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Submission Guidelines



Editing Rates & FAQs

I offer professional and returning client discounts!

Copyediting / Proofreading:

  • general grammar, word choice, sentence structure, and clarity
  • tenses, wordiness, repetition, parallel structure
  • punctuation, capitalization, spelling, headings and lists
  • appropriate voice and tone for intended audience
  • transitions between sections, chapters, parts
  • adherence to editorial guidelines
  • subject-verb agreement
  • pronoun-antecedent agreement
  • appropriate use of modifiers
  • clear out excess adverbs
  • remove passive voice
  • correct malapropisms and misnomers
  • point out jarring, jolt-reader-out-of-the-story spots/words
  • fixing sentence fragments
  • slang/vernacular and sexist language
  • proper use of trademarks
  • proper use of abbreviations and acronyms
  • proper use of numbers and symbols
  • quotation mark errors, missing parentheses, wrong number of ellipsis points
  • errors in continuity
  • line, page, and section breaks

    .02 per word

     Content Edit / heavy edit: Sorry, due to health issues and the need to focus on my own writing I can no longer offer this service.

    Two sample pages, 500 words-- free. Check out how I do things and see if we're a good working team! (No flash fiction, sorry.)

    This is FREE ***ONLY*** if you're seriously considering me to edit your book.

    Contact me first about the editing job, then I'll ask for the sample pages.

    That's my "interview" with you to see if we're a good fit with each other.

    Sorry, but I can't do free feedback unless there's a potential job on the table. Otherwise I get a flood of "drop ins" who have no intention of hiring an editor. Play fair. Be a professional.

    Include a STYLE SHEET with manuscript: List all proper names, fantasy words (and their definition), fantasy language phrases/terms, foreign words, and anything else you want to make sure is correctly set out.

    Paste style sheet into email or send as a separate .doc file.

    Specify UK or US spellings: I work in both, but my computer defaults to US spelling.

    I use Open Office 4.1.1.

    It will read .docx files but I will have to convert it to a .doc file. It's best to send a .doc file in the first place.

    Contact me first before sending submission.  Subject header:
    Editing Job .

    Tell me about it! What genre, how many words, your deadline.

  • Frequently Asked Questions


    At .02 cents a word  means an edit for 90,000 word book costs $1,800.00?

    Yes, less any discounts for clean MS/ returning client. You're paying for my experience. A full professional level edit is not the same as your 5th grade English teacher correcting a book report. There are plenty of other editors out there who do that sort of thing for cheap, but I'll softly mention that you get what you pay for.

    The Editorial Freelancers Association post their suggested rates here.

    I'm not a member, but I follow the EFA's  Code of Fair Practice.

    It's just good business!


    Do I have to count words in the headers?

    No. Leave those out.


    I'm almost finished with my book and need an editor next. Is your schedule open?

    I can make room on my schedule, but finish the work first. I can't offer a solid price until the final word count is settled.


    I'm finished with my book and need an editor to go over it before I start shopping to publishers / agents. Is your schedule open?

    You don't need me, but a beta-reader. A commercial publisher assigns an editor to your book--for FREE--should they accept it for publication. Learn to self-edit!

    Many new writers may assume they have to have their work edited before sending it out or think that a pro edit will guarantee a sale. If someone tells you that, then they're wrong. Go to the library and find books about how publishing works. Do not rely on non-writers or the internet to give you correct information!

    Word of caution--if a publisher or agent wants money from you for ANY reason (fees, hiring an editor, publicist, cover art, whatever!) RUN. It will be a vanity/subsidy operation, and they are NOT your friend. However much they praise your book and promise success, RUN.


    What do you mean by a "clean" manuscript?

    That's a manuscript where the writer proofed things, used the spell check, used correct punctuation, etc.

    A sloppy manuscript -- one with every page covered with corrections -- is more work. I don't expect any MS to be perfect, but it is in the writer's best interest to make an effort. Every successful pro I know takes pride in delivering a clean manuscript.

    When a MS is clean it is easier to spot typos and other problems.


    What's the difference between copy-editing and copyrighting and copy-writing?

    Copy-editing -- making corrections on a manuscript.

    Copy writing is the stuff you see in ads that tells you about a product. A "copy writer" is a person who writes the ad copy.

    Copyright -- who owns the manuscript.

    You do not have to register copyright. In the US, your work is automatically copyrighted to you by law. If it makes you feel better, you can put "Copyright" + your name and the date on the top page. If you upload the book to a digital hosting site, you just put that information in the front matter of the book and you're covered.

