What price your editor? (Or decorator, or plumber, or dentist, or cleaner)

So, what’s the difference between £500 and £3,000?

Those of you who are hot on numbers (clearly, not Ark, Kev or Mak who complained about numerical analysis on the previous post) will quickly answer, £2,500.

But, to be serious, what can you expect the difference to be between a job at the bottom end of the price range and one at the top?

Price is no degree of quality—is cheap always bad, or is there a real difference in quality?

Pay top money, get top work?

An expensive price may mean that someone has a lot of on-costs and/or wants a lot of profit. Nothing wrong with either of those. Most people are in business to make a profit not to provide a charity service.

What on-costs can you reasonably expect to be paying for if you use an expensive firm?

      Office space, including rent, rates, maintenance, telephone/Internet bills, furniture, hardware
      Employee costs, including employers NI, holiday pay, sick pay, potential redundancy, maternity/paternity leave

Someone has to fund that, and it needs to be built into costs. Simple as that.

A few years ago there were a couple of firms working in construction that had the market pretty much cornered. They charged out at around £35 an hour for a general operative and paid £10–14 to the employees.

For the slow ones reading this, that’s a difference of £25–21 an hour, or £1,000–840 a week. For each employee. At one point one of these firms had 30 employees. Two years later those employees were down to a handful. Neither firm exists any more. There are on-costs, profit, and greed.

Not that they were bad quality, both firms employed good quality tradespeople, but in a cut-throat economic climate, their prices were being undercut, by cheaper firms using less-skilled employees.

Pay peanuts, get (Gib) monkeys?

Cheap jobs are interesting. We once got a joiner who was just starting his own business, we got in early and got a cheap price and an excellent job. We met an electrician who was willing to work for €30 a day many years ago. We paid more than that and fed him and his dog and got a good job. Everyone was happy. Right time, right place, right people.

In terms of qualifications, the joiner wasn’t qualified, the electrician was.

So, qualifications and experience are a guide, but not everything. And someone working on their own, will always have less on-costs, simple as that.

In the case of editors, an editor working from home has very few costs. They can afford to charge less than an established firm that has a registered office address and employs a number of staff. More editorial firms are using freelancers courtesy of the virtual world. But freelancers and self-employed editors also have overheads: NI, no holiday pay, no work pension, (so they have to make provision for those), and ongoing costs—computer packs up? Well, anyone with any sense will have more than one, I’ve got three (two of which are of dubious status) plus an iPad. Updated versions of style guides. Down time researching current trends in fiction. Down time reading, just like any other job, to keep up with the game, let alone stay ahead of it. There is nothing so fickle as fashion and fiction is as subject to fashion as anything else.

What else to factor in? An editor may be subsidised by a partner or parents. At the other end of the age range, they may have a pension from elsewhere, have paid off a mortgage. So, maybe, in either case they can afford to undercut the going rate. It happens all the time. How many people come out of the armed forces and set up in construction or taxi/HGV driving, when they can already survive out of their pension? Yet, people who have been doing the same job all their lives are struggling to pay rent or mortgage so need to charge a going rate, while the others are subsidised.

Years ago, an accountant colleague employed an electrician on the black and complained that his rate wasn’t cheap enough. I loved her self-righteous attitude. ‘I’m complicitly defrauding the IR but I’m complaining about his rate not being what I want.’ Gotta love accountants.

The middle way?

A while ago we did an office redec. The manager decided the cheap price was ridiculous, and the expensive one sounded like a request for an open cheque so he went for our price (we didn’t know we were in the middle until afterwards).

So, what to do?

Truth is, there are no set rules for whoever you employ as an editor. And many self-publishing authors can not afford to pay hundreds, let alone thousands, for their work to be edited and proofed. But here are a few tips.

