Charles Moffat is a Canadian writer who writes both fiction and non-fiction, but also works as an editor for fantasy authors. He edits both short fiction and novels, but he prefers to edit fantasy stories. He also sometimes edits historical fiction, horror and science fiction.
Moffat charges $35 CDN per hour for his editing services, regardless of whether the client wants basic copy editing or heavy copy editing. He can also charge a rate based upon a price per word, but will require a test sample to determine how much editing time is needed.
For reference in 2008 the Editorial Freelancers Association recommended that editors charge the following rates.
- Basic copy editing: $25 to $40 per hour Pace: 5 to 10 pages an hour
- Heavy copy editing: $35 to $50 per hour Pace: 2 to 5 pages an hour
- Substantive or Line editing: $40 to $65 per hour Pace: 1 to 6 pages per hour
- Developmental editing: $50 to $80 per hour Pace: 2 to 5 pages per hour
- Moffat only does copy editing. He is not interested in doing line editing or developmental editing.
- Some copy editors charge anywhere from $20 to $300 per hour for their editing services. It can range from the highly fraudulent (people who just spellcheck and grammar check the work) to the highly professional who work for authors who are household names. Remember you get what you pay for.
Payment based upon Word Count
To pay based upon word count Moffat first needs to do a 1 hour test to estimate how much time will be required to edit 1000 words. To do this you need to pay a $17.50 CDN deposit and send 1000 words from a short story or a sample chapter. It should take less than 30 minutes to edit 1000 words.
Moffat will then edit the 1000 words, time it to determine what rate should be charged per word, and respond back with the fee rate. If he finishes ahead of the 30 minute time then the time difference will be noted and a sum of 58.33 cents per minute will be either kept for the writer's future payment tab, or it can be returned to the writer. (There is a $1.50 fee if the writer requires any sum returned via Interac E-Transfer.)
Some editors prefer to do 2 to 5 hour long trial edits, which certainly pays well, but because Moffat also edits short fiction (short stories, novelettes, novellas) then long trial edits don't always make sense for some writers. His compromise is a shorter trial edit of 1000 words to see how much time is required.
Note - Moffat reserves the right to change the rate he charges per word if the quality of the work product being sent to him differs greatly from earlier trial edits. This will not affect any works that are currently agreed upon in terms of rate, but would affect any future rates.
How to Make Payments
Moffat accepts payments via PayPal or Interac Email Transfer.
Reminder - There is a $1.50 fee if the writer requires any sum returned via Interac E-Transfer.
How to Hire Charles Moffat
To hire Moffat as your editor you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- The word count length of your finished work of fantasy fiction.
- Whether you want basic copy editing or heavy copy editing.
- Whether the work has been previously self-edited or edited.
- Any objectives or issues with the work the writer wants to make note of. Eg. Issues concerning tone, structure.
- Mention whether you are also expecting feedback on the story itself, and if so how much. Some writers crave this, some do not because they fear criticism.
- Any other concerns or issues you may have.
Tips When Hiring An Editor
- The story should be completed. Beginning, middle and ending should all be done. Don't ask an editor to edit something that is incomplete or in a state of still being written or re-written.
- Never send your editor updated versions of the story that they have to "edit all over again" to check for more mistakes unless you're willing to pay extra on an hourly basis.
- If your work is still unfinished you may want to consider hiring a developmental editor instead. Otherwise you should wait until you are done before hiring a copy editor.
- Hiring a copy editor is a bit like ordering a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. You pay first and then the editor delivers the finished product. Do not expect editors to accept a job without payment first. They have bills to pay too.
- When hiring editors it is generally recommended that you test several different editors before making a decision. Note that the cheapest editor or the more expensive editor isn't always the best or more economical choice. The more expensive editor might simply be busier and has raised their rates because they're so busy editing other people's work. Likewise the cheapest editor may simply be feeding your work through spell check and grammar check, and they won't even bother to read your work to manually check for mistakes that sneak past the spell check.
- It is highly recommended that you use spell check before sending a finished draft to your copy editor. This way your editor doesn't spend most of their time fixing minor spelling mistakes and can focus on fixing other issues.
- While you can ask to pay per word count you should not try to bargain over price. Editors have their own writing to work on and bills to pay. They don't have time to deal with "people looking for a bargain".
- Lots of writers feel like they want to "know" their editor on a personal level. This certainly makes sense if the writer is entering a partnership with a developmental editor, but not necessary when dealing with either a copy editor or a line editor.
- Some editing companies have multiple editors working there and your story could be split up between editors in order to produce a faster turnaround time. While this is certainly faster it is usually preferable to have a single person edit your work.
- If your story was translated from another language (or contains passages in other languages) you may need to hire an editor for those specific passages. Or at very least you should warn your editor that there may be faults in the translation.
- If a writer is looking for lots of feedback on their work they should really be looking for a proofreader or a developmental editor.
- If you really like the editor's work don't forget to tip your editor!
Why is it Important to Hire an Editor?
Typos happen. People make mistakes. Spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes - these things aren't always caught by spell check or grammar check. Worse than that however are when a writer might copy/paste a whole paragraph and it ends up in two places at the same time. Or when a character's hair is red in one chapter and brown in another chapter. Consistency matters, and there is no computer program that checks for that.
Sometimes when someone is writing they might be writing something in a different language and translating it into English, but if English is their second language then some of their translations might not make sense. Even professional authors like Andrzej Sapkowski have this problem as he first writes his books in his native Polish and then they are translated into other languages, at which point bad translations sneak into the text. At which point if they don't have a sharp eyed editor then the mistake could go unnoticed.
When it comes to book sales having a well edited book can make the difference between a good review and a bad review, and likewise when querying publishers it is important that everything is perfectly polished. Some publishers will read the first page and if they spot any mistakes they will immediately trash it.
Thus having a good editor can often be the difference between good reviews and bad reviews, and the difference between being published and having your work trashed.