fbpx
Janey Burton

PUBLISHING CONSULTANT

Editor & Contracts Negotiator

When should I hire an editor?

What training and experience do you have?

Which categories of books do you work with?

What services do you offer?

How much will an editing service cost?

Do you do sample edits?

Can I have a reference from other authors you have worked with?

Do you have a contract or set of terms and conditions which includes a confidentiality clause?

Can we speak on the phone or via Zoom?

Can I ask follow-up questions after the edit is completed?

What format should my manuscript be in?

What tools do I need to use to work with you?

How long will the edit take?

Can you help me write a pitch letter/find an agent?

I’m not ready to hire you just yet. How do I keep in touch?

An editor can help elevate a book to the best it can be, but not all editors are created equal. It’s important to find the right editor for you and your work.

Here are some questions to ask an editor before hiring them, together with my answers to those questions, and links to further information here on my website. If I look like the right editor for you, you can go ahead and get in touch.

When should I hire an editor?

You should hire an editor when your book is as good as you can make it on your own. Self-editing will make your money go further. Bear in mind that many editors (including me) book work in advance, so it’s wise to enquire about availability a few weeks to a couple of months before you need editing to begin. I am often not available for last-minute editing work.

What training and experience do you have?

Not everyone working as an editor has formal editorial training or experience at a publishing house. Some have a degree in English or are authors themselves, and that may make them skilled at developmental work, although there are also courses available for structural or developmental editors to augment their skills.

A copy editor or proofreader should have formal editorial training, because otherwise they won’t be aware of all the things a trained editor looks for. Editors who have worked for a publishing house may have been sent on a training course by their employer to provide them with those necessary skills, as well as receiving training on the job from a senior editor.

I read law at King’s College London, and I have completed courses in proofreading and copy editing from Chapterhouse and the Publishing Training Centre. I’ve also undertaken training in structural editing for fiction from the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) and I regularly complete additional courses from respected sources such as Louise Harnby as part of my continuing professional development.

Not all editors have worked in the publishing industry before becoming an editor, though they may have worked in a related field, such as journalism, which provides a useful background.

I began working in publishing in London in 2006, and worked for literary agencies, independent publishers and Big 5 publishers. You can see more of my CV on Linkedin.

Which categories of books do you work with?

Non-fiction: General and popular non-fiction. Areas of particular interest include memoir, biography, careers, and self-help.

Fiction: Commercial fiction in all categories for adults. I particularly enjoy mysteries, thrillers, comic fantasy and women’s fiction including romance and cosy mystery. No poetry or children’s books.

What services do you offer?

I offer consultation, editorial, and contracts services. You can find a full list of my services on my home page.

How much will an editing service cost?

My most popular editing service is the manuscript assessment, which starts at £350 for manuscripts up to 50,000 words. You can find more information here: Everything You Need to Know About Manuscript Assessment.

Copy editing starts at £15 per 1000 words, and proofreading starts at £12.50 per 1000 words. You can find more information here: Everything You Need to Know About My Editing Services.

Do you do sample edits?

Not exactly. Unfortunately, there are authors out there who seek what we call a Frankenedit, which is where they approach several editors asking for a free sample edit, giving each of them a different chapter of their manuscript. In this way, they hope to get their book edited for free. We editors warn each other about authors who seem to be doing this, and in response some editors have taken to charging for a sample edit.

I no longer offer sample edits. When taking on a copy edit, I usually have a look at the whole manuscript first and draw up a list of the particular issues I see and would address in an edit, alongside the general corrections and issues of consistency with which a copy edit deals. This prevents my work being used as part of a Frankenedit.

If you are looking for a manuscript assessment, I can show you a sample section from a previous assessment – just ask to see a Romance, Thriller or Memoir sample when you get in touch. These samples are anonymised and therefore partial.

My copy editing clients have often first purchased a manuscript assessment from me and are ready for a copy edit after further work on the content, so I am already familiar with their writing style, and they are familiar with my approach.

Can I have a reference from other authors you have worked with?

My home page has a selection of testimonials from authors, publishers and literary agents I have worked with or for, but I do not divulge my clients’ contact information in order to get new work.

Do you have a contract or set of terms and conditions which includes a confidentiality clause?

My terms and conditions are based on the CIEP’s model set, and I send a copy to all new clients. The confidentiality clause says:

The nature and content of the work will be kept confidential and not made known to anyone other than the Client and its contractors without prior written permission.

Can we speak on the phone or via Zoom?

I offer a free 15-minute discovery call to any new client who wants one, and mini consultations are available via Zoom or phone.

Can I ask follow-up questions after the edit is completed?

Yes. The most efficient way to deal with follow-up questions is for the author to make a list and schedule a call with me to go through them.

What format should my manuscript be in?

Please send your manuscript as a Word document. I do not work with manuscripts in Pages or as Google docs.

What tools do I need to use to work with you?

It would be helpful if you were familiar with the Track Changes and comment functions in Word, as this will help you deal efficiently with edits.

Otherwise, a familiarity with Zoom or Skype may be helpful, and the ability to pay by bank transfer or credit card is essential as I no longer take cheques.

How long will the edit take?

This depends on the type of editing being sought, the length of the book, the condition of the writing, and how much other work I have on at the time.

I will estimate the time to turn the project around at enquiry stage and confirm a delivery date before beginning the work. As a guide, a copy edit will take a minimum of three weeks, and it is advisable to book in advance.

Can you help me write a pitch letter/find an agent?

I have written a guide to writing a pitch letter here, and my mini consultation service is ideal for polishing up an author’s submission materials and coaching them through finding an agent.

I’m not ready to hire you just yet. How do I keep in touch?

The best thing to do is to sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Inbox Edition, which will also provide you with subscriber exclusives such as deals on my services. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter.