entirely based on opinion. Ask ten editors for a critique and you'll
likely get ten different opinions. As a result, the feedback is virtually
meaningless. Why would you revise your manuscript based upon only one
opinion? I work with concrete specifics when I edit. In other words,
I identify issues that will prove objectionable to most legitimate commercial
publishers. As a result, you get a chance to correct or remove real,
identifiable problems prior to submission.
An opinion won't prove helpful in making your
manuscript appeal to a majority of publishers, not even mine. What I
"like" doesn't matter. Specific problems that routinely result
in manuscript rejection matter a lot!
does a manuscript edit affect my potential success as an author?
Consider this analogy. Imagine a NASCAR racer. His car is
finely tuned and runs at its best when all allowable additives are injected
into its fuel. Even with his car at top performance, however, it's still
up to the skill of the driver to maneuver around the other cars, take
the curves most efficiently, and win the race.
does this relate to you, your manuscript and your editor? The driver
represents you, his car is your manuscript and the car's fuel additive
is your editor. If you were a racer, and attempted to compete using
only plain unleaded fuel, you would be at a decided disadvantage to
the other drivers who used the additive. Your car would perform sluggishly,
and you'd be unlikely to win any races relying upon your basic driving
additive as a writer is your editor. He/she tells you what your manuscript
needs to make the best impression on publishers. This feedback alone,
however, like the racer's additive, is not enough to get you published.
You've got to effectively incorporate the editorial suggestions into
your manuscript before it can perform at its maximum. Only you can accomplish
that; not your editor.
rely on an edit alone to determine your level of success. If you fail
to adequately incorporate your editorial advice, you've wasted your
money on a manuscript edit.
What if a potential book editor's credentials are difficult to verify?
Move on to someone else. Don't take anyone's word for
his or her credentials. Verify it in black-and-white. For instance,
to verify my credentials, go to AMAZON.COM
and search for Michael Garrett. I'm not the only author / editor by
that name, but you'll readily find the books that I've written -- my
novel, KEEPER, (which is now available in a Kindle edition), my non-fiction
book on the writing profession, THE PROSE PROFESSIONAL -- and the internationally
published HOT BLOOD books listing my name as co-editor on the covers.
you affiliated with any other editors?
Absolutely not. I'm a one-man operation and personally edit every line
of every manuscript. I never sub-contract your work to someone
editor whom I'm considering has very little work experience but a strong
academic background. Which is more important, actual work experience
or academic credentials?
background carries little weight in the editing of manuscripts intended
for commercial publication. For instance, a high school or college English
professor could examine the grammar and punctuation of your manuscript,
but entirely miss commercial issues important to the publisher, factors
that are neither recognized nor taught by the academic community. If
academic credentials were essential to commercial publication, most
English teachers would be best-selling authors. Successful authors generally
come from entirely different walks of life; John Grisham, for instance,
was an attorney prior to becoming a best-selling author.
truth is, I've edited many manuscripts written by high school and college
English professors, and their manuscripts typically have the same errors
as everyone else.
is total payment in advance necessary?
get the best, most accurate evaluation of your work, an editor must
be totally honest and candid in his/her remarks. If
paid half up front and the remainder on completion, editors may have
a tendency to sugar-coat their comments to assure receipt of the final
payment. Remember, you're paying for honest criticism. You may not agree
with everything your editor says about your work. Sometimes the truth
hurts, but only total honesty from your book editor will prove helpful.
Editors who allow payment plans cannot be as forthcoming in their comments
as those who require full payment in advance.
book editors ever sub-contract their work to lesser qualified people?
some editors incorporate deceptive practices in attracting business
based upon their own credentials, then subcontract manuscripts to lesser
experienced individuals for the actual work. Ask any book editor whom
you're giving serious consideration if he/she performs all of the work
himself/herself. I edit every word of every manuscript myself. I'm
not affiliated in any way with other book editors.
agent insists that I hire a specific book editor to edit my manuscript,
yet the editor he is pushing has less impressive credentials than others
and is more expensive. What could this mean?
not unusual for a publisher or literary agent to recommend that you
seek the help of a book editor; however, when one specific book
editor is heavily endorsed, there could be a kick-back arrangement going
on wherein the referring party receives a percentage of all referral
business. In this case, you typically lose because the recommended editor
may not be the best/most qualified professional to edit your manuscript.
Use caution; it's typically best to find your own book editor.
I receive no referral fees from any source.
publishers are in the business of publishing and agents are
in the business of agenting. If either urges you to pay for
their editorial services, go elsewhere. Rarely are they qualified to
offer such services.
Are book editors usually qualified across the board
or do they specialize in specific areas?
As is the case with most other professions, book editors are typically
experienced within only a few specific categories. No one is
qualified to professionally edit everything. For instance,
a children's book editor would be of little help in editing a science
fiction novel. I often turn business away when I don't feel that
I'm the best editor for someone's manuscript. In such cases I urge potential
clients to investigate other editors before deciding on me.
there a down side to hiring a book editor to work with my electronic
file and make all changes/corrections for me?
Hiring an editor to work directly with your electronic file actually
excludes you from the learning process you would otherwise experience
by making corrections to the manuscript yourself. If you're serious
about a career as a professional writer, you should take the time to
learn what your editor points out to you so that you won't make those
same mistakes in the future. I no longer work with electronic files.
I want clients who wish to become professional authors. They won't get
there by allowing someone else to do the work for them.
I copyright my manuscript before sending it to a book editor?
If you're concerned about the security of your manuscript during the
editing process, visit the U.S.
Copyright Office's FAQ page. You'll find that your work
is protected by law even without formal registration. It's possible,
but highly unlikely, that your manuscript will be plagiarized by anyone.
an unscrupulous book editor steal your idea? It's possible, but again,
highly unlikely. Serious writers rarely wish to write someone else's
idea; in fact, all serious writers whom I know have more ideas of their
own than they'll ever have time to write. The theft of an idea is essentially
a needless fear.
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