An Editor’s Answers Part 1

Last week, I posted questions I may use for my FAQ section on my editorial blog. The next three posts will be dedicated to the answers of those questions. Here we go.

-How far in advance do you book editing projects?

I can usually fit smaller projects like short stories, online classes, and query letter/synopsis critiques into my schedule. However, bigger projects like manuscript editing services need to be booked ahead of time. At the moment, I’m booking out a year in advance. Does that mean you shouldn’t contact me, because you want the work done sooner than that? Not necessarily. It’s always good to check my availability, because every once in a while I have a cancellation and will need to fill that time slot.

-Even if you’re booked for the year, can you still fit me in?

It depends on my schedule at the time, what type of editorial service you need, and the project’s length. There are times when I have partial time slots available. This means, I may be able to fit you in if you’re open to the project taking longer than it normally would. For example, if I have a half slot available, that means I can only work on the project half the time I would normally spend on it, so it’ll take twice as long to complete.

-Do you work on more than one project at a time?

Editing is my career. In order to keep my income stable (or as stable as possible), I need to work on a few projects a day. This works well for me, because the variety forces me to never get “lost in the story” and to keep the detail-oriented side of my brain on task. This doesn’t mean I don’t love the story or feel passionate about its characters. However, it allows me to keep my distance, which is what anyone needs when editing a manuscript whether they’re self-editing or editing someone else’s work.

-What are time slots?

Because I work on more than one project at a time, I divide my days into time slots. How many pages I do in one slot depends on the project and the amount of work involved.

-When you say you’re booked until (fill in the month), does that mean you can’t help me with my query letter and synopsis until then?

Not at all. When I talk about being fully booked, I mean I can’t take on any more large projects like editing a full manuscript. I can usually fit a query letter and/or synopsis critique into my schedule.

-How long does it take to do a query letter/synopsis critique?

This depends on my schedule and the writer’s response time. I can usually return a query letter or synopsis critique within a couple of days. Then, I wait for the writer to make the necessary changes and send the work back to me. Sometimes, this goes quickly and other times, it takes longer. There’s really no way for me to estimate the turnaround time for this service, because it’s a joint effort.

-Why do you ask for my characters’ GMCs (goals, motivations, conflicts) for the query letter/synopsis critique?

GMCs (goals, motivations, conflicts) form a story’s skeleton. Having the GMCs in front of me when I’m critiquing your query letter and/or synopsis allows me to ensure the necessary information is in its proper place.

-Why don’t you critique the query letter and synopsis at the same time?

I prefer to start with the query letter to ensure the blurb is as tight as it can be. Once that’s complete, I move on to the one-page synopsis, which builds off the query blurb. After that, I look at the longer synopsis, which should contain at least parts, if not most, of the one-page synopsis, along with added details (about the characters and/or plot). So, because these pieces build off each other, it only makes sense to finish one before moving on.

-When you talk about revisions in the query letter/synopsis packages, what do you mean?

First you send me the query letter, and I critique it. Then, you have a chance to revise and resubmit twice. This amounts to three critiques (by me) and two revisions (by you).

-Do you edit book cover blurbs? How much do you charge for that service?

Yes, I do edit book cover blurbs. If you only want me to proofread the piece, take a look at my proofreading packages and select one. If you want me to critique it and help you revise the blurb, I would charge the same as a query letter critique (along with revisions). Prices can be found here.

If you can think of other questions to add, please let me know. Otherwise, come back to read more FAQ.

Lynnette Labelle

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