A perfect vegan book editor doesn’t exist.
I’m so grateful I learned how to edit books and copyedited four books last year, pro-bono or at a lower rate than what I’m charging now. I felt confident going into my FIRST book editing and formatting project this year. As I’m still working on the project, I won’t spill what it is yet until the book is ready to buy, but I’m a few chapters into editing and already learning some things I can improve on. I’m using the word “mistakes” since I can’t spend an unlimited amount of time fixing them, but these are things that are more to do with my process rather than the final product for the client.
1. Forgetting about client time when estimating completion dates
I felt pretty good about myself when I set out timeline dates in my editing and formatting agreement with the client. However, I forgot to account for the author’s time spent re-writing or answering queries! This obviously requires some time (and likely longer than normal if the author has a day job) and might throw off the dates I aimed for, which were based on MY time spent completing tasks.
Lesson: Set out periods of time based on how long tasks will take me rather than completion dates, or else allow for an extra week (at least) for clients to go through revisions.
2. Underestimating time spent book editing
Aside from ghostwriting a book, copyediting is the next most time-consuming service. In my corporate days, I used to quote at 12 pages per hour and this CAN be a good starting estimate for editing a book. However, as I alluded to in my previous blog on book editing, there are other actions I do alongside editing that I’ve just realized add to the time:
- Inserting comments or suggestions for the author (which get resolved in the revisions that follow)
- Suggesting titles and chapter titles
- Fixing/compiling references
- Googling correct spelling of people or place names (fact checking)
- Noting down words to search and replace later (e.g. Canadian words that are easily spelled the American way)
These are all tasks that take little time on their own, but add an extra 30 seconds to 5 minutes each, and suddenly, there’s another billable hour. Another thing to note is that if the author wants to see and approve EVERY change, that will add some time on both our ends.
Lesson: Ask for a sample chapter and quote based on editing, commenting/querying, fact checking, and other cross-checks.
Please be kind to your book editors…we do a lot of other sh*t other than fixing your typos!
3. Underestimating time spent formatting the book
I highly underquoted for this service, and mainly because I didn’t realize how many photos were going to be in the book. I quoted the client for formatting text, which doesn’t take very long unless the title page is complicated, or the client asks for a lot of revisions.
The book I’m working on has upwards of 60 photos and captions, and although that work won’t take TOO long, each photo and caption adds some time that I hadn’t accounted for initially. I also spent some extra time inserting photo captions that were in a separate document and not the original manuscript, which took about an extra 30 minutes.
Lesson: Ask the author how many photos accompany the text, and quote accordingly (10 photos/hour is pretty accurate). Also, charge for administrative work if the author doesn’t provide everything required in the original manuscript.
On a positive note…
I am absolutely LOVING book editing. Even though my client isn’t a vegan author or has any spiritual or vegan content, I’m working with someone who’s self-publishing and I enjoy helping them refine their writing without changing their voice. I’m also learning a TON from the content, and I can’t wait to share their final product with you. Those are the projects we should all aspire to work on!
Need a vegan book editor or formatter to help with a book you’re self-publishing? Contact me!