Ay mios dio. My boss' wife is writing a book on Latinization. Apparently he has mentioned to her that I'm a person with a good deal of writerly experience and that she might want me to take a look at the mss. & proofread/edit for her.

My problemo: I have NO CLUE what to charge. I alluded to the fact that I'd only previously done this in an academic (read: not professional) context, and thus would need to research to see what would be fair. I think I sounded a bit like a numbskull when she called me (not to mention WAY overestimated the time I would need to look at the thing), but I'd rather be honest now than sorry later. Especially since this is the BOSS' wife.

SO: any of you with experience in publishing (I know you're out there somewhere), 13,000 word mss. - to me by Jan. 11th, due Jan. 19th; me: no professional experience whatsoever. How much should I charge? I don't want to charge nothing, because then I'll look like a total amateur (which I am, but this is beside the point), but I definitely do not want to overcharge the boss' wife. Me look bad. Very, very bad me look.

Also, I think she may be deluded OR I am very ill-informed about how mss. word counts translate into book page lengths. She says that 13,000 should be something close to 100 pages. Perhaps she said 113,000 words and I misheard? Or I know no math. I reveal my utter ignorance. Please, someone be gracious to the tragically ambitious.


Muchas gracias.


Anonymous said…
$30 per hour.
thanks much.
Christopher Morris said…
Read your poems in BLACK CLOCK and loved them. Googled you and found this. And as I'm a professional editor, I suppose I can address your editing concern as well.

Probably your boss's wife's MS is more than 13,000 words. A properly formatted manuscript (i.e., 12-pt Courier, double-spaced, etc.) should estimate at 250 words per page. This makes a 13,000-word MS approx 50-55 pages. Not much of a book there. A 113,000-word MS estimates out at 450 or so pages, and is, as you can see, a world of difference.

The company I work for (which probably should remain nameless) freelances copyediting for $5-$7 per page. If I were you, I'd offer my services for $2 per page as a matter of kindness. For a 13,000-word MS, you'd get a little over a hundred dollars; for a 113,000 word MS, slightly under a grand. This would probably be acceptable for all parties.

On the other hand, I once edited a friend's 70,000-word novel for the princely sum of $250, and he complained for weeks about the overcharging. So, I guess, caveat emptor.

Nonetheless -- and here I move onto other concerns -- I did quite enjoy your poems in BLOCK CLOCK. Know where I can find others?
Thanks for your thoughtful answer - I'll have to update this blog, as I've actually already begun the editing process, although your figures are pretty close to what I'm charging. The ms. is pretty close to 80 pgs, but it isn't properly formatted (not double-spaced, with separate pages solely for the chapter heading). It's quite a daunting project for my first job, but I'm up to it, I think.

Thank you also for reading (and enjoying!) my work. I have a few other pieces published here and there - one apiece in the last two editions of Columbia Poetry Review, and a few in online zines: 27 rue de fleurs, Wicked Alice, and 21 Stars, all of which are linked in the sidebar of this blog. I hope to have other work published very soon - be sure and check back here if you're interested - I always post when I publish.

Thanks again!


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