  1. You need to be happy with who you employ. You need to be able to rely on their professionalism, but still feel that you are in control about what you want. A decorator may say that woodchip and vinyl silk are not a good idea, an editor may suggest your writing is too passive. Your choice to reject or accept their advice. But you need a good working relationship above all. Agreeing to disagree is paramount.
  2. Qualifications and experience aren’t a bad recommend. If someone’s been working in the industry for 30 or 40 years, there’s a chance they may know what they are doing. In terms of editing, leave alone the recent graduate in English/Fine Arts/Creative Writing. They may have the theory … but … and they sure as hell won’t be any good at proof-reading.
  3. Make sure you know what you want. Read around. Susan M. Toy commented that as a writer she took editing courses to know what to expect from an editor. What you really need to know is whether you want comments on plot/overall story and style, or a basic proofread, or a mix that looks at style, checks facts, identifies repetition, picks up on dialogue, characters, pace, verb tenses and usage etc. Don’t get hung up on terms like developmental, structural, substantive, line and copy edit. Know what you want, but consider asking for what you need.
  4. Make sure you have an agreed set of terms and conditions. Read them. Make sure you are happy with them. Don’t be like everyone in hospital who signs their consent to an operation without even reading about potential problems and risks. If you want to change the T&Cs before you sign on the virtual dotted line, do so. Anything after that will cost you.
  5. Do your research. Look at different prices. Does an edit include a proofread or not? Is it one edit only? Is it time limited? Do your queries cost money? Do you have to make all the changes yourself via suggested editorial track changes? Does the firm offer discounts for future work? Is that time limited? Does the editor provide general testimonials or can they provide individual references?
  6. Get a free sample edit from your proposed editor/s. If they won’t do that, forget them. Would you pay a builder to start work on your house, without a visit or a written quotation detailing what they will do?
  7. Payment up front. A lot of editors require 100% in advance. Which is why you need to do your research very carefully. That’s a lot of money for something you might not be happy with.

So, hopefully that’s provided some answers why there could be a variation between £500 and £3,000 for what could be the same job. The cheapest aren’t always the best option, but there are good people out there offering affordable prices. Sometimes you strike lucky. The expensive ones may have good people, but aren’t necessarily any better, if you can even afford them—and—their on-costs. Same for the in-the-middle ones.

The bottom line is, there are no easy answers.

But here’s some light relief.

First, dog pix, as Kev moaned that I need to add dog pix to long posts.

The boys enjoy the winter sun.

Second, the results to the ‘what car is this‘ quiz, with some words provided by the author of Few Are Chosen, MT McGuire. (Thanks MT).

The cars in my book aren’t actually cars, they are snurds – flying, submersible, vehicles.

Snurds were born out of my love of driving and the skill involved in driving safely at speed, subject to road conditions and within the legal limit.
They were also, I confess, born out of a combination of my enjoyment of driving reasonably fast (conditions and speed limit permitting) and my impatience when following vehicles which go more slowly than I.
You know the kind of thing: farm vehicles, heavy plant, lorries… The impatience in question is usually born out of my own inefficiency, either by being late or not estimating the journey time properly.
So, while waiting for a place to overtake safely I have always dealt with my impatience by pretending I could morph my vehicle into aviator mode, take off and leave them behind.
I want one so badly it hurts; although anyone who has seen The Spy Who Loved Me will know that I didn’t invent them.
The shapes of the snurds in Few Are Chosen, and the rest of the series, are merely a selection of MTM dream cars.

The SE2
My main character, The Pan of Hamgee, has a snurd based on the Elan that Lotus produced in the early 1960s. There are several variants but I gave him the S2 and named it an SE2 because I’d call all those extras ‘special equipment’. For pictures of a real one and a bit more info, there’s a Wikipedia page you can look at here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Elan. The Pan’s is the one in the first picture at the top.

A no-brainer, this one. In the 1960s any bank robber worth his salt would be driving a MKII Jag because, for a while, it could go faster than the police. The ultimate felon’s car from the golden age of cops and robbers, Big Merv had to have one. In the unlikely event you don’t know what they look like, here’s Wikipedia again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_Mark_2. It’s also the Jag driven by Inspector Morse, longer and leaner than an S Type.

The Interceptor
Based on something called the Uhlenhaut Mercedes, of which only two road legal versions were ever made (out of a handful in total). Frankly, Mercedes should probably be taken to court on some kind of road-candy denial charge for not making any more of them. It was based on the F1 Mercedes chassis but after a grim accident at LeMans in 1954, Mercedes withdrew from racing and also demurred from putting this car into production. If you thought that one with the gull wing doors was cool, wait until you have a look at this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/auto-clasico-mallorca/5642829717/ and for a bit more info, thank you Wikipedia one final time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_300_SLR#Uhlenhaut_Coup.C3.A9

The two on the back cover in the ‘guess the car’ quiz are based on Jaguar (front) and Mercedes (behind) cars.


