Sep 10, 2012

How I Work

The questions I receive most from prospective clients, colleagues in the publishing world and even friends are: How do I work? Which manuscripts do I take on, and which do I turn down? What are my fees based on? Can I guarantee that people get published?

I decided to answer all these questions in addition to my Services section.  I should note that every project is unique, so not every single detail I’ve outlined here may apply to your project. Please feel free to contact me via this form with any questions you have. If I’m not the right editor for you, I’m happy to refer you to someone who might be.


I want to give my clients the same time, attention and advice that an author would receive from an editor at a publishing house. By working with me, you will receive professional expertise on how to create or revise your material so it’s the best possible.

I spent eight years at major publishing houses evaluating manuscripts and proposals for acquisition (see the About Me section for more detail.) I know what editors and agents are looking for in terms of nonfiction, and I aim to help my clients revise and create manuscripts and proposals that will attract their eye and lead to a book deal (or acquisition, in publishing terms.)

You can rely on me to evaluate your project, provide advice on which services I offer that would be best for you, outline a schedule upfront with an end date that works for your own calendar (and stick to it), and take all the steps necessary that help your manuscript or proposal become the best product it can be to show to industry professionals. 

Depending on your needsbudget, and timeline, I will offer the appropriate combination of the services offered here. Most clients request and/or require a combination of services, which is part of the reason I charge a fee based on each individual project versus charging an hourly rate.

I’m always happy to explain what each of my services as much detail as you’d like. My goal is to ensure that you see the value in every step we decide to take together.


It’s important to note that I personally do NOT work with any Fiction. I decided that as a freelance editor and collaborator, it would be best for me to exclusively specialize in nonfiction. Prescriptive (how-to) and narrative nonfiction are what I know best, after having specialized in it for more than five years.

By limiting my projects to nonfiction, I can pay attention to what agents are selling and what books work in the marketplace, and provide my clients with targeted knowledge. I think the combination of my experience and my continued effort to learn more makes me very good at what I do.

I also cannot guarantee you will be signed by an agent, acquired by an editor, or be published. To be frank, I'm not a genie. You should be wary of anyone who makes you these promises. However, I can (and do) give my clients advice on which agents to approach as well as what strategies I think may increase your chances of being signed by an agent and/or becoming a published author. 


When a client contacts me, I typically ask for a description of their work and what services they would like for me to do. If the project is in line with what I do, I ask for a sample. If it’s a manuscript, the sample is typically about 10 pages long. If it’s a proposal, I ask what the source material is. (This could be a full manuscript or simply rough material.)

Reading sample material gives me an accurate idea of how much work needs to be done. From there, I advise the client on what services I think are best (which may or may not be the same as what the client asked for.) If the client agrees to the services I’ve outlined we then discuss the fees and deadlines. Since the services, fees, and deadlines are all negotiable, the scope of the work may change based on variables like the client’s budget or my schedule. Once we agree upon terms, I send the client a basic work-for-hire contract with deadlines and request the initial payment. Then we get to work!

While I'm editing or collaborating, I typically talk to my client at least a dozen times during the process either via phone or email to clarify their intention for the project, and/or to provide status updates on where I’m at with their manuscript. Working with me is never a situation where you send your manuscript blindly and then get a revised version back without discussion. I treat my job as an editor and as a collaborator as a cooperative effort. After all, it will be the client’s name on the proposal or book after we’re done working together.


I charge a flat project rate that is based on the complexity of the project and the deadline. If my schedule is full and you wish to book in advance, I’m happy to negotiate a small retainer fee to hold your place in my schedule.

I don’t measure the value of my work in the number of hours that I spend working, therefore I don’t charge by the hour. If I take half as much time as someone else would to get things done, that surely doesn’t mean I’m half as good; on the flip side, if I take twice as long, you shouldn’t be penalized. In my opinion, there’s no standard “time” for editing—each project has its own timetable and schedule.

That said, I am willing to negotiate my fees and payment schedule based on your budget. Payments are typically split in half, with the initial portion due upon signing a contract and the latter portion due when I finish the project and send the materials to you, my client, but if that’s not affordable we may be able to work out a payment schedule that is.

Feel free to contact me for a free consultation here

I hope that answers your questions! But if not, please don't hestiate to contact me!