I’ve started editing a book for a guy I met at my friend Caitlin’s church. I was just chatting with one of the pastors and mentioned that I’m an editor working in retail. He said he knew a guy who had written a book and needed and editor, so I said, “Introduce me!” He did, and I gave the guy, Jeff, my email address. A few days later, he emailed me, and the day after that, he sent me his book, and I’m now about halfway through.
This is the first freelance job that hasn’t fallen through on me since I began my search. This is the first paid editing job I’ve had since being the copy desk chief at The Observer. That is, of course, if this job is even paid. We haven’t talked about it. Before anyone goes, “You should have written up a contract before even starting, amateur,” I didn’t think about it because I got the impression that he was a college student or recent grad just like me who probably can’t afford much. I’m not an experienced book editor and in my opinion, don’t really have any business charging a professional rate for my first gig. And he’s not a professional or terribly experienced writer, which is probably why he didn’t think to bring it up either. He says he has four more books after the one I’m editing right now, so if he can’t pay for this one but likes my work, then I’ll be firm and say I’ll edit the rest but not for free. I’m fine with doing the work I love for free now and then. At least this gives me a chance to get back into the swing of editing and show someone that I have a marketable skill.
But then again, I have no idea what his situation is. Maybe he’s well aware of typical editing rates these days and is fully prepared to pay the $148-$296 this will cost, if the websites I’ve discovered via Google are accurate. I could charge hourly, per page, or per word, and then that will vary by type of editing. Simple proofreading all the way to extensive content editing and revising, it’s a wide spectrum. But the aforementioned numbers are what I’ve picked. Once I did the math (I went with $2-4 per page), it seemed like a lot, but maybe that’s just because I, personally, don’t even have $50 to spare right now. Maybe he does have that kind of money. Maybe he has other book-writing friends who have more money and more books that need editing. I have hope. Staying positive. I’ll email him today and see what happens.