You get rankled when you find typos in books, and you are sure you could do a much better job of editing and proofreading than many people out there. You know what a split infinitive is; you know the conditional tense, and you would never, ever, under any conditions allow a pronoun to not agree with a topic in a sentence. In short, you think you have all of the skills required to be a fantastic copy editing. You May have the technical skills needed, but knowledge of grammar and punctuation isn’t sufficient if you would like to be a fantastic editor. Emotional intelligence and true dedication are needed if an editor is to succeed. Through time, I have heard some real horror stories from writers about editors they have worked with, and from editors about writers. The majority of these boil down to not the editor’s skills or ability to perform their job, but to personality conflicts. Following are a few ideas for editors to help them have great relationships with their writer clients.
A good editor will know how much to charge, not by setting one price for all books, or inflating costs, but by simply looking over the manuscript, how to copyright a few pages, and emphasizing an estimate on how long it takes to edit the book. An editor may edit 1,000 words of a manuscript, find it took fifteen minutes to do, and then figure that he can do 4,000 words an hour, so for a 60,000 word manuscript, it is going to take about fifteen hours to edit. A cost can then be derived based upon what the editor wants to charge per hour and if a second or third tap, which will require less time than the first, are also required.
A Superior editor provides a price quote, say $1,000 for editing a particular manuscript, and then stick to that cost. Sometimes, the editor may find the book isn’t as much work as was anticipated, but after some practice, editors will normally be able to do a fairly accurate estimate. If the editor ends up putting in a couple of hours more than was estimated, a fantastic editor will also adhere to the price quoted instead of alarming the writer by asking for more money midway through. Authors don’t wish to pay by the hour because they get frightened by what the cost is going to end up being, and they also need to know beforehand so that they can budget. A good editor will calm those fears by sticking to his word the quote.