Lots of you got the Jag, a few hit on the Mercedes, even though the famous triangle had been blacked out, but Sylvia had the eagle eye for the gull-wing doors. If you want a prize, download MT’s book from Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and everywhere else.

Years ago, I wasted a lot of time on a Land Rover forum, and a handful of us would post rare and unknown cars of all types. I had the art of searching for something I knew nothing about down to a fine art back then. And I learned an amazing amount of useless information about old cars.

Thanks to MTM for the geeky car info, and to everyone who played and had a guess.

And, finally, chatting with melouisef, I thought a poll about what sort of fiction we prefer would be interesting. No rigid descriptions here, totally mine. If you want to add a category, that isn’t there, please mention in comments.

Thanks for the comments, so here’s the add-on poll. I’ve put contemp and lit fiction together, on the simplistic grounds that they aren’t genre-specific. Many thanks for the suggestions.

73 comments on “What price your editor? (Or decorator, or plumber, or dentist, or cleaner)

  1. Lawyers of course get paid for just a single important cough. Don’t ever get involved with them unless you see them driving a bommy car, even then, it can be a ‘front’.. The best way is through recommodations. A good editor is up front and tells you what it will cost and how many proof reads and numbers of editing.
    I know nothing about book publishing but did spend a week or so at Hon. Timothy Hely Hutchinsons place in London, the closest ever I have come to fame in publishing. (Hachette Livre!).
    I gave him a couple of indoor plants for his hospitality and he visited us when we were still living in Balmain, Australia.
    A good bloke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, you lot are awake when I should be asleep. Except, I went to sleep earlier, age huh?

      Lawyers are evil. Apart from the ones who were my friends of course and did me favours. Then they were adorable.

      Recommendation is the proverbial double edged sword. What suits one, won’t suit another. Hit and miss. Nothing so fickle as folk (and fashion).

      I like fixed prices. I tell people what they will get for that price. Not hourly, not per word or per page, but for the job. I don’t price per tins of paint either. Here’s the price for the job, take it or leave it. Society is going down the road of pricing every item and screwing as much as they can out of it. I’m living in the past—this is what I’ll do, if you’re happy with the price, I’ll deliver.

      Name dropper!! We had good mates in Balmain. Spent a few good Saturday arvos out there after work. I gather it’s rather up market now. Long times in the past though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course when porn/ erotica was still banned in the US and Australia, there was the famous Justice Frankfurter test. After reading the offending material the Judge decided that the angle of excitement and arousal would be the ultimate test of the material being found obscene or not.
    There was endless discussion between different judges on different angles but after much toeing and froein, a degree of more than 90% from the floor up to the body was deemed obscene and therefore banned.
    DHL’s Lady Chatterly was banned for years in Australia and there were dangerous angles everywhere, especially on those diesel busus that used to vibrate violently backwards and forwards.


    • Lady Chatterly was the classic, was it not? John Thomas was said with a slight nuance of sexual knowledge.

      Have you read the current erotica? It is so formulaic it is actually quite interesting. It is writing ‘erotica’ by numbers, and hence by doing so, it reduces any eroticism. Erotica is or should be more than graphic representation of foreplay/oral sex/mind-blowing orgasms which seem to be the in vogue thing for now. And no, I havent read 50 shades.


  3. Well, I prefer stuff like what I write (hence why I write it), but don’t know exactly what to call it.

    However, here’s a hint . . . Jim Butcher ‘Dresden Files’ and John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” and sequels.

    The Dresden Files is a series of contemporary fantasy/mystery novels (per Wikipedia)

    Old Man’s War is a military science fiction (per Wikipedia)

    I would have called the Dresden books Modern/Urban fantasy.

    I would have called Old Man’s War Heinleinesque science fiction. It never occurred to me it was military science fiction, but I suppose there are elements of it to it.

    It does not fit is the military fiction I’m used to (Dorsai, for example) because to me military SF should deal more with the campaigns, strategy, etc. That’s just me.

