It may not be evident in my casual conversations, Facebook posts or Twitter stream, but I love words, and I love language.  A well-crafted sentence can leave you weak in the knees, make the room suddenly too dusty, or cause your blood to boil. Words are powerful; they can cut individuals to the quick or move nations to action. Anyone who says otherwise has either never been bitterly crushed by something someone said to them, or doesn’t know about the Declaration of Independence.  Or both.

On the flip side, incorrect word usage, grammar errors, and mechanical errors such as incorrect apostrophe usage and missing or overused punctuation can positively ruin an otherwise perfectly enjoyable romp through an author’s playground.  Sometimes, it’s the mental equivalent of scratching your head and thinking ‘Huh?’ and other times it’s more like the effect of driving sixty miles-per-hour into a brick wall. Neither outcome is desirable.

So why hire an editor? To prevent that ‘flip-side’ from happening. Why hire me, specifically? Well, for starters, my philosophy on my job as an editrix may be different than that of others, and I’m pretty certain my reasons for doing it certainly are. One of my chief goals in this editorial enterprise is to help burgeoning authors succeed, particularly those who are aiming to self-publish an e-book, though I’m equally open to working with those who are interested in the traditional route of tree-books.  Another goal is to make it affordable for someone to hire an editor; I don’t want the cost of hiring an editor to be the prohibiting factor in publishing, or worse yet, forgoing hiring an editor and publishing something full of errors.  Also? I’m pretty laid-back for a ‘Grammar Nazi’.  Oh hell, just give me your incoherent stream of consciousness rantings and I'll try to make something readable out of it. Okay?

All teasing aside, I view the job of the editor as being one of partnership with the author. I want to work with you to ensure that the apple you have produced is the shiniest and most delicious apple possible before it’s put out on the market cart for the public to buy.   I’m not here to override your creative vision; I don’t believe it’s my place to tell you what you can or cannot do creatively.  However, it is my job to help keep the story moving along, pruning or augmenting where necessary, and trying to ensure it’s free of mechanical, grammatical, and word usage errors. 

Having my eyes on your work helps in more ways than you might think. I am able to read the story from a detached point of view, and evaluate it on its merits; I’ll see things that you were too close to the work to notice. I’ll find the mechanical errors. I’ll find continuity errors, and notice things that don’t necessarily make sense to anyone not living in your head. Has anyone ever said to you, ‘Listen to what I mean, not what I say’?  This is where I come in; I make sure that what’s in your head is also on the page.

Most editors charge based upon selective levels of editing on an escalating scale—the higher the detail/workload, the higher the fee. For example: Light Copyedit/Proofreading ($), Medium copyediting/line editing ($$), Heavy/Substantive Edit ($$$). Bascially, they’ll ignore mistakes unless you pay them for a ‘top tier’ service.

But here’s where they and I differ—I don’t like that concept.  Really, think about it. I’m already going through this manuscript, why not flag all the issues and correct the errors? I’m going to notice them; it’s what I do.  With rare exception, I’d be spending about the same amount of time on it anyway, regardless of editing level. To return a manuscript containing errors to an author just because I’m doing ‘only a copyedit’ strikes me as…wrong. So I’m not going to do it. No selective editing, and no selective pricing. One fee covers the entire job. 

Go ahead, do a bit of research. Look at what others are doing, and charging. Do some math, then figure out how many e-books you’d need to sell to make that back (I’ll wait). And then come back here, pull up a chair and have a chat with me. I believe you’ll find my rates astonishingly reasonable. Or perhaps I’m insane. Quite probably, it’s both.

Bev Gelfand,
Domineditrix and CEO (Chief Editing Officer)