You have some questions. I have some answers. It’s entirely likely that after reading these FAQs you’ll have more questions, and that’s okay. Ask away*.
What sort of experience/qualifications do you hold? Along with an Honours degree in French; QTS (Qualified Teacher Status); a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and more than ten years’ experience teaching English and grammar to advanced-level students, I’ve spent the last five years participating in various workshops and writing classes, studying the craft and helping out fellow writers.
What will you do with my manuscript? Read it, do an LBL on it, and return it to you.
What’s an LBL? A line-by-line edit; it’s where the editor tracks changes with comment bubbles on any items that seem to need further attention (e.g. word repetition/something unclear/suggestions for alternate transitions between paragraphs, etc).
Can I see a sample edit? So I know what it is you’ll be doing with my manuscript? Yes. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you one.
Can I ask questions or ask for clarification on your suggestions? Does that cost extra? Yes to the first question, and no to the second.
I’m only just getting started and I’d like you to see how things are looking. Can you give me some advice/help on just a few chapters? Yes. But it’ll cost ya… not as much as a full LBL, mind.
How long will I have to wait for my edits? Good question. Obviously, it depends on the length of the manuscript, and how much other work I’ve got on, but I’ll let you know straight away the sort of turnaround time we’d be looking at. For example, a short story of approximately 2000 words would probably take 3-5 days, while an 80-page document up to two weeks.
How much contact will I be able to have with you during the process? I’ll be available day and night, and any time between. Drop me a line and I’ll get back to you as soon as my brain can form a coherent response.
Do I have to make the changes you’ve suggested? Will you be offended if I don’t? No, and no. Not at all. This is a partnership, but at the end of the day it’s your baby. And, aside from a number of hard-and-fast rules, mainly pertaining to grammar, this is a subjective old game. That said, there are certain techniques, tricks of the trade—call ‘em what you like—that do lead to a higher rate of success. I’ll simply be passing on that wisdom and knowledge.
Will you be honest with me when something isn’t working in my writing? And when you like something specifically? Yes, and yes. I know you’ll want to know when things ain’t quite right, but I also know how good it feels when someone gives you a bit of praise. It’s hugely important and I’ll never miss an opportunity to tell you when you’ve nailed it.
Can I send the corrected version back to you to make sure I’ve got it right? Or do I only get the one time? Yes, send back the corrected version. That’s part of the deal.
I have a Mac and save all my work as .pages files. Can I send you those? Sorry; until I sell the rights of my own novel to some big-shot Hollywood film studio, I can’t afford a Mac. I won’t, therefore, be able to open your file. So, Word documents only I’m afraid. There’s another reason for this, though: most publishers only accept .doc, .docx, .pdf or .rtf files.
How do I pay you? PayPal is easiest.
Can I make payments over time for a longer manuscript? Yep. Let’s say you send me 80 pages at time, I’d probably ask you for a monthly payment. Over the course of that month, we’ll bat your manuscript back and forth, and when we’re both happy with those 80 pages, we’ll move on to the next lot.
Can I trust you not to sell my manuscript on to some big-shot Hollywood film studio, or pass it off as your own? Absolutely.
Will you take one look at my work, groan and declare publicly that the very last thing the world needs is more chick lit/clit lit/mediocre Harry Potter rip-offs? Definitely not.
Will working with you make it more likely for me to find a publisher? Do you know any publishers? Can you put in a good word for me? Allow me to answer those questions in the order in which you asked them: yes, no, and—consequently—no.
If I still don’t get published after working with you, you know I’m totally going to blame you, right? Yes.