    I like Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, which I would classify as science fiction, but Wikipedia lists her as ‘speculative fiction writer’.

    How about this . . . mostly SF, some fantasy as long as it’s not too fantastic (unless I write it), and not so much the traditional quest fare (unless I write it).

    Hey! . . . will you look at that! I managed to write a short answer!

    Good for me!


    • Dispersed novels? It’s actually a good tactic to write what you want to read, you are t on your own doing that. And at least you’ll always have one guaranteed reader.

      Never heard of either of those. The nearest I have got to military fiction was War and Peace, and my eyes glazed over during the military sections, and some WW1 and WW2 books.

      Spec fic is a funny category. Funny peculiar not funny haha. Sometimes it is sci-fi meets fantasy, at others it seems to be a dumping ground for books which refuse to be pigeon holed and put in a box, which is no bad thing IMO.

      Interestingly, apart from Narnia, I never really read fantasy much (apart from magical realism) until recently. Before the rise of self-pub, I tended to read whatever was touted in the literary pages of the highbrow press. These days I’ll read anything and usually have a mix of books on the go at once, plus any I’m working on.

      Your brevity, sir, is admirable.


    • I wasn’t asking for added categories, but thanks (one vote – so far the only one – for stuff I write).

      As I go through the comments, I confess to recognizing near zero author’s names. I suppose that makes me odd man out (a familiar placing).

      The year was 1978 . . . up to that point I read nearly everything I could get my hands on (in the BC era – Before Computers – I was what one might call a voracious reader).

      And then a co-worker handed me the book “I, Robot”.

      That began my focus on science fiction (usually ‘hard’ science fiction) and the demise of my interest in anything else. In short order I read all of Asimov’s works (in fiction – I read a few of his other books, but not many), Niven, Heinlein, and other notables of the era. I tried fantasy, but in the 80’s it was mostly junk. To this day, my reading is, compared to other people who want to be or are writers, very narrow in scope. Name a popular book, and I will probably have never heard of it, not of its author. Same for many classics, whatever those are.

      Not until a few years ago did I read a book that was not science fiction, and then only because I watched the short-lived TV series which, while good, was nothing like the books aside the basic premise of a wizard who is also a private detective . . . or is it the other way around?

      The Dresden books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dresden_Files), currently at 15 books and a few short stories. I would call that urban fantasy, but names don’t matter much.

      Also, I’ve never had loyalty to particular authors. For instance, Jim Butcher’s other series holds little interest for me. Same as Scalzi’s other books (the ones not associated with the ‘Old Man’s War’ universe) are similarly of little interest (including his latest best-seller).

      Probably more information than you wanted, but hey! . . . another short comment. I’m getting good at this ‘brevity” stuff.

      . . . although I did have to look up the word . . .


      • Two votes now, but I also knew you weren’t the only one who writes what you want to read.

        Authors are mainly British/Irish. Certainly in my examples, the only non-Brits/Irish were Carey (Australian) and García Márquez (Colombian).

        I’m amazed that sci-fi is so popular, moreso than I realised, it’s never done anything for me. I used to like Star Trek but I could take it or leave it, seemed pretty samey each week.

        Similarly I’ve never read/heard of any of your authors except Asimov.

        Next you will be doing a blog post with less than ten photos ;)


      • If you are judging SF based on TV shows you may be getting a very skewed perception of the genre.

        . . . wait . . . Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein? you never heard of them? Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers series? Gordon R. Dickson’s Dorsai’s (Childe Cycle)? David Brim’s Uplift wars? Clarke? Bova?

        Holy crap on a cracker! . . . if you are any indication of the general population out there, it’s no wonder I have so little in common with people.

        . . . they’ve yet to grow into human beings . . .


        • Nope. I have read one or two books just can’t remember what. Anyway I read your book, doesn’t that count for something? But, re visual media, I do like 2001, or at least I like Hal, hence naming all my (Apple) computers Hal, ie Halphone, HalPad, Haldesktop, Hallaptop.

          And if you are any indication of the general public out there who hasn’t read classic British/Irish authors …

          Liked by 1 person

          • . . . hmm . . . like some books I occasionally come across, the last pages appear missing . . .