    Some "publishing" sites urge writers to pay them to register their copyright for a book. They'll present it as being a complicated process and include that as part of some "package" they offer. That is a rip off. It's very simple and you can do it yourself at the for about 35.00. You don't really need to do it because of that automatic copyright law.

    Do a little research. The more you know, the safer you are from scammers and sharks.

    Vanity houses and other predatory operations routinely check the copyright registration lists for new entries, contact the writers, present as "traditional" publishers, and express "interest" in the writer's book. Very flattering! But they're after your money. When they want your cash, they are not your friend.


    How are payments handled?

    Through Paypal. They keep a third party record of all transactions and automatically make currency conversions.

    Make sure your Paypal information is CURRENT. 

    No checks, no money orders, NO exceptions. No exceptions to the no exceptions.

    Once I ascertain the type of job and the client approves the bid, I submit a Paypal invoice: half down, half on delivery of the corrected MS.

    How do I prepare the manuscript?

    The work must be double-spaced with 1-inch margins, in 12-point Times New Roman.

    It's what I am used to and makes it easier for me to spot problems. If the MS arrives formatted to whatever book size you're planning for it, I'll change it and will charge extra. I've gotten too many submissions in odd sizes with strange fonts. You want me focused on editing, not trying to decipher the formatting.


    How do you correct a manuscript?

    I use Open Office's Record Changes, which is like MS Word's Track Changes.


    Will you do sample pages?

    Yes. Send 2 pages and I'll do those for free.


    Is my manuscript safe?

    Yes. All content is confidential.

    Once a job is completed your file is deleted.


    How fast can I get the job done?

    5,000-10,000 words, allow 5 business days. Add one day for every additional 10,000 words. I will likely work faster, though.


    Will you work for small press / E-press operations?

    Absolutely yes! That's what freelancing is all about!


    Do you offer a discount to professional writers?

    Yes. If you've sold work to commercial houses, I can offer a discount. I have to see the work first, then we negotiate a reduced price. Some pros just need a proofread, others may need a heavy edit.


    Will you recommend me to your publisher / agent?

    No. That's a conflict of interest.

    If you want to submit work to my agent's company the address is on the contact page for the Vampwriter site.


    Will you write an author's quote for my book?

    No. That is a conflict of interest. You're hiring my time and skill as an editor. Period.


    Do I REALLY need a copy editor?

    If you don't have the time to remember all this:

    • The whole to-too-two / your-you're / sight-site-cite thing
    • Where to use commas, colons, and semi-colons
    • When to break for a new paragraph
    • The diff between there-their-they're
    • English is not your first language
    • You are dyslexic / sight impaired
    • Are wobbly on pronouns
    • Hyphen vs. the em dash
    • Where to use its and it's
    • Discrete vs. discreet
    • Word repetitions
    • Malapropisms
    • !!!TYPOS!!!

    Then another set of eyes to check things over might be right for you.

    This is a professional edit; you get the same focus and attention I gave to those bestselling authors mentioned on this site's opening page!



    Publishing Myths


    Swimming Safely in the Shark Tank


    All writers are rich! I'm gonna publish a book and retire on the income!

    If only! I'd have retired years ago to my own private island with a roaming herd of cheerful cabana boys to rub my feet and feed me chocolate.

    Most writers earn much less than minimum wage.

    They keep their day jobs to support their writing habit.

    Writers who make the big bucks are like the lottery winners of publishing: few and far between. Few writers are able to support themselves with their writing, but the ones that do have dozens of books in print and are busy writing dozens more.

    Don't be a writer to get rich.

    Be a writer because you love to tell stories.

    Getting paid for it is just a happy extra.


    A publisher wants a completed work, polished and ready to print as-is.

    That's a lie.

    It is always mentioned by vanity houses as a scare tactic so their nice friendly (money grabbing) "packages" look attractive to an inexperienced writer.

    While any acquisitions editor would be thrilled to have a manuscript in perfect ready-to-go shape, they know better than to expect it.

    No manuscript placed in a legitimate commercial publishing house goes to print as-is.  They all go through a lengthy editing process to conform to the house's own style.

    This doesn't mean you're allowed to be sloppy.  You could be the next J.K. Rowling, but better believe she uses the spell-check.


    Publishers / agents will only read manuscripts that have been professionally edited.

    That's a LIE.

