Do I really need an editor?

This is a question you must answer for yourself, when it comes down to it. But, as a guideline:

If you are seeking to be published traditionally, hiring a freelance editor is not required to query agents or sub to acquisitions editors. You may consider hiring one if you’ve been querying for a long time without success, or if you receive a Revise & Resubmit from an agent or editor.

If you’re preparing to self-publish, we strongly recommend hiring a freelance editor. Traditionally published novels receive several rounds of editing. In order to compete with them, and with the flood of self-published novels released every day, you should have the same thorough attention given to making your novel the absolute best it can be. Quality wins out.

How does the Bear & Black Dog editing process work?

Once we receive an inquiry from you, we consult (usually over email) about your publishing goals and the manuscript in question, then we settle on the terms of service including payment and schedule. We send the contract along with the invoice, you send us the materials to be edited. Work begins once we receive the agreed-upon initial payment.

We typically do one round of edits using MS Word and Track Changes.

We notify you when the job is finished, and once any remaining balance is paid we’ll return your materials along with a letter detailing our comments. 

Following completion of a job, we’re always happy to discuss our comments, brainstorm, or answer any questions.

Will you do multiple rounds of edits? 

A second round of edits is not included in our package prices, but returning clients receive 10% off their first subsequent job (over $50) with us.

One alternative to paying for a full second edit is to choose our Twice Tried option, wherein both Ash and Cait edit the manuscript. For more about this option, please check out our Services page, and feel free to contact us by email or on Twitter if you have any questions.

What is your time frame like?

We typically begin work within a week or two of receiving materials. Return time depends largely on the type of job. First five pages critiques can be returned within a few days. Full edits can take up to a month. A return deadline will be discussed during your consultation.

Can I request to see the contract before committing to hiring you?

Absolutely. We’re happy to share the contract template upon request. Note: your information will not be drafted into a contract until you have officially hired us.

What is your policy for cancellations or refunds? 

In short, you may terminate your contract at any time, and we will refund any payment for work not yet completed. Read more on our Pricing and Payment Options page, and feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

Do you do genres other than speculative? 

Yes we do! We’re happy to look at any genre in categories from Middle Grade and up. Young and