            Luckily I have self-described skill in ‘reckoning’ how it should have ended. I’m thinking it goes something like this . . .

            And if you are any indication of the general public out there who hasn’t read classic British/Irish authors, perhaps the whole education system should be revamped, striking any mention of British/Irish authors from the curriculum, starting with that overly flowery and verbose Shake-the-spear. Then, and only then will the world be a better place; not just for humanity, but for all living things.

            Yeah . . . that sounds about right. I think we’re on the same page with this; less exposure to made-up drama is good for one’s peace of mind, understanding, and general well-being. Thanks.

            Oh, and thanks for reading my book (novel). I hope it has not spoiled your enjoyment of the other stuff you read.


  4. Gorgeous plants, I would love to see some pretty green and color right now so thanks for sharing yours. The boys are looking terrific, thanks for posting their pictures. Hugs for you and some nose kisses for those sweeties.


    • Yes, we have green all year, and something is usually in flower too. There are still a few roses, the odd plumbago flower, summer jasmine (!) the money tree is coming into flower and the winter jasmine will bloom next month.

      The boys send thanks and reciprocal nose kisses.


  5. What I find strange in the service industry is you find a guy who wants to spend top dollar to build his house but want to pay peanuts for consultancy. There are people who take these peanuts and do the job. I don’t. The people who pay peanuts are bothersome. They will wake you up at night to ask about their house or call you up on a weekend to go see where they have reached building.

    If you want me to spend my time listening to what you saw in your neighbours house and think I should include it in yours, then you got to pay for my time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are two types of people who only pay peanuts. Those who just want the cheapest possible price regardless of quality, and those who have enough money to pay a decent rate but want a cheap price AND top quality. They are a serious pain, they just don’t want to see their vast resources going to someone else. They treat people they employ like an underclass that should be permanently kept down.


  6. Editing can be a minefield but at least the advice this time is from the horse’s mouth ( not that you resemble a horse in the least). Lovely to see the boys enjoying the warmth.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a bad habit of asking for peanuts and delivering peanut butter sandwiches with salad and coffee on the side. This is fine for those who like salads and coffee.
    The dog in the second pic is quite well hidden – obvious only when one knows where to look.
    I’d love a snurd, but it would make getaway for car thieves too easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ate peanut butter sandwiches in Australia. The only good think to say about them is that they were better than cold baked bean sandwiches. Pippa always lies by his gate. Little one likes to patrol the terrace and bark at both gates. He doesn’t lie on the ground. Only on tables and chairs (and sofas).

      Who could turn down a snurd?


  8. As you made snide remarks about my arithmetic skills and hurt my feelings I shall forbear from commenting! ;)
    Other than to say … I notice you omit ”Teen-lit” from your list? I was under the impression this is a legit genre these days?
    Maybe I’m wrong?


    • You mean YA/NA categories? I think it discriminates against wrinklies. Where’s the middle-aged lit genre I ask? Or the OAP genre? I think teen-lit is a clever marketing genre that gives *some* authors an excuse to write dumbed down crap and teens an excuse not to read decent literature … seriously, though, there was no teen lit when I grew up and the world seems to be increasingly full of idiots although I am sure there is no connection there, mere coincidence. How many 14-year-olds have even heard of Solzhenitsyn let alone read any of his books? Damn just remembered I left off magical realism though which is a worthwhile category. Worthwhile category = includes authors I like.

      You can’t have feelings. You are stone.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What I missed from your list was the contemporary equivalent of traditional literature – most of the books I like best. I find werewolves, vampires and the like terminally tedious and erotica comic, but only in very small doses.


    • Actually I used to mostly read contemporary lit so I’ve no idea why I missed it out. Probably because it’s a bit vague. I’d include the likes of McKewan, Carey, Frayn, Lessing, Murdoch, et al. Maybe I’ll add a second poll to include the suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mmm. Iris Murdoch. When does she cease to be contemporary literary fiction, and become modern classic? She published her last novel in 1995, and The Bell and A Fairly Honourable Defeat, the two I would recommend for starters, in the fifties and the seventies. Oh and The Green Knight is really good too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know Clare, perhaps like classic cars and antiques? A set fifty year period? Although whether that is after birth (no too soon), publication date (too soon again) or death? Death perhaps makes one a classic? I did like the sea, it totally drew me in, I can’t remember what else I’ve read of hers though. If any others. I think she would be a good candidate though.

