Process

Estimates: Once we have discussed your project and timelines in confidence, I will do a preliminary edit on a few sample pages, timing it carefully in fifteen minute increments. I then extrapolate the time required to complete it to the actual size of the document to determine an estimated range of hours that is close to the actual cost. The final invoice will, with rare exceptions, fall within 10% of that range (we will have discussed any issue that might affect the estimate; your final invoice will not include unanticipated costs).

Though average times can be approximated based on experience with similar projects, editing is not an exact science, and there can be quite a range of required work. Thus, though I understand that a flat rate is sometimes required for budgeting purposes, per-page rates can result in one of two scenarios;

  •      the editor is not paid for work done, or
  •      the client pays for work that was not done.

Thus, my preference is to supply an estimate based on a range of hours expected to complete the work. If a per-page rate is required, it will be negotiated based on the sample supplied.

Contracts: If you do not already have a contract, a standard contract from the Editors’ Association of Canada’s website will be modified for our use. It outlines all of the particulars of the work, including the timelines for when you will supply the materials and when I will complete the work, exactly what work will be done, what formats will be used, et cetera.

With new clients and/or new projects, the first chapter or two may be returned for approval/feedback before proceeding. Client feedback is an important part of developing a style guide, if one has not been provided for the document. Once we’ve determined which guide is appropriate (or together developed our own norms for this work, depending on the project) and the first portion has been approved, I will finish the work according to the agreed schedule, if not sooner.

Deposits: If the estimate is under $1000, I will ask for a 50% deposit from new clients, with the remainder due within two weeks of completion. For projects over $1000, the first deposit is 25%. Midway through the project, another 25% will be paid, with the remainder due within two weeks of completion. These details are included in the contract.

Payment can be a cheque, money order, or email funds transfer. Payment is also accepted through PayPal if you wish to use a credit card. There is no charge to you for that option.

Rates vary according to the project's complexity, the timeframe, and how much other work I am contracted to do at the time, but it ranges from $45. to $70. per hour. This rate is a bit below average for editors with similar training and experience (note the average rates paid to writers/editors across Canada from the website, http://www.writers.ca/whattopay.htm), but I love my work, and would rather charge a bit less and be hired a bit more. I offer a reduced rate of $40. per hour for students and non-profits.

New clients are sometimes surprised by the cost of a professional edit. I typically assure them that clients with similar concerns come to believe it was money very well spent when we are finished. Secondly, after hearing horror stories of work not ever returned, or not completed according to the agreed terms, or needing to be redone, I am reminded of Red Adair's classic line: "If you think it is expensive to hire a a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur..."

Three main style guides–

  1. Chicago Manual of Style (also known as Turabian style, and perhaps the most popular)
  2. American Psychology Association (APA)
  3. Modern Language Association (MLA)
Many variations are based on these, but the most important aspect for any individual piece of work is consistency. A style guide can be as basic as noting such issues as whether a serial (aka Harvard) comma is used; which words are regularly capitalized; whether British/Canadian, or American spelling is preferred (unless otherwise instructed, my default dictionary is the Oxford Canadian Dictionary); how headings and subheadings are presented/formatted; and/or the correct spelling and capitalization of any terms peculiar to your field, to name a few main items.
Please let me know if you need a guide suitable for others’ use when you send the sample materials so I can estimate a reasonable fee to prepare it for “public” consumption. Some printers request one, for example, or your project might be the first in a series, in which case a style guide will save editing time for subsequent pieces.