Mar 24

Working with an Editor, Part 3

The Backstory on Editing – Working with an Editor (first presented to the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada by Nancy Cassidy, March 1, 2015), Part 3 (this one has the links!)

Take it Back a Step

What if you want to work with an editor on a proposal or a plot outline? These services are also available. Some editors offer a proposal service which includes a full edit of three chapters, a synopsis and a cover letter and blurb. Others may include this under a coaching level of service which can be more advice heavy.

One thing to remember – an editor is NOT A GHOSTWRITER!

Publishing a book and learning to write are not the same. You can learn a lot from putting a book through the editorial process. Does this mean that you will end up with a book that everyone will think is wonderful? And should you rush right out and publish it?

Unfortunately no. I no longer accept projects that are simply not ready for the editorial process unless an author is willing to work with me as a coach, rather than an editor.

Go Forward

So I spent all this time editing my book with an editor and now it is with a publisher and I have to do it all AGAIN! Why? It bears repeating that any editor at a publishing house will want to make the book with their style and format, as well as put their own personal twist. One thing you do need to be certain of, is do those changes make the book better?  Just like when working with a freelance editor, it is up to the author to remember that this is your book. Ask questions! And sometimes, say no.

Just How Much Time Does All This Take?

That depends on you. I find that working with more than 50 pages on a project (and sometimes 25 depending on the quality of the writing) in a day is enough. This is why I will work on multiple projects at a time. But once each level of edit is complete, it is back to you, the author. How long will it take you to revise?  How long to edit?

On average I need one to two weeks with a content edit, one to two weeks with a copy edit and one week with a proof. This is fairly close to industry standard.

One thing to remember, most editors book about three months in advance.

And What Does it Cost?

Prices vary with editor experience. The more experience, the higher the cost. Does this mean you can’t get a reasonable price for good work?  No, but you may have to go looking for it. I now charge $0.01/word for 3 passes for the first time I work with an author. A penny a word is a fairly average price for an editor who has been working for a while and has a good clientele. I have seen more and I have seen less, so do your homework, get references and know what you can afford.

Common Editorial Terms

ARC: advance reading copy (aka galley)

POV: Point of view

BCC: Back Cover Copy

Front Matter: Everything before the story; can include copyright page, dedication, table of contents, etc.

Back Matter: Everything after the story; often includes a glimpse of another book, an author’s bio, links, etc.

House style: a publisher’s standard for spelling, grammar, etc.

Style sheet:– a list of spelling, grammar, and punctuation decisions that a copy editor creates for each book based on the author’s style

Useful Links

Professional Editorial Standards and different forms of editing, according to the Editor’s Association of Canada (EAC) http://www.editors.ca/resources/eac_publications/pes/index.html

Example of an Editorial Contract – via EAC


EAC Online Directory of Editors


Predators and Editors – list of editorial services (gives ratings, especially of known poor performance)


The Indie Writer’s Network – list of services, click on the button for editors


Method of Self Editing – the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, along with their website is very good.


Self Editing checklist at The Writing Center