Got Voice? I want you to keep it.
I offer a full range of editing services, from first looks to copyediting, but I have a special affection for polishing at the end. As an editor, my job is to help you provide a seamless experience for your readers where your story, characters, and prose shine. I see editing as a fresh set of eyes to point out where readers can be jarred out of your world by anything from a grammar error to a character decision that isn’t justified by the text. A good editor is a champion of your vision and voice, there to help the story on the page match the amazing story in your head.
- My signature is providing clear explanations for why I suggest edits. You’re the writer. You want to fix issues your way. I will tell you where I got ejected from your story and why so that you have the understanding you need to make it work.
- I look for the best in everyone’s writing and focus on bringing that out, but I’m also honest about what doesn’t work. I assume you’re hiring an editor because you’d rather hear it from me than readers on Amazon or Goodreads.
- I will only work with you if I can do it without trying to change your vision or voice. If t we’re not a good fit, I’ll let you know so you can find somebody else who will do your work justice. (See below for some ideas of what I do and don’t work well with.)
- I do this for both love and money. I figure you do, too. Balancing the commercial, artistic, and financial aspects of this career is daunting to all of us. It’s only with teamwork and a sense of humor that we can stay sane in the industry. Together we can make our corner of the world a more creative and friendly place to be.
- My time is (currently) worth $25/hr–I don’t care if that’s helping you storyboard, checking for punctuation errors, or anything in between.
- Why do I work per hour? Good question. If I charged per word, I’d need to spend the same amount of time with every work–no matter how much editing it needs. Because I don’t want to either overcharge or “skim edit” anyone, I charge per hour so your work gets the edit it actually needs.
- I understand, though, that you’ll need an estimate before committing. If you follow the procedures outlined below, I’ll edit 5-10 pages and send you a price range I expect the project will fall within.
- I’m pretty good at sticking to estimates, however, if I determine part-way through a job that it’s going to require wildly more time than I’d thought, I’ll contact you with the reasons so we can work something out before I continue. For example, if the sample pages I used to create my estimate had three beta readers and your old high school English teacher look it over…but the next two hundred pages were written last week with a bottle Jim Beam supervising, my estimate will likely be off. I’ll contact you. I will never send a bill for higher than my initial estimate (although I may send one for less).
- Is your project for charity? Email me to discuss a discount.
What kinds of editing do I do?
- Content edits (big ideas–issues with character motivations, plot holes, world-building, etc.) For content edits, you’ll receive some inline notes as well as a detailed letter focusing on conflict, characterization, and other broad issues, including things I loved and things that maybe didn’t come across the way you intended. If you’d like a Skype meeting or phone call to go over the suggestions, I’m happy to do either. (The first 15 minutes is free to clarify anything I said in notes; additional phone/Skype time will count toward billable hours). For content edits only, authors can choose to work for $.008/word.
- Line edits (confusing sentences, overused words, awkward phrasing) This type of editing usually takes the longest, making it the most expensive. This will be done entirely within the manuscript, and will include some copyedits. (For experienced authors, I can combine content and line in one pass; talk to me about how this works.)
- Copyedits/proofreading (grammar, punctuation, overused/repeated words, some fact checking. If you want thorough fact-checking, talk to me first. I may or may not be a good match depending on the topic.) I am a crazy person who loves the bizarre intricacies of grammar. I use CMS, although Valkryie Books, my indie label, has a few standard variations based on modern cultural issues. I’ll offer options when they exist. If you prefer AP, let me know and I can accommodate that although it might add a little time since I’m not as used to working off it.
- If requested, I will do two editing passes on a story, i.e. I will send it back to you then look at it again for a second set of revisions. I will not, however, copyedit/proofread a text I did other edits for. At that point I don’t have fresh enough eyes to do a proper job.
- If you’re looking for something other than editing, like outlining/storyboarding or more general coaching, give me a description of what you want, and I’ll let you know if that’s something I can do well enough to earn a paycheck for it. 🙂 I used to be a high school teacher, and I love teaching. I’m more than happy to do email, Skype, or even IRL teaching on topics like POV, GMC, story structure, or other writing basics.
- Email me about your project at jennifercgarren at gmail dot com.
- Tell me, as specifically as you can, what you’re looking for.
- If it’s straight-up edits, send the first five pages and five pages from a scene beginning around the 60% mark. (For example, if your story is 50,000 words, send me pages 1-5 and the first five pages of the scene closest to word 30,000.) Also tell me the genre, final word count, and intended audience of your work.