    Again, vanity/subsidy houses, some printing services, and some self-publishing sites put that one out so they look more attractive to neos. They want your money.

    I'm shooting myself in the foot here, but most writers don't need a copy editor for manuscript submissions to agents and editors.

    The writers DO need to take the time to learn good grammar and use the spell-check!


    If you use a professional editing service you will sell your work!

    Your work will sell if your words are worth something to a publisher.  No edit job in the world can persuade an editor to buy a book if the book is not ready.


    If you sell your book to a print publisher you've sold your copyright, too!

    Don't confuse copyright with publishing rights. They're two different critters.

    Publication rights--who has permission from the author to publish a book.

    A commercial publisher pays an author an advance against royalties for permission to publish a work. They are "leasing" the right to publish/print it.

    The publication rights automatically revert to the author when the book goes out of print. (Usually sales drop below a certain point and the publisher sends a letter to the author.)

    A book can remain "in print" forever, thanks to ebooks, so a smart writer gets a good literary agent to put in an escape clause. A typical clause will state that the publisher has permission to print the book for a set period of time. (This is common for small e-houses.) At the end of the period the publisher may opt to renew the contract or revert the rights to the author, depending on sales.

    A certain notorious author mill operation ties books up for 7-10 years and makes money selling overpriced copies to its own authors. They also charge to "convert" your book into a digital form. This is NOT normal. Avoid those places! When they want money, they are not your friend.

    Copyright--who owns the book. Usually the author. In the USA, it belongs to the author for his lifetime + 70 years. Then a book either becomes public domain or the author's heirs control the copyright.

    In any book you will find on the front matter page who owns the copyright, a writer or a company.

    It will look like this: Copyright 2015 Author's Name

    Any contract with an agent or publisher that demands you give up your copyright as part of the deal is a BAD one.  Run away.


    You have to pay to get published; that's how you "break in!"

    That's a LIE put about by vanity/subsidy houses who want your money. Remember that none of them can get your book into stores.

    This is Yog's Law :

    "Money flows to the writer.  The only place a writer signs a check is on the back--to endorse it."

    Repeat that. Tape it over your desk.

    Anyone claiming otherwise is not your friend. Run away.

    There are plenty of NO COST publishing venues now, many of them digital. The companies (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc.) host books and keep a percentage of each sale as payment.

    Cost to the writer: zero. Reputable Print On Demand (POD) venues like Lulu and Createspace do not charge for uploading a book, only for the printing cost, should you buy a copy.


    Once I get my book uploaded and make lots of e-sales I'll sell it to a commercial publisher for lots of money. I'll be the new Amanda Hocking !

    Um, no. You won't.

    Ms. Hocking did something outstanding with her ebook sales and more power to her.

    But the deal she signed with the publisher was for a series of NEW books.

    Publishers are not interested in "reprints." Once your book is posted online they consider it to have been published and pass.

    Writers who have sold reprints to commercial publishers can be counted on one hand.

    Your hot new novel, once it goes up on Kindle, is likely to remain there. Promote the hell out of it. Make some cash if you can.

    But if you want commercial publication with books in stores, write a new book and shop it. If you've made 5K sales with your digital book, it's okay to mention that to an agent or editor. They'll check your sales to confirm.

    It's also vital to do what Amanda Hocking recommends:

    "My biggest word of advice to any new/future writers thinking about diving into Kindle: Edit. I don't care what you think, you didn't edit enough. Some people won't care that there's errors, its true, but enough of them will. And they paid for it, so they have a right to. So edit more. And then again. Really."

    Hey, I can get behind that!


    Do NOT be taken in by scammers!

    A little research will save you big bucks.

    Be safe and check them out first.  

    When in doubt, walk away!


    Pro's tip:

    Instantly check out any publisher or agency by googling their name + "complaints" or "rip off" and see what comes up. If they've been bad, other writers will have warnings up. Heed them.

    This trick works great on just about any business you can name.


    Do not look for a publisher online.

    99% of the results of a search for "book publishers" will be scams and pay to publish operations.

    Go to the library. Check out a copy of WRITER'S MARKET.





    Preditors and Editors:


    Bestselling Author Cathy Clamp on

    TP, SP, SMALL, POD Presses, Vanity and Subsidy Publishers


    This is AbsoluteWrite's Bewares and Background Checks Forum.


    Additional information on writing: on Writing

    Writer Beware

    10 Myths About Copyright Explained














    Copyright 2015 P.N. Elrod