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Frequently Asked Questions


What are your qualifications?
    We both hold bachelor's degrees in Creative Writing and come to Touchstone Editing with many years of experience as editors. To learn more about us, please check out our bios and testimonials from past clients.

Can I choose my editor?
    Yes! If you have a preference, include that information when first contacting us. Please do keep in mind that we recommend that projects within certain genres are handled by the editor most familiar with that genre, particularly for developmental editing.


How do I know which service I need?
    Your best bet is to contact us, letting us know the current state of your project. Together, we can decide which service would be most helpful for you. For a better understanding of our services, please continue reading or click here.

How do I know my book is ready for developmental editing?
    Before developmental editing, your book should be complete. We also recommend that you do at least one pass of edits on your own, looking for any discrepancies in your plot, characters who disappear without explanation, etc.

How do I know my book is ready for line editing?
    Once you are certain your plot is hole-free and your characters are well rounded and realistic, it’s time to look at how you're telling that story, from word choice to scene structure. In other words, it’s time for line editing.

What is the difference between a second round of developmental editing and line editing?
    Developmental editing is a process in which pieces of your manuscript may be moved around or deleted, and you may need to write new sections. A second (or even third) round of developmental editing looks at how your revisions have come together and suggests further changes still dealing with issues of plot and character development. Line editing deals with details of voice and style, not overarching story concerns.

What is the difference between line editing and copy editing?
    Line editing looks at word choice, scene structure, the flow of the writing, voice, and more, combing your manuscript line by line. Though this pass inevitably catches mechanical errors, it focuses on the stylistic side of writing while copy editing focuses on the technical.

What is the difference between copy editing and proofreading?
    Copy editing finds any mechanical problems in your manuscript (errors in word choice, syntax, grammar, and more). This is the time to fix such problems. Proofreading catches any lingering errors that may have been overlooked or introduced during last-minute changes or formatting. It is always the final, polishing pass, which should only happen when no more textual changes are planned.


What payment methods do you accept?
    We accept payment via check or through PayPal. Details for remitting payment will be included when scheduling your project.

Do I need to pay a deposit?
    Yes, in order to reserve a spot for your project in our schedule, we require a deposit. For editorial letters, the required deposit is 50%. For other services, the required deposit is 30% of the estimated total fee.

How do you estimate the fee for a project?
    We estimate the time necessary to edit your work to the best of our ability, using an equation based on word count, our hourly rate, and pages per hour. (One manuscript page is 250 words, or approximately one double-spaced page.) The number of pages edited per hour varies depending on the type of editing and the initial state of the manuscript. Please contact us for an estimate on your project.

What happens if you spend less time on my project than your estimate?
    For the majority of our services, we charge an hourly rate, counted by the quarter-hour. Your final invoice will always reflect the actual amount of time we spend, even when that is under the initial estimate.

Will you ever charge more than your estimate?
    We cannot foresee complications that may arise within the text, which can sometimes drastically slow down the rate at which we can effectively edit your work. When this happens, we will contact you to see whether you would like us to complete the edit, despite it taking more time (and therefore costing more than the estimate). We will never go over our estimate without your permission to keep working.
    If you decide that you do not want us to continue past our estimate, you will then have the choice of having us work up to our estimated time or stopping at the current point and sending you the work already done. As always, you will only ever pay for time we actually spend on your project.

Do I get a discount for subsequent rounds of developmental editing after the first?
    We do not offer a discount as such, but do keep in mind that a second or third round will often take less time than the first pass, so these will almost always end up costing less.

Do you offer payment plan options?
    We understand that for many writers the costs of editing can be prohibitive, especially when due in a lump sum. We’re here to support writers’ careers and dreams, so please contact us to make arrangements if necessary, as payment plans may be available at our discretion. Do keep in mind, however, that a deposit will always be required before we start any work.

What if I changed my mind and no longer want your services, but I’ve already paid a deposit?
    If for some reason you should decide not to use our services after paying a deposit, and your scheduled start date is more than 4 weeks away, we will refund your full deposit. If your scheduled start date is 2-4 weeks away, and your cancelation is not a matter of emergency, we will refund your deposit less a $100 fee. If your scheduled start date is under 2 weeks away, and it is not a matter of emergency, we will refund your deposit less a $150 fee.
    If we have already begun work, we will stop upon receipt of your written request that we do so. However, you will still have to pay for all time already spent on your project.
    If your deposit is less than the above fees, we may keep your entire deposit at our discretion.


What is your turnaround time?
    The turnaround time for manuscript edits and editorial letters is 2–4 weeks from the scheduled start date for your project (not the date you contact us). This is the case for each round of edits. The turnaround time for submission materials is one week from the scheduled start date. For other projects, the turnaround time will depend on the scope of work and the word count. We will provide you with an expected delivery date upon payment of the deposit.

How soon after I contact you will you start work?
    Once you contact us, we will let you know upcoming openings. You can choose the option most convenient for you, but your project will only be guaranteed a start date once we receive a deposit. We must also receive your signed contract and the document itself before work can begin.

What if I need a faster turnaround time?
    Depending on availability, we may be able to accommodate a faster turnaround time, so please get in touch. Be aware that an additional fee may apply. Rush fees vary from 15–50%, depending on the required turnaround, length of project, and availability. Please contact us to discuss the details of your situation.


Will I have to sign a contract?
    To protect both you and ourselves, we have a clear and concise contract for both you and the editor of your project to sign.

Will you ever share my work?
    We will absolutely never share your work, unless explicitly permitted to do so by you or if we are for some reason required to do so by law.

Can I see a sample of edits you’ve performed for someone else?
    To maintain the confidentiality of all of our clients, we never share previous edits (as that will unavoidably mean sharing their work as well). We do, however, offer a free 5-page sample edit of your work, so that you can familiarize yourself with our style. Contact us to request this free 5-page sample edit.

What happens if I have an emergency?
    We know that you’re human, and unforeseen circumstances may cause problems. Please get in touch as soon as possible to discuss options for your situation.

What happens if you have an emergency?
    Thank you for remembering that we are human, too! In any situation that affects our ability to provide services that have been scheduled, we will contact you as soon as possible.
    • If your scheduled editor has an emergency that prevents her from completing your project on time and she has not started, she may recommend that the other editor take over, with your permission.
    • If your scheduled editor has an emergency that prevents her from completing your project and she has already begun work, we will offer you the choice of paying only for the work already done or waiting until the project can be completed. If there is a delay of more than 4 weeks from the expected delivery date, we will automatically apply a 15% discount.
    • If there is an emergency that prevents your scheduled editor from beginning work on your project, and either both editors are affected or you would prefer not to switch but would rather withdraw your project, we will refund your deposit.

What if I have a question you haven't answered?
    We would be happy to answer any question you may still have! Please contact us.