- Give me a time frame you want/need it in.
- I’ll email you a confirmation as soon as I get your request. I will then, within three days, email you estimates for cost and time along with (free) edits for at least five of the ten sample pages provided. If I think your work needs something other than what you asked for or if I don’t think I’m a good match for the piece, I will let you know at this time.
- When we set dates, PayPal me a 50% deposit on the estimate to ensure your spot. The remainder of the actual cost is due when I return the finished edits. Starving artist? I will consider trades (worked out in advance!) if it’s something I need. Toss me a suggestion, and I’ll consider it.
I’m a great choice for…
- …commercial fiction.
- For pleasure, I mostly read paranormal romance, urban fantasy (or whatever they’re calling it this week), and horror. I also read fantasy, thrillers, historical and contemporary romance, and science fiction. (I watch a lot more science fiction in movies and TV than I read, but anyone who’s got a Firefly-esque book would find a happy audience in me.) A book doesn’t have to have a romance in it for me to connect with it, but it’s where I have the most experience.
- I love deep characterization.
- I love characters with a sense of humor in the face of terrible circumstances.
- I love happy endings or happy for now endings. I can even love sad endings with great meaning.
- I’ve written branched fiction (Choose Your Own Adventure style stories) and am happy to work with those.
I’m probably not the right choice for…
- CBA fiction. (I’m cool with religious characters as long as the book isn’t pushing a particular religion to the exclusion of others.)
- D/s outside the bedroom or extreme alphas paired with weak partners. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some alpha male, but I am sensitive to issues of consent, coercion, and domination. I do not read dubious consent stories. I do not do well with controlling males whose partners do not stand up for themselves.
- Erotica that’s mostly sex. I am not offended by sex, even in the frankest, kinkiest descriptions, and sex scenes as part of a larger story are great. A book that’s all sex, however, is better off with a different editor.
- Menage. Nothing against it, it’s just not my thing. 🙂
- Trying to find a politic way to say this, but, well, I like knowing these things in advance. We all have opinions and prejudices based on religion and politics. We all worry that an editor (or someone else) is going to not like our work based on something like that. So, for your reference, I’m a Unitarian Universalist who’s (socially) liberal for a Texan. I imagine some people would call me PC or an SJW (frankly, I’m not sure why “social justice warrior” is an insult). On the other hand, it means that I’m surrounded by people I love, admire, and respect who are socially and religiously conservative. That amounts to, I like pretty much everybody and think everyone should be treated with respect, regardless of religion, politics, race, socio-economics, gender, sexual orientation, profession, etc. I know not every character in a story will have heroic qualities; even our heroes have flaws which can include prejudices. But I don’t want to read things that glorify hate or divisiveness–and this includes hating on people you perceive as narrow-minded.
Sounds great, Jax! But do you read….
- Oh, yeah! Bring it!
- Historical/paranormal/science fiction/western/steampunk/etc?
- I know nothing about NASCAR or the Amish. Other than that, I’m open to most genres of commercial fiction. Email me to ask.
- I enjoy YA. I’m pretty liberal on the content of these, too, but I’m not okay with using YA sex as titillation. It’s one thing to talk openly about the inevitable progress of maturity. It’s another thing to use underage sex as a turn on for the reader. Please think about where your story falls on that line before you send it to me.
- Yes and no. I don’t mind a little kink in my sex. I don’t tend to enjoy books that are mostly about exploring kinky sex. As mentioned above, due to personal triggers, I’m sensitive to D/s and get uncomfortable when the lifestyle continues outside the bedroom. I also prefer BDSM with a sense of humor; I’m not into super-dark sex. BDSM should follow SSC. If you don’t know what that means, please don’t send me your BDSM.
- This is a question? Of COURSE!
- Books set in…?
- Fill that in however you want. The answer is yes.
- Dub-con or rape fantasy?
- Sorry, no; It’s not that I mind it, but it’s not my bag, baby!
- Human / animal sex if it’s shifters?
- Uh…I’m a little afraid to say yes. Maybe? If it’s not pretty dern close to humanoid on humanoid, I’m not your editor.
- Golden showers / Cleveland Steamers / omg what else?
- If you’re asking this question, I’m probably not the right editor for your opus.
- No. I love to read poetry. I don’t have a clue how to edit it.
- Possibly. Email me details for a firm answer.
- I believe this type of story is best enjoyed in its raw form. Don’t edit the madness; just hit publish.
Other questions? Got a project you want to talk about? Email me at jennifercgarren at gmail dot com, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.