Looking for an editor? I may be the person you are looking for. Or not.
I am not interested in being a “typical” editor. I don’t want to collect money by the word, or the page, or the hour, and I certainly don’t want to argue with people about their story content, marketability, or anything else for that matter.
What I want to do is help.
Specifically, I want to help other writers get a leg up on what they need to be doing, or are doing wrong. I wan’t to offer things that “I wish someone had told me when I was starting out.” I want to save you months or years of hard, stumbled upon lessons. And I want to do it in a way that is personal to you, so that they apply and you understand them.
So, how do I feel I can help you? One short story at a time.
With stories between 4,000 and 7,000 words, there is plenty of room for me to be able to point out what you are doing wrong — and right. It also doesn’t tie me up for days or make you wait for weeks. Overall, I feel this is a good place to be.
What can you expect from me?
While I don’t wear brass knuckles, I don’t pull any punches either. If you are looking for someone to pat you on the head and tell you that you’re doing a good job, you probably don’t want me.
Then again, if you are looking for an honest opinion from someone, I may be who you want.
Notice I said ‘opinion’. Not many editors use that word. I do. I think it is very important. When I read someone’s writing, the only things I have to offer are my opinions. Just because I don’t like the way you do something doesn’t mean it’s wrong, only that I wouldn’t do it that way.
I will gladly explain why I think it should be done my way, and I am not at all concerned with whether or not you take my advice. Many great authors got to where they are by ignoring editorial advice.
Be warned though, many many more got there by taking the advice of an editor. It is much easier to be be objective about someone else’s story than it is your own.
I will not be reading your story to change it to the way I want it to be. I will leave that for the editor who is willing to pay you. (That is a different kind of editor and would be the one you want to sell your story to.) I will be reading it to try to help you improve the story the best I can, while trying to keep it the way you want it. This means I will make suggestions, but it will be up to you to implement them or not. I will not make the changes for you.
An editor is NOT a ghostwriter. Seriously. That’s taking things to a whole different level and you’ll need deep pockets to lure me there. If your story is not finished, don’t ask me to help finish/re-write/fix it unless you are ready to talk serious money up front. Seriously.
I am not too picky about formatting, but if you want to sell your story, you will need to learn how, and I will point it all out to you. If you don’t know how to properly format for a submission, here is a great place to start. *Remember* every place has their own guidelines you must follow to submit to them, or you will likely be rejected without anyone reading your story. This means you might have to adjust something, but still, this is a good place to start. If you need extra formatting help (like you want me to fix it for you), I can do that, but it won’t be free.
If you need something formatted for publication (such as you want to self-publish), I can help with that also, but again, we will need to talk money up front and I would need to know exactly what you want. This is not an area I often delve into for other people, so I don’t recommend you come to me as your first choice. Possibly not even your second.
Which brings me to actual editing rates…
I don’t like to charge hourly, because you don’t really know how long it took me, or if I ate cookies and milk for half of it. Not that I would do that, I wouldn’t, but still, it crosses my mind when others charge hourly rates, so I don’t like it. Plus, I’m really slow, so you wouldn’t beleive me anyway. So I am charging $50 per 4,000 to 7,000 word story, payable via PayPal.
That may sound like a lot (especially for a short story) unless you have shopped around and looked a the prices of other editors. Then it starts to sound reasonable. I hope you also take this into account: Unlike other many other editors, I am not going to quickly edit it, marking mistakes in red without explanation, and sending it back for you to change and send to me again. I will explain what I am marking and I will make myself available afterwards for anything you need help understanding.
I am NOT interested in seeing the story again to charge you more money.
Really. I only want to see it the one time and point things out to help you learn. I want to answer any questions you have. After that, changing the story is up to you. After that, you won’t need an editor, you’ll need a proof reader. I don’t want to do that, and I certainly don’t want to charge to do that. So unless we have talked and you have strong reasons why you really, really want me to see your story a second time (and are willing to pay again), I don’t want to see it again.
In fact, if I do my job the way I intend to, you won’t need to send me more than one or two stories before you will be ready to move on to other editors who are less explanatory. Why would I recommend this?
Once I have gotten you past the rough spots, there are many things to be learned from other people. It goes back to the opinion thing I mentioned before. You might find some you really like and understand. You might also spot some you really dislike, which can help guide and influence your choices just as strongly in the future.
And all I really want to do here is help other writers get a good start.
Okay. So am I the one you want to talk to?
Before you contact me, or any other editor, I recommend you read this first. Brian Klems makes some very good points. These do not all apply to me and what I am offering, but you should really know them nonetheless.
Can you do longer things (novels)?
Yes, I could, but I really don’t want to. The basics for a short story are very similar to a novel. If you are going to have problems with one, you will probably have the same problems with the other.
What did you mean by “ghostwriting”?
A true ghostwriter is someone who writes a story and allows someone else to put their name on it and take credit for it, usually as a work for hire. Sometimes people have an idea, but haven’t written it or written it well. Or they have a vignette, but no story. When this happens they often approach editors to “fix” it. That is not really what an editor does. At least not most editors. Some will tackle that problem. I’d rather not. It would take a living monument to convince me. I have my own things I want to write already.
I know you said you only wanted to see one or two stories from me. Can I send you more stories anyway?
I suppose. Be aware that your “value received” will begin depreciating. Unless you are making all new mistakes for me to point out with each story, you will get less and less out of what I have to say.
I know you said you didn’t want to see the story again after you edited it, but I really want you to. Can I send it again?
Only if you are willing to pay the $50 again. I will make myself available to you for for questions about the story the first time, so why would you want to make me read it again? Did you do a total re-write? If so, that would be a total re-read for me.
Do you guarantee my story will get published?
Not only no, but … No. No one should ever promise you that. Ever. If they are, you are paying for it, I promise you. Either in cash or rights. I will do my best to tell you what I think you should do with your story, but in the end, I have no say over what another (purchasing) editor will or will not like.
After all that, if you still think perhaps you would like to have me edit your short story, you can contact me at sam(at)samknight.com. (You will need to replace the (at) with @. This is to fend off spam bots.)
If you are on the fence, and would like to see what other people have had to say about me, please go to this link: Editorial Testimonials
Sam has independently formatted over 20 books for various authors/publishers and produced the artwork/cover design for over 20 books. (Not necessarily the same books.)
Including directly working with/for publishers as well as his own self-published stuff, Sam has been involved, in some way (editing, formatting, publishing), with the production of around 500 books (maybe more by now).