How do I know if I’m ready for an edit?
- Is it your first draft? Keep working! You need to have your manuscript (MS) the best you can possibly make it before submitting for editing (unless you’re looking for a Tier 3 full-package edit).
- Has anybody else read it? Beta readers (test readers) can give you excellent advice as to what is working in your story and what isn’t. This is a key step that should be considered before editing.
- When did you finish revising and reworking it? If the answer to this question is “Yesterday” or “I haven’t,” then put it away for at least a month before reviewing it again. You will be amazed at what you’ll find when it’s fresh. Consider reading it out loud—your ear will hear things your eyes don’t see.
- But isn’t that what I’m paying you to do? Yes, but if you decide you only want a Tier 1 proofread and you have not performed the steps above, it is likely you will end up with a grammatically correct book with problems. Don’t you want it to be the best book you can write? And trust me, an Adirondack Editing editor will find things you haven’t found, simply because we read what you actually wrote, not what you intended to write.
Is there anything you won’t edit?
As Adirondack Editing has grown, additional editors have joined our staff, so if Susan Uttendorfsky, the owner, personally doesn’t edit certain material, another editor will happily edit it.
However, most of us prefer not to edit material that contains torture or child/animal abuse. When it comes to violence, sexual content, and language, we ask you to rank your book according to the standard US movie ratings:
- PG-13: (1) Violence – explosions, wide-scale events (not personal) (2) Sexual content/suggestive themes – behind closed doors, specific actions not mentioned (3) Coarse language but not vulgar or obscene
- R: (1) Violence directed at specific people (2) Occasional blood & gore related to the story, not detailed (3) Sexual content – actions mentioned but not described in detail (4) Strong language appropriate for specific scenes
- NC-17 (Adults Only): (1) Prolonged & detailed descriptions of assaults and other violence (2) Deliberate mental/physical cruelty (3) Torture of any kind (4) Abuse of children or animals (4) Graphic, detailed sexual content (5) Constant obscene language
Adirondack Editing reserves the right to decline material at our discretion.
If you’re not sure if a passage or an idea would be acceptable, please submit a specific section so we can make a determination.
What reference books do you use?
Editors working for Adirondack Editing generally use the Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition, brand new! Yes, we get excited about things like that...) and the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition) as reference books for US style. For UK style, the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Manual of Style are used. As a group, we also have many other style books available, including specific style guides for Christian books, Canadian style, Australian style, and internet style, as well as specialized industry guides (maritime, music, military, cuisine, Yiddish culture, etc.).
If you wish us to adhere to a different style manual, please specify which one. You will have the opportunity to detail any stylistic exceptions on the Submission Form.
Our house style for fiction includes these rules, but there are many more defined on Adirondack Editing’s general style sheet. Please ask for a copy if you’d like to see it!
- Spell out numbers in dialogue, numerals in narrative over 100.
- An adverb ending in “ly” followed by a noun or adjective is always unhyphenated (highly esteemed).
- Italics for thoughts, remembered/quoted speech (unless extensive, then block quotes), words as words, TV shows, titles (magazines and books), and ship names.
- Use of the serial comma (aka the Oxford comma).
- No commas around Jr. or Sr. (Martin Luther King Sr.).
- Possessives in this style: Atlas’, Jesus’s, The Jones’.
- Acronyms without periods (CIA, FBI) except for U.S. as an adjective.
- Foreign words and terms in italics.
Do you only edit U.S. books?
Adirondack Editing will edit manuscripts in any English style. Our project list indicates which books were not U.S. style. They include British, Canadian, and Australian styles (to date).
Please indicate on the Submission Form if you are using BrE, AuE, CaE, AmE, or another style and spellings so the editor can ensure the style is consistent.
Why do you charge by the word?
Because it’s fairer to you, and it’s easy to calculate. With a per-word rate, you pay an accurate amount. You don’t pay for a full page with only twelve words on it. You know exactly what your charge will be, and there are no hidden cost surprises. There is also no possibility of unfinished work when an hourly rate cap is reached.
How do I pay you?
Will you work on my manuscript for a percentage of the profits? No. The term for that is “on spec,” and it is basically asking us to work for free.
