by Lesley-Anne Longo & Beth McAuley
Published at 2021-07-07
As editors, we at TEC are well aware of the ins and outs of working with each of our clients and helping them navigate the editing process.
We also know that as our client, you may not always know what that process will entail, or what things you should expect, or what is expected of you. So, we’ve written up some helpful advice to help you feel more assured and confident as you begin your editing journey with us. When expectations are clear, everyone wins!
Making first contact whether by phone or by email takes a lot of courage if you have not worked with an editor before. It is the first step in sharing your project with the outside world. We know this and we welcome your phone calls and your emails.
If you contact us by phone, we will have a short conversation with you about your project — what is it about? How long have you been writing? What services are you looking for? During this conversation, we will discuss when you want the editing done and what our schedule looks like. We will ask you to send us a sample of the writing so we can provide you with a quote.
If first contact is made by email, we will be sure to respond within 24 hours. We will ask similar questions, give you a sense of our schedule, and confirm the services you are looking for so we can prepare a quote.
We ask that you be patient during the initial phone call or email and not ask for a “rush” edit. We appreciate that you may want to finalize your project quickly but we know that working through the editing process takes time. Rush jobs are never the best. Good editing, like good writing, takes time and focus. Be ready to answer questions as outlined above and be open to starting the conversation about your project with us. This conversation is your introduction to who we are and the services we provide, and our introduction to who you are and how we can help you.
A TEC, our quoting process is fairly detailed. The more information we have about your project, the more accurate our quote will be. As part of our quoting process, we provide you with a range of what the editing will cost you in order to add a bit of a buffer and to offset any unexpected problems that might come up. With a bit of a buffer, we can continue the editing work without having to go over the quote.
We will always tell you the number of hours we expect the work to take (e.g., 20 to 25 hours), and what the corresponding payment range will be for the work you want completed (e.g., $1,100.00 to $1,375.00). We always want to be transparent so that you feel you are paying a fair fee for a great service.
To create the quote, we need the number of pages of the manuscript, the word count, and a sample of the writing (even the full manuscript, if possible) so we can assess what level of editing is required.
You might ask for a copy edit, but to give you an accurate quote, we need to know if the writing will need a light (less work) or heavy (more work) copy edit. Providing us with several sample pages is how we make that determination. We often provide a sample edit to help make our hour and fee estimate as precise as possible.
Please outline in detail the services you want done. It may turn out that the checklist of things you want encompasses two services (for example, a copy edit and a proofread), and it’s best to make sure that TEC understands what you are looking for when it comes to what the quote will include in terms of services provided.
Do not assume that something is just “included” in a service, because that may not always be the case.
At TEC, our editors are there to help you. We want to support your work and provide clear and constructive feedback to help you revise your work as necessary.
One part of an editor’s job is to advocate for the reader — if something is unclear or confusing, we will bring this to your attention and suggest ways to improve the text. In addition to editing for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, our editors can read for inconsistencies, gaps in discussion or narrative, and topics/sections that need to be either more fleshed out or cut back.
For example, if you’ve been working on a book manuscript for two years, it can be hard to take a step back and evaluate the book accurately. A TEC editor will provide a fresh pair of eyes and assess the book from a new perspective.
At TEC, we place great importance on building a kind and supportive relationship with you through the editing process. When we ask queries or share feedback, we do so in a way that mirrors how we would want to receive such information. If we identify a problem in the writing — a sentence is too wordy or not clear enough — we always include a suggestion on how to revise and rephrase.
What TEC editors expect from you is pretty simple: to be open to the process, to be open to hearing (and incorporating) our feedback, and to be polite and respectful.
We know the editing process can be a tricky thing to navigate — emotions can run high when someone is “tampering” with your writing. But you can rest assured that when an editor receives a working manuscript from a client, it is rare that they declare the manuscript to be perfect right off the bat. You need to adjust your expectations, especially if you are hoping that might be the case. A good project takes a lot of effort — editing and revising are part of the process, even for the most seasoned of writers.
It's important to make sure you’re prepared and ready to receive feedback. Once the edited document is returned to you, you will need to take the time to review the edits and suggestions. It is your responsibility as the author of the piece (be it a book, an article, or a report) to work through the edits as you finalize changes and revisions.
Remember! We are here to help you improve your writing. If you disagree with an editor’s feedback or suggestion, instead of immediately getting angry, reach out to us and we can discuss it further. Editing is a collaborative process, and there is always room to ask for clarification.
You hire an editor to improve and polish your writing, so that’s what we are going to do. Constructive feedback doesn’t mean we don’t like your work, it just means we are doing our job and showing you how your work can be improved upon for the benefit of your future readers.
Throughout these steps, it is essential that both parties treat each other with mutual respect and professionalism.
Do make sure you understand what you want done before getting started. Do you want a copy edit? Do you want a second round of edits? Do you want a proofread of your final draft? Be sure to fully detail the scope of the work before that work begins.
Do meet your deadlines! At TEC, we stick to the deadlines we set with our clients (barring unforeseen circumstances, of course). If you have arranged for a second edit, we will expect you to do so as well. If we send your manuscript back to you following a developmental edit and it includes work for you to do to improve your writing before the next stage of editing, leave yourself enough time to complete that work and do it well. Be realistic with your own schedule, working style, and speed of work so that meeting deadlines becomes part of your writing practice.
Don’t take things personally. We know that receiving feedback can be difficult, especially when it is regarding something you’ve written. The editing process is a learning experience, and it can be a way to improve your writing for your next project. You hired an editor to polish and improve your work, so even though there may be feedback or heavier-than-expected editing, you do want us to be honest and to tell you what your project needs in order for it to be the best it can be.
Do make sure your project is ready for the editor to receive. Make sure you spend enough time at the drafting stage of the writing process! A first draft is almost certainly not ready for us to look at yet. Multiple drafts are usually needed to smooth out the manuscript and do some self-editing. You can (and should) use friends and family as test readers, so they can identify spots that could use improvement. We know this takes courage, but this step is essential to building that confidence you will need during the editing process.
Do remember that an edit is a suggestion, not a demand. This one is pretty simple — you are the writer, so you have final say over what changes you will implement. That does not mean you can completely disregard the changes and suggestions we have made when editing. Ask for clarification if you need to, but don’t just dismiss things out of hand; if we’ve made an edit, we have a reason for doing it.
Don’t be late with payment! Please don’t make us chase you down for payment we have rightfully earned. There should be no disagreement on what is owed (since you ironed out all the details before the work began), so once the work is completed and TEC has sent you an invoice, please pay promptly.
Now that you know what is expected of you, and what you can expect of us, you will have greater confidence taking the first step in your editing journey. Editing can feel overwhelming, but always remember that we only want what is best for your project, just like you do.
We also have a great collection of blogs and resource guides to help you prepare for your editing journey. Here are a few to get you started:
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