          A new poll perhaps?


          • Iris had such a long career: 41 years from Under the Net to Jackson’s Dilemma. If she had stopped in 1970 with AFHD, or 1973 with The Black Prince, she would still be worth remembering. If a book is still in print fifty years after publication, like John Wyndham’s are, I would call them classic.


          • Oddly enough, not long after discussing this, I read something that suggested the cut-off line was 50s. Pre-50s for classics, post 50s for modern classics which suggests we were both on the right lines :)

            There are so many good books around that I find it difficult to consider reading books that are a marketing phenomenon (Rowling) or just the fad of the moment.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I wanted to say that no editors are the same, they don’t charge the same price, they don’t provide the same service. It’s very much trial and error. And, what suits one author may not suit another. Just as no two editors are the same, authors have different needs, and that’s one of the biggest issues. We editors have our own styles as much as authors do.

      I thought your point about learning what was involved was valid, not that everyone needs to take a course or more, but it is sensible to look around, learn what is offered, and think about what sort of editing you need. And essentially, find someone you can trust, and can get on with. A good editor is a Jill of all trades.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. On editors… hmm… well, McOther is very pointy brained and clearly good at his job. He has a way of talking about what he does, down to earth, practical, calm and quietly, unobtrusively, razor sharp. He doesn’t try to sell his abilities, he just talks to people and they see he’s smart and they hire him.

    So, with editors, I went on recommendations. Both the folks I used did some aspects well but not all. My current editor is someone I stumbled upon after reading a blog post. But a bit of a chat by e-mail revealed the same kind of, relaxed, no pressure sales technique as McOther employs. Since that only comes from being comfortable with doing something, and doing it well, for a long time I knew I was probably onto a winner. Discovered a client who was a cyber buddie and got a glowing reference. Hired the editor and have been very pleased with the results.

    What I mean is that the best way is to chat to them because often an exchange of e-mails about what you want done will reveal a lot about the editor. What questions do they ask? Are they easy to chat to? You have to click with an editor and they have to ‘get’ your stuff for it to really work. Sometimes it may be that you have to have your work edited several times, by folks who don’t get it quite right, to spot right when it crops up.

    And thank you for those of you who had a guess at the Snurd/Obscure motor game! ;-) The three pointed star has to be removed. McOther nearly passed out when he saw it on the original drawings. “You can’t do that! Mercedes will have your arse.” Is what he actually said. And I hasten to add it is BASED on the Mercedes, not an actual replica, for legal reasons.

    Also thank you to anyone who downloaded the book. I hope you enjoyed it.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks MT for adding your observations. When I was a kid, my parents dinned into me some ghastly work ethic on the grounds of ‘hard work is it’s own reward’. It was only when I grew up that I realised life wasn’t quite so simple, and that telling everyone how good you were was also effective regardless of level of in/competence.

      One of the A-Ha! moments was when a colleague was waxing lyrical about one of my former press office colleagues. Said former colleague had been a journo most of her career and was in her first press office job, and like many journos, wanted to run a press office like a newsroom. Trouble is, it isn’t a newsroom, and the (political) climate in public sector PR is very different, and doesn’t fit with newsroom style. She was also a lousy manager and not very good at proofreading … Too late for me by then to say ‘but I’m much better than her with far more experience’.

      Then there was the classic example of writing a consultation document where I was battling to translate meaningless MBA speak into lucid English, and one of the directors came up with the bright idea of hiring a journalist because they knew how to write. Aaaaagh! He did apologise when my chief exec pointed out that we had a journalist … just that no one was letting me do my job. In the end, we stopped writing by committee of idiots and I got to rewrite it :) with the chief exec and one director to pick their brains.

      So sometimes, not everyone can tell blag from ability. It’s like the recommendation issue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And unless you are having a one-pass edit/proof only, it helps to be able to get on with whoever you use. But not easy to work out who’s good and who isn’t.

      Love McOther’s comment. Might have got you publicity though. ‘Mercedes sues stay at-home-mum’s first novel!’ Pointy-brained makes me laugh. Reminds me of that Nilsson album, The Point, where everyone had pointed heads.