Payment is typically only accepted through PayPal, and you can make a payment with or without a PayPal account. Payment in full is required when work begins on your manuscript, unless the start date is more than 30 days away, as noted below. In that case, the balance paid in full is required when work begins. We use PayPal-generated invoices.
To hold an editing slot farther than 30 days away, a non-refundable deposit and a filled-out Submission Form are required. The percentage is based on the total estimated cost of your project:
- Total is less than $500 = full payment.
- Total is $501–$1,000 = 50% of the total.
- Total is greater than $1,000 = 33% of the total.
You can apply for PayPal’s credit plan ahead of time and then select the “Bill Me Later” option when checking out.
Professional editing can be expensive, especially if you’ve written a large book or if you need extensive assistance. Budgeting funds ahead of time (setting aside $100 or $200 a month) will help you be prepared when it’s time for editing!
Learning how to self-edit is another wise way of trimming your word count, ensuring that the story is concise and tight. See the Resources page for links to self-editing sites.
Can you work on my book right away?
The short answer is: If that’s what you need, we’ll try!
Professional editors have steady workloads and schedules may be booked several weeks or months ahead. However, with multiple excellent editors on hand, Adirondack Editing can frequently handle short-notice jobs. When your sample edit is returned—or even before we do a sample—we’ll discuss when the first available slot is.
If the first slot is more than 30 days away, then a non-refundable deposit will be required to hold a place on our schedule. The percentage is based on the total estimated cost of your project:
- Total is less than $500 = full payment.
- Total is $501–$1,000 = 50% of the total.
- Total is greater than $1,000 = 33% of the total.
The next available slot is always awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Returning your filled-out Submission Form and paying your deposit promptly (if required) will hold a slot.
When the editor is ready to begin, we will advise you of the estimated turn-around time. We cannot give you an estimated completion date before we actually receive your manuscript. We can’t say “two weeks” and then be presented with a document that is twice the estimated size.
Please note: If Adirondack Editing doesn’t receive the manuscript within 24 hours of requesting it, then deadlines are subject to availability. (In other words, if you’re not ready as scheduled, then other jobs may be started ahead of yours.)
How long will it take you to edit my book?
While editors frequently “work” eight hours a day or more, few of us can edit eight hours a day, five days a week. Adirondack Editing’s workweek assumes a maximum of five hours of editing per day. And how much can we get done in those five hours? During the second pass of a well-written book, some of us can achieve speeds of 45+ pages per hour. But the first pass of any book is much slower because we are constructing a style sheet as we go (confirming spellings, minor fact-checking, monitoring style issues, etc.).
When working on the first pass of a book that needs heavy editing, an editor may only be able to accomplish three pages per hour (or 15 pages per day).
Yes, rush jobs are available at a premium. But we don’t work at those speeds (or for that many hours in a row) normally. Please be assured that Adirondack Editing will complete the work in a timely manner and will meet the promised return date.
Generally, you can estimate 20k words per seven days. So a novel of 100k words would take 5 weeks at a minimum.
Do you edit footnotes and endnotes?
Footnote/endnote editing of existing material is included in whichever type of editing you choose (proofreading or copyediting). However, footnote/endnote construction and/or research is not included (aka writing the footnotes/endnotes or researching to be sure the information is correct).
If you need or want that service in addition to editing, it is billed at an hourly rate of $50, pro-rated by the quarter hour after the first hour, on top of editing costs.
Can I talk to you by telephone, Skype, Whatsapp, or Zoom?
Because most of the editors working for Adirondack Editing have a workplace that is also their home, we strive to keep peaceful and quiet atmospheres which are beneficial for working. Therefore, Adirondack Editing does not conduct business by telephone (or Skype, etc.). When we’re editing, we give any manuscript our complete, undivided attention—without interruption.
In addition, it is very hard for an editor to listen, process, and understand at the same time when they have to hold up their end of a conversation. As much time is spent clarifying as the phone call takes. We’d rather just cut out the “middleman” of the phone call and go straight to email.
Will my material be shared with anyone else?
All material submitted will be held in strict confidentiality and no physical copies of your work will be made. Manuscripts, both before and after editing, and samples are kept in computer storage for some time. Please be assured that your work will not be distributed to anyone except an authorized editor working for Adirondack Editing.
