Every project is different and different writers need different approaches. But in general, here’s how I approach a project:
- You get in touch via email and tell me what you’re looking for.
- If you already have some of your project written, I’ll ask to see about ten pages and will charge you $20 an hour to read them and to give you my impression of what could or should come next. If you want that first reading to include line-by-line editing, the cost is $25 an hour.
- Where we go from there depends on many things, like the quality of your writing, your ambitions for the finished product, your time schedule and mine, and whether you are still in the very rough stages of something and need multiple drafts. Still, often that first look makes it possible for me to offer you a bid for the whole project – if you already have a set number of pages ready to go.
- Equally as often it makes more sense for both of us if I work by the hour at the $25 rate. If that’s the case, you’ll set the limit at which you want me to stop and send you a bill. Say, for example, you’ve set $100 for the first go-round. I’ll work to that $100, send you what I’ve done and a bill. I don’t start another section of the work until your check reaches my bank.
- Your project may require just a once-over and we’re done. Most times, as I line-by-line edit, I also make suggestions for more, for less, for moving a chunk here or there in the manuscript, or a chapter from one position to another. I may ask questions where you haven’t told your reader enough, and suggest cutting sections where you’ve told us too much. Most writers want another reading after they have responded to those comments and suggestions. I am happy to do that, but it isn’t free! All work continues at the $25 rate until you are satisfied with your project.
- I use Microsoft Word and its Insert Comments and Track Changes functions. I do not work in “the cloud.” I return your project to you as is – with the comments and editing suggestions visible and ready for you to accept or decline them. If I have made so many changes and suggestions that it is difficult to read your manuscript, I’ll send you a cleaned-up copy of it too. My labor in doing that will be reflected in my bill, so I don’t do it unless you ask me to.
- I do sometimes work with people who can’t afford the standard $25 an hour rate. In those instances, I’ll ask to see a copy of your last tax return (SSN removed, of course) before we settle on a fee.
- Oh, and one more thing: I will not work with pornography. I’m leery of working with sexual violence, though in the case of memoir have done and will continue to do so. I have no interest in religious rants, attempts to convert readers, or condemnations of other peoples’ faiths. The same is true of homophobic or racist material.
That’s it, basically. Though, as I said earlier, each project and writer is a little different. So, we’ll work the details out as we get to know one another.
Here’s hoping to hear from you soon!
author, editor, writing coach
With masters degrees in literature (University of Iowa, Middlebury College’s Breadloaf School of English) and writing creative nonfiction (University of Iowa) as well as thirty years’ teaching experience at high school, community college and university levels, I have been working with writers at all levels for more than half my life – and I love it! My particular interests are in memoirs and writing about the environment, especially in terms of farming and food. But, a life-long learner, I’m happy to work with any topic or style and look forward to yours.