  11. i like gerard oosterman’s comment: Lawyers of course get paid for just a single important cough.
    Brilliant! Even though I have a couple of friends in law, and they don’t fall into that category :)
    good info on editing! thanks for all the insights.
    and good to see the dog pics! i can see see that i have missed out on a number of posts. been a bit busy at this end of late. so will have to come back again soon. trust you are continuing to mend. it’s time to call it a day, but i did want to say boo. Timmy sends purrs.


    • Hello Kris and Purring Timmy

      Lawyers. I had a good friend who was a partner, and got my mum a de dnt one except he was disbarred or whatever. Think it was fiddling the revenue rather than dodgy legal practice. Shame, nice bloke and good too. Apart from those two, they seem much of a muchness best avoided.
      Yes, busy here too, although I have noticed an absence of photos in my reader of late and thought I must go see you, but you beat me too it. It’s not first Tuesday yet, so maybe you were writing it in advance?


  12. Judging the monetary value of something, someone, services I find is a juggle. I tend to do a lot of background research before committing funds but then go on gut instinct… usually there’s a feel to it if the price is too high, low or the product-service not right. There have been a few times where I’ve simply felt “not this time” and left it. Later something better has come along. Not much happens in a hurry in our life when it comes to parting with cash.
    I like the dog pics and a peek at your terrace in the winter sun with a glimpse of the ocean… sigh…
    I ticked several boxes because the book poll categories were so interesting, but if the mood takes me, I’ll read just about anything. Since being in a book club and on WordPress I’ve found my reading has broadened beyond what I would have once chosen… but I still have an affection for expat books where people pick up their lives and move to another country… hhhmmm who do I know that could write something like that?!


    • I think it’s a nightmare. Sure we all want a good job for a low price, but logic suggests good doesn’t come cheaply. Experience shows that expensive may not be good. Nightmare scenario.

      Not much happens … love that quote. Totally applicable here too.

      Sea actually. Mediterranean Sea. From Gib it would be a mix, Med, Strait of Gib plus Ocean! The Atlantic. I love the Atlantic. Classic beaches in Scotland, Portugal, Spain, France.

      I ticked loads too (yes, I answer my own polls!) but like you, I read pretty much anything these days, even though I still have a few preferred authors/book types. I know. I’ve thought about it and done snippets but never got down to it. 1) Travels the world and gets married in Sydney 2) Chucks work and does it again but differently 3) Settles in Spain 4) Settles in Gib. When I run out of work I’ll make a start on it, but prob, won’t publish until I’ve got at least two written and the other two part written. Big question. Who to use as an editor … ?


  13. Not sure how comfortable I would be with and editor who wanted 100% up front. I’ve been lucky with editors. I have two that I enjoy working with and who I learn from each experience. But it wasn’t easy finding them. It takes time, but it’s important not to rush it.


    • It seems a bit too much to me too. I think fifty per cent is fair. For new clients/editors, neither knows how it will work out. Sure, I offer a free sample edit as do other reasonable editors.

      I certainly wouldn’t pay out (putting on client hat here) without some idea of what I was going to get, and a sample page of track changes on a web site wouldn’t be enough for me. I would want the thinking behind it and as MT says above, some email exchanges to get a feel for the person behind the edit.

      Got to love repeat clients though, who just send money and say please get on with this. There’s a big element of trust with Internet transactions and you have to go with how it feels. Looking at the websites for bigger firms rather than one person editors, I think they look quite impersonal. To get the best out of someone’s work you need to establish some empathy and a random editor assigned for a one-pass automaton job is unlikely to do that. Proof-reading, yes, but editing no. Again, if you read MT, she said it took her time and experience too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. As you say, price/quote is no guarantee of performance any more. Have to do your homework – solid list of ideas to consider when hiring.
    Always enjoy the pups – and the sun looks nice and bright there…drizzling and 50 again here. Early brisk dog walk this morning….Susan’s island is looking better and better ( except the mosquito issues…but we have about the same disease annoyances)
    A book I haven’t read is the one I want to read. As a kid, I dove through the school libraries, the small city library, and even the county book mobile. Desperate for unread books.It was hot during the summers – mandatory “quiet time” from 12-2 in neighborhood and we had mandatory summer reading lists from school. It stayed light late, but bugs sent us inside, so we all read a lot – parents included. Now I read pretty widely. The library seems to always have new books coming in and with ebooks available…all I need is more time…and less doggies. Not much on “what if this had happened in history instead of that happening” books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Late to my own blog replies. Oops. Well value for money and skills are the first thing to consider, but then, do you try and put your money ethically? (Ha! What’s that?) me, I’d try and get someone I was comfortable with, who I thought would do what I wanted, hopefully knew what they were doing. Anybody’s guess though. I think the going rate should be at least in the middle of that spectrum.