Your work may be discussed in closed, private editing groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other private editing forums, in a confidential manner with specific details removed, if assistance is needed in providing the best edit possible. Your material will be disguised to the best of our ability. Like, replacing every noun in a sentence with the word “cows.”
How do I submit my material to you?
Simply email your manuscript to Adirondack Editing as a .doc or .docx attachment. Documents generated in other platforms, such as Open Office, will be converted to .doc files.
Editing in Google Docs is strongly discouraged due to the slowness and lack of standard editing tools. It may be considered, but additional charges will apply. Please contact us for more details.
Editing in Scrivener is not available.
You don’t have to worry about formatting; the Normal Style of the document will be changed to meet our needs (Tahoma size 12, double-spaced, line and page numbers), but your original Normal Style settings will be noted.
If your manuscript has already been formatted into PDF, or has been pre-formatted in a Word document (single-spacing, sidebars, section breaks, alternating headers, etc.), there will be an additional $100 charge due to editing difficulties. PDF proofreading is only appropriate for final, formatted documents. Copyediting is not available.
Copyediting is available on pre-formatted Word documents, but additional charges may apply above the previously mentioned $100.
What are your qualifications?
In addition to four decades of personal writing and editing other people’s writing, listed below are the formal classes and courses Susan Uttendorfsky, the owner, has taken, including continuing education. As of May 27, 2022, 503 individual manuscripts have been edited or managed by Susan.
Any professional hired to work with Adirondack Editing has passed rigorous testing and has previously edited for Susan personally. You can be sure that she has reviewed multiple documents worked on by those editors and she stands by their work as much as she’d stand by her own. Full editorial control over all manuscripts is retained by Susan, and she reviews all work performed before returning documents to the customer.
- Master Class Lecture, “Bricklaying: Editing for Structure,” Copyediting.com/ACES, 2020
- Webinar, “The Power of Checklists,” ACES: The Society for Editing, 2018
- Webinar, “Content Strategy for Editors,” ACES: The Society for Editing, 2018
- Three-week in-depth class, “Content, SEO, and Editing,” Copyediting.com, 2018
- Master Class Lecture, “Editor’s Style Guide to Indexing,” Copyediting.com, 2018
- Master Class Lecture, “Editing for the Web,” Copyediting.com, 2018
- Master Class Lecture, “Working with ESL Writers,” Copyediting.com, 2018
- Webinar, “Tech Tools for Writers & Editors,” Editorial Freelancer’s Association, 2017
- Master Class Lecture, “Grammar: Beyond the Basics,” Copyediting.com, 2017
- Master Class Lecture, “Coaching Writers: Beyond the Copyedit,” Copyediting.com, 2017
- Canvas Network Course, “Indexing Books as a Career,” 2016
- Webinar, “Advanced Microsoft Word 2013 Tutorial,” 2016
- Microsoft Excel 2010: Advanced Training Certificate Program, 2016
- Webinar, “Getting Started with Google Office: Docs, Sheets, Slides,” 2016
- Two-week webinar series “Ace That Copyediting Test,” Editcetera, 2016
- Four-week webinar series “Editing PDF Files,” Copyediting.com, 2016
- Webinar “Spoonful of Sugar” (on client communication), Editcetera, 2016
- Copyeditor Certificate Program, Poynter News University in conjunction with the American Copy Editor’s Society, 2015–2016
- Webinar “The Art and Science of Editing,” Poynter News University, 2013
- Workshop “Intensive Copyediting,” 2012
- Rural Housing Coalition Annual Conference Workshops 2004, 2005, 2006
- Workshop “Advanced Microsoft Excel,” 2005
- Seminar “Dealing With Difficult People,” 2005
- US Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Visual Lead Paint Assessment Certification, 2003
- Basic HTML Tutorial, 2002
- Interim Controls and Lead Paint Stabilization, 2002
- Commercial Driver’s License, 2000
- Leader Accreditation, La Leche League International, 1990
- Seminar “The Job of the Professional Secretary,” 1985
- Certificate of Completion, Katharine Gibbs School, NY, 1982
- High School Diploma, Cardinal Spellman High School, 1981