This afternoon, I was looking at listings from publishing companies who hire freelance editors. I came across a listing from a company in Pittsburgh that offered full-time employment, benefits, PTO, the whole nine yards. The candidate would need a four-year degree in English or something similar, (preferably) two years of experience, a passing score on the publisher's editing test, and a thorough knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style (the most commonly used set of editing rules in publishing).

In other words, they wanted an experienced professional editor.

The compensation they offered?

$14.50 per hour.

My reaction: "That's insulting."

I've seen signs around Denver offering full-time employment at fast-food places for $13.50 per hour.

(Not to knock fast-food places. Those people work hard, earn their pay, and deal with an embarrassing number of customers who need lessons in basic manners. At the same time, I looked at several of those job listings online, and they don't even require a high-school diploma, much less any experience.)

Here's the thing about editing, cover design, and all those other things that happen between the author typing "The End" and someone being able to buy the book: People seem to think that that work is easy. The companies and freelancers out there who'll edit an entire book for $0.007 per word or design a cover for $50—both prices that I've actually seen or had quoted to me—don't help with that perception. (I suspect those types of freelancers are the people behind the cringe-worthy covers I often see in Facebook author groups.)

There's a reason companies want editors with bachelor's degrees and years of experience. Because editing is rarely easy. To name a few cases, I've worked with authors who

  • got multiple historical facts wrong, causing me to question the accuracy of much of the book

  • pursued an argument from point A to point B by way of point L and point Z for good measure

  • included a badly formatted and confusing historical timeline that took me almost an hour to untangle and put in order

  • somehow made it to the final proofreading stage with glaringly obvious errors still in the manuscript

And apparently a professional publishing company thinks that all the expertise and work required to fix those problems is worth a little more than fast-food wages. 

Not cool.

Fortunately, I believe you value your work more highly than that. You want your manuscript to be the best possible version of itself before you send it out to the world. And that's what I want to help you do. 

So try me.

Write on,


(Modified from an email originally sent to subscribers 1/16/2020. Photo by Melanie Dretvic on Unsplash.)