How Can I Be an Editor Too? Part 5


Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil

See Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

In previous posts in this series, I talked about what background and training are necessary to be a full-time editor. I talked about building a resume and defined how a qualified editor can find work from home by citing my own editing journey. Then I discussed what day-to-day life is like for a work-at-home editor (my experience may not match everyone’s). In this post I discuss billing clients and keeping record of my work.

A Word about Pricing

Many folks don’t realize how many different types of editing an editor can perform. Do you know the difference between a basic copyedit and a substantive edit, or between a developmental edit and a proofread? Check out this article at my editing website to better understand the important differences.

Obviously I don’t charge the same price for every service because some services require more time and effort than others. Here’s a breakdown of my prices.

For the most part I base my fee on a price per page (250 words is the industry standard for one page). The more work or time required, the higher the price per page. Make sense?

Or I can do work by the hour, but few clients request hourly work, and I completely understand why. Wouldn’t you want to know the full cost of my services up front? Charging by the hour could result in an unpredictable sum.

When I’m finished with a project, I e-mail it to the client. Then I e-mail him or her an e-invoice. I typically give clients thirty days to pay me, typically by check (though on rare occasion I accept PayPal).

Keeping Careful Records

If you saw my “day in the life,” you noticed that I set aside time for managing an income spreadsheet. I share this with my wife in Google Drive (if you haven’t heard of this free service, you need to check it out). I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep a spreadsheet like this.

Basically every project I work on gets recorded in this spreadsheet. Here’s an example of the details I keep track of.

Client Date
Check No.
JON101 01/13/13 Melanie Jones—Memoir Edit 02/7/13 7839 $673.50 $673.50
BIL101 02/23/13 Daniel Billingsworth—Novel Edit 03/18/13 2381 $865.23 $865.23
Total $1,538.73 $1,538.73

How do I come up with the invoice number? I typically take the first three letters of my client’s last name and begin with 101. Why keep a speadsheet like this? When you file your taxes in the spring, you will need to have a total of the previous year’s income. (You can program your spreadsheet to compute a running total for you.)

When the check for my work arrives in the mail, here’s what I do:

1. I enter the appropriate information—date received, check number, and check amount—in the spreadsheet.

2. Then I scan the check as a JPEG into my computer using a basic HP Officejet All-in-One printer. Really any printer that has a scan feature will work. You don’t need a high-res copy of the check—200 dpi (dots per inch) will suffice.

3. I drag the JPEG image of the scanned check into my Evernote account, where I keep a folder for each client, before cashing the check and putting the money in my checking account. (If you haven’t heard of Evernote, consider getting the free account and seeing how it will help organize your life. I use this terrific service every day. Here’s more info.)

That pretty much sums up how I bill clients and do my record keeping. Have a question? Send me a comment.

Read Part 6.

2 thoughts on “How Can I Be an Editor Too? Part 5

  1. Nina @ Ruby for Women

    Hi Adam – I’ve seen your posts on my FB feed but this is the first time I popped on over to your blog. I’m going to follow-up and read the previous posts in this series. I work part-time as a writer and editor of curriculum for Huntington University in the Department of Graduate and Professional Programs – as well as working from home putting together an online Christian women’s magazine, Ruby for Women.

    I never really thought about working as a free-lance editor until recently, so this post will be of particular interest to me. Thanks for sharing, and I promise I will pay more attention to your FB posts in the future! Nina Newton

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