      Only child me, along with my dog (there’s a pattern there) books were my best friend. Our library doesn’t get a lot of new books. I mentioned requests but I’m not sure they’d like my esoteric suggestions so I never did it … maybe one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Folks… I have to agree with everything Rough says. Makes complete sense to me.

    However, I will add, be careful when choosing an editor. There are many out there that are NOT REAL Editors. For example, I’ve notice more and more authors offering editing services. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe a lot of them will attempt to or believe they can do a pretty fair job. I also believe that some of them are genuinely trying to offer a reasonable service and cost to fellow/newbie authors. But, editing is specialty and not everyone has the necessary skills to do it. On the other side of that coin are those who charge astronomical prices and don’t do any better a job than our wonderful fellow authors above.

    I can’t believe I missed MT’s quiz! Oh and on your thingywatsit. I checked almost all the types… I only left off Romantic, erotica and a couple others. :D

    It’s still £2,500, and the doggy pics are best! They are what make the post. :D


    • I’ve actually read advice on how to ‘set up’ as an editor. Aimed at graduates, and anyone who thinks they can spel reelly. Just offer to do someones MS for free or pin money and you’ll soon get the experience!!! I mean seriously, that is well bad advice. And, the author needs to know what they want and/or don’t want.

      I’m not sure about authors setting up as editors. A handful of self-published books over a few years does not an editor make. It’s hardly thirty years of paid employment experience in print and publishing.

      Well judging by your Bentley answers you wouldn’t have won 😀

      I think my thingywatsit is quite interesting in terms of results, surprised me.

      I took your doggy comment to heart and added one for my Valentine post too :) which seemed more popular than the themed rose feature header 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is no substitute for experience, I fully agree and like I said, it is a specific skill set and not everyone has it. Take myself for example: well educated, advanced grammar studies that I even aced and yet I still cannot trust myself to do my own editing. Sure, I could probably do some basic proofreading for someone and give a few pointers, but come one, we both know that’s hardly editing. There is so much more involved that I couldn’t even begin to touch on it in a simple comment box like this. (Mm. would make for a good post though.) Maybe we should collaborate when we’ve got the time?

        I like Bentleys :D


        I’ll have to check it out. (keeps the 50 shades at bay) :D Hey, 50 shades of podenco? :D


        • Bit difficult to have 50 shades of an albino. Only one shade of white there. No grey with little Snowy. And he’d def be the D in the relationship.

          I’m all for education at every level, but a few year’s experience of rewriting other people’s work goes a long way too.

          Proofreading is interesting. I’m actually good at it but the problem is, I can’t confine myself to proofreading. Well, you can imagine the results 😀 lippy gibitses: ‘I just think you should change this section here …’ etc etc

          Liked by 1 person

          • We could go with two shade… night and day. :D

            I agree.

            I wouldn’t mind basic proofreading for anyone: Marking up obvious errors and making simple suggestions similar to when I was lecturing and going over student papers for those who handed their work in early or wanted me to have a quick browse through it for them before they turned it in. (Some students are smart like that) I wouldn’t want to do a full-edit deal, though. I’m not qualified enough. Now had I taken a course on manuscript editing while I was in uni. That would lend a different perspective.


  16. I am so happy to have connected with you!! Thank you for sharing your link with me! I have found this post informative and def gives me some things to consider moving forward. :) Great post!


    • Thank you for your visit, reading, and your comments. I don’t write about editing all the time, just from time to time, and I write book reviews too. But mainly this is a personal blog, so gardens and life in Gib and Spain appear as well. Keeps readers on their toes.

      Liked by 1 person

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