Editor Debtor

An idea slowly came across my mind today.

The origin of the idea came from my last story submission, in which I went ahead and shot Lord Lucan a small amount of money for his help in editing the beast. You see, when favors become habitual, it’s time to stop calling them favors and start paying for it. While I don’t mind a few freebie edits between friends, continued use of that aid should be compensated.

After I submitted my story, I began to consider the possibility of perhaps paying for Lucan’s editor certifications. I cannot claim to fully understand the system but I am aware of some of the fees.

And I began to think, “You know. There’s an opportunity here.”

Editing is not an easy task, especially for the author of the work itself. Nothing eats away at our self esteem quite like catching every mistake, every poorly constructed sentence and every moment where we sit up and ask, “What the hell was I thinking?”

That is why I feel it pays to have another party handle editing. While I cannot claim that a friend is impartial, he is certainly more impartial than the author himself (him/her, you know what I mean.)

So I’ve quietly began contemplating setting up a certification fund, the money generated would pay for the certifications to transform hobby editors into professional ones. I cannot foresee vast sums for edited works. But a few dollars here, a pound or two there for each piece can accumulate over time. The editor could keep track of works he’s edited so he can claim partial credit for proofreading, letting them build up a portfolio of work and contacts.

I’ve been scratching my chin, thinking about the work that would have to be done:
1) Research into the guilds and associations, which differ base on Britain and the US. Many of my writing friends are from the UK. (Paypal handles currency conversions, so that is not an issue.)
2) How would the divying of funds work? Should each junior editor get their own account or should it be pooled?
3) How would we handle failures of editors to finish editing on time? Many of my friends and I have started to work under deadlines and limited submission windows. Time’s a factor.

Other questions are undoubtedly going to arise. Leave a comment if you’ve a thought, please.

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2 responses to “Editor Debtor

  1. I am a firm believer in swapping beta reads, too. Maybe I’ll buy my editing buddy a bottle of booze when she finishes my current WIP, just to try to even the score a little. What did you determine to be an acceptable pay rate, out of curiousity?

    • In this case, I went ahead and sent him £8 (approximately $12). The recently finished piece was 6,000 words in length. However, Lucan had done work for me before so it’s hard to gauge if it was a fair price. I would consider buying him a drink or two, but we’re a continent apart.

      I haven’t considered a solid rate for it just yet. But I’ll be thinking about it.

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