New: Pay What You Can For Editing

Over the last few years as a freelance editor, I’ve raised my rates from my introductory offer to a level in keeping with both the quality of my work, and industry standards. As a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and in my contracts with institutional clients, for example, my rates are competitive, fair, and most importantly, accurately compensate me for the decades of experience that I bring to each project. It took me a long time to feel comfortable asking to be paid a decent wage, and I know I deserve it.

But at the same time, I also know that I lose potential clients who can’t afford to pay a professional editor, and who instead have to turn to people who don’t have real editing experience, or not much of it, just because they’re cheap. Worse, some authors skip the editing process all together. I love speculative fiction, I love the genre community, and I have stressed – a lot – over the conflict between paying my rent and helping those who could really use it.

I’ve recently introduced new editing packages to further tailor what I’m offering to a client’s needs, in hopes that no one is paying more than they should. I’ve been taking clients with budget constraints as they come to me, without advertising, whenever I can. I’ve offered sales, and I’ve quietly told friends and clients that if they know someone in trouble, send them my way and I’ll give them a deal. Still, I worry that I’m excluding authors who didn’t know that I’d help if I could.

So I’m introducing a new program: Pay what you want for editing services.

Tell me everything you can about your project, and what you can afford to pay for it. I’ll get you on my waiting list, and when I have a cancellation or open spot in my calendar, I’ll go down the list, first come first serve. You’ll get exactly the same services you would have if you had booked at my usual rate, but at a cost you can afford.

Of course, there’s a limit to how many low-cost clients I can take on in a single month. You may have to wait a few weeks, or even longer, before I can fit you in. And if you come to me with a ridiculous offer, I’ll be honest about immediately turning you down. $50 to copyedit a 150,000 word manuscript is probably not going to happen, since that’s a solid week’s worth of work, or two (depending on the quality of the writing before I get to it). But I’ll take every job that I can. Shorter projects may even sneak into my schedule more quickly, if I’ve got a free evening.

I want every author to have a chance at a professional edit for their work before they send it out to a publisher, or publish it themselves. Writing is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to revise it alone.

If you’re ready to get started, fill out the contact form below.


Sign up now open for new online workshop! “Editing 101″, begins Jan 2015

Beginning Monday, January 5, 2015, I’ll be teaching a 4 week intensive online workshop on the basics of editing. Like my other workshops, it will be held entirely online. Lectures will be sent out as PDFs, class discussion will take place in our private forum, and assignments will be due each week. This format allows students to participate on their own schedule, whether they’re working around a job or family commitments, or are logging in from anywhere in the world.

During the workshop, we will cover:

Definitions, editing marks, using (and creating) style sheets, important style manuals, levels of editing, and fact-checking.

The basics of copyediting: concepts and skills necessary for line editing (also called copyediting), relying mainly on the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed; editing vs. proofreading; tips for spotting tricky errors.

The basics of developmental editing: what it is and isn’t, including the specifics of developmental editing in fiction.

We’ll also cover rates, and working with clients, including querying about edits, maintaining an author’s voice, and related services.

I expect this to fill up quickly, so I’m posting it now for people who read my blog/Twitter/Facebook to get a jump on enrolling before I advertise anywhere else. Like with my other workshops, I’ll cap the number of students so we’re not too crowded, and the price will go up in December and January, so you’ll get the best price by signing up in advance.

Enroll now for only $75


If you’ve wanted to know more about editing so that you can polish your own work, or you’re thinking of branching out into a little freelance editing, this is the workshop to get you started.


It’s true! Writing very short fiction can improve your novel.

I’ve had great success teaching flash fiction, and my students have gone on to be more widely published, and better writers. But I often hear from people who say something like:

“Oh, that sounds cool, but I don’t write short stories. I mostly write novels.”

Fear not, friend. Flash fiction is for you, too.

Writers Digest suggests learning to write flash because “no matter what you write, stringent word limits can challenge and sharpen your skills in ways that can improve even your long-form work.” Writing great flash requires the same skills as writing a great novel: descriptions that show instead of tell, concise language, poetic (compact yet evocative) style, and clear vision.

Microfiction (work that begins, ends, and feels complete under 1000 words) isn’t a fragment of a story. It’s not a scene without an anchor in the rest of the tale. It is its own moment. That kind of writing focuses on using the best words to speak clearly to your reader, giving them the impression of something larger than that space allows, so they don’t walk away unsatisfied. You want to give enough information so that the rest of the story, the history and potential future, are hinted at, but the reader doesn’t need to see them spelled out in order to have enjoyed what they read. If you can do that with a handful of words, you can do that with a hundred thousand. Even better – you can take away all the bits you don’t need before they get in the way of the words you want, confusing or even boring your reader.

Writing and reading short fiction show you successful ways to tell a story with the excess stripped away. I’ll help you learn the two major approaches to handling the challenging word count: how to write into the space that you have, and how to edit down to your limitations. Applying the lessons from my workshop to your novel will help you cut the fluff from your pages, turning your epic into a lean, thrilling, can’t-put-it-down adventure for your readers. Who doesn’t want that?

Keep an eye out for my next flash fiction workshop! I’ll post my teaching schedule here.


New workshop begins Nov 15, 2014: Better Writing Through Brevity

Update 11/13/14: 23 students enrolled; only 2 spots left

Beginning November 15, 2014 – “Better Writing Through Brevity: Writing/Editing Microfiction and Flash” – read, write, critique, and edit short fiction of various lengths, including 140 characters, 1 sentence, 150 words, six sentences, under 500 words, under 1000. Previous students of this class have sold their final pieces to semi- and pro-rate SFF markets.

$60 for 4 weeks:

Sign up here

I will close registration for this workshop when we reach 25 students, to limit the group to a manageable size. If there are still spaces left on November 8, the price will go up to $75. And, yes, you can purchase a registration for a friend. Simply enter their email address on the signup screen when it asks.

When I did this workshop last year, it was a lot of fun! Many of those students are still supporting (and critiquing) each other today.

Please note: All workshops take place in my private online forum, so you can post questions, comments, and writing excerpts without worrying who will see it. Plus, since we have deadlines of a certain day, not a set class hour, you can be anywhere in the world and still participate! With everything online, you won’t miss a thing, no matter what time zone you’re in or what challenges you’re working around.

Wondering how this workshop will improve your novel? Read this.

How does the class work?

A week before the class begins, students will get an email instructing them how to log into the private online forum. Only people in the class will have access to the workshop space. (This means anything posted there is considered “unpublished” and if you like it when it’s polished, you still have the option to submit it for publication.) Anyone who logs in during that pre-class week will be able to start reading the samples in advance. (more…)

Free Fiction: “While Waiting For Your Landlord To Evict You” (Experimental/Literary)

This story is a little different than my other work. It’s creative non-fiction, in that it’s true, but written well (I hope). It covers the first six months of this year — I wrote it before the situation got even worse with the CO/gas leaks a few weeks ago, but I think it’s strong enough that I don’t need to add to it. It’s 2nd person PoV, 3200 words long, and isn’t published anywhere else.

An excerpt:

As the month ticks down, you should lay out all of your options for moving so that you can clearly see you don’t have any.

Find the information for the storage place nearby, the one with cheap little units that hold a single room’s worth of stuff, because you can’t afford bigger and you can probably get your belongings down to that size. While your son is at camp, or school, or asleep – anything, as long as he doesn’t see what’s going on and get spooked – start packing up what you know you want to keep. If he does figure it out, tell him you’re organizing, that the apartment is too little for even the meager amount of things that you own, that you’re a minimalist at heart, anyway.

Give silent thanks each day that he doesn’t ask.

Get the PDF here