I had an interview recently with a potential client. It went something like this:
"Did you read the excerpt?"
"I read the first several pages," I replied, admitting not having read the entire 45,000-word "excerpt." Really, I don't need to read such a large quantity of rough draft to determine how intensive the editing will be for the full manuscript. If an editor can't suss that out within a few pages, then you're not working with an experienced professional.
"What will you do to my manuscript?"
I will edit it, which means you will receive a document filled with in-line corrections and revisions and margin comments. I will expect you, the author, to review every single edit and comment and then to: 1) accept it, 2) reject it, or 3) decide that the revision is needed, but that you can revise it better--and then do so.
I never expect a client to blindly accept all edits made to his or her manuscript.
"Do you think it'll be ready after it's edited?"
I think it will require at least two rounds of editing. The first round always results in revisions and rewriting. Sometimes, that's more extensive than others. Regardless, after revising, the revised manuscript will need a second review and you should expect that further edits will be made.
It might not require a third round. That's up to you.
"How long do you think it will take?"
For that manuscript, approximately 100,000 words, expect each round of editing to take four to six weeks. I'll try to work quickly so you get it sooner rather than later, but experience tells me that's about how long it will take.
"I won't be ready for another two or three months. Is that okay?"
That's the beauty of freelancing: my schedule is flexible and can adapt to a constantly shifting workload. Rest assured, I'm not going anywhere and will be here when you're ready.
"So, when we're finished, my book will be marketable and ready to publish?"
That's the goal. I will do everything I can to help you achieve that goal.
"Have you worked in my genre before?"
In this case, yes. With regard to fiction, I've worked in romance, fantasy, science fiction. thriller/suspense, mystery, young adult, and children's literature. With regard to nonfiction, I've worked with motivational and inspirational books as well as a variety of business-oriented content from business guides to blogs to luxury lifestyle magazines. I do not specialize in any one genre or subject; I specialize in helping storytellers tell their stories effectively.
This is just a taste of what it's like to work with me. You'll get candor. I don't beat around the bush and I won't mislead you.
Are you ready for an editor?
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