Hire Me If You Really Must

I’m a content editor: I do manuscript evaluation, substantive editing, and developmental editing for fiction and narrative non-fiction. You can see standard rates for these and other services at the Editorial Freelancers’ Association.

You can send me the first 10 pages (maximum 3,000 words) of your work, or a short story of equivalent word count, as an inexpensive get-to-know-ya. I’ll get it back to you within 24 hours unless it’s over a weekend, in which case, probably Monday.

Cost is $50 USD. There’s an email address and a Paypal button further down past some useful information that will help you figure out whether to spend money or not.

To see a few of my favorite past projects, view my editing portfolio. A lot of them are blended genres usually something + speculative, although I also love mystery and literary.

None of them are horror, angels/demons/”spiritual gifts,” New Age, or sexually explicit.


Here’s a checklist for before you hire a fiction editor.

Did you do all the essential things?

Okay, then. Here’s a starting place.

1) Format the first 3,000 words (approximately 10 pages) of your story as follows:

  • Word or Open document (NO PDFs or InDesign files please)
  • Times New Roman 12 point font
  • Default margins (1″ all the way around)
  • Double line spacing
  • No extra line space after paragraph breaks
  • No, you can’t try to cram in more words with weird formatting to get a “better deal.” There’s a $50 idiot tax for that, and any editing will be a separate charge. (I’m approximately half kidding. I mean, for real, dude?)

If you’re not the jerk in the last bullet point, you can send your writing sample as an attached document file to [email protected]

This is only for the start of your story, or for short stories 3,000 words and under. Random sections of your novel will be subject to the $50 tax.

2. Fee (payable by PayPal): $50 USD.

3. If this works well for both you and me, we can talk about further services.

A brief FAQ

“What is the first ten pages fiction critique/3,000 word non-fiction sample edit?”

It’s a low-cost way to meet and greet with an editor, and a chance for the editor to show you some pizzazz. That’s right, young whippersnapper, back in my day they called it pizzazz.

You’ll want to have gone over your project with good critique partners (most easily found by joining a guild dedicated to your preferred genre). When you’re not making substantial leaps forward that way, that’s the time to come to me and let me go over your work line by line, with detailed suggestions on how to implement essential techniques more strongly.

“Saying ‘idiot tax’ is mean.”

You have to pay me if you want me to be nice.

Here are some special moments from real-life tax subjects of the Empress of Evil, aka me. The rest of you can laugh with me and perish the thought of these breaches of professional etiquette.

“Isn’t there a discount for stories/samples under the word count limit?”

ALSO “I’m only writing short blog pieces, can’t I send you six shorter things or else get a discount on my sample?”

No. Sample edit prices have a baseline because of the time spent on client communication. If believing in the value of the editor is not your thing, why are you here?

“But I’ve already had my novel’s first pages edited by three different editors!”

1) Then why are you asking me? They’re probably nicer than I am, even if you do pay me.

2) Is this literally the only thing you’ve written? Oh, no, no, no. Go write many things.

“But novels take so much time and I want to perfect this one and release it to the world!”

1) There are no shortcuts to perfection. In fact, you will never get there at all. That’s not how this works.

2) What does this have to do with your first 10 pages? You’re going to need about 390 more, and that’s called a content edit, not a first ten pages.

3) No, they don’t. Professional indies have determined it takes about four books a year to make an income. If you’re serious about doing this on a level that requires the expense of editing, it’ll really help to figure out your own best way to draft in 90 days or less. See also NaNoWriMo.

If you’re not really motivated to think clearly right now, it’s not the time to be querying editors. We’re expensive.

Most of all, it’s more important that you be at peace with your own state of mind and place in the journey than that you do a book this year or whatever timeline. Put on your big-kid panties and own the place you’re in.

“I emailed you this morning, why haven’t I heard back yet, did you get my email?”

Yes, but sometime after high school, I also got a life. It occasionally takes me away from my desk.

If you ask me something that I need to think about, I won’t reply immediately. You’ll get a thoughtful answer that’s been thoroughly considered.

If I think we’re not a good fit, I’ll give you the facts breakdown on that so you can use that information to help you seek out someone who is. I honestly don’t want you to waste your time and money. In the meantime, stop panicking. Did you forget your towel or something?

“I know you told me to go practice my writing more and get critique feedback for free first and that I need more experience so I can understand how to apply editorial advice, because I’ve barely written anything ever, but I just really, really, really want you to be my editor!”

You are the person who cannot pay me enough to be nice.

I’ll be in my bunker with my dog. Please route all communications through my mustachioed camo-wearing friend over there with the targeting system.

Alternatively, someone out there who doesn’t care about your humanity will be happy to fleece you for all you’re worth.

You don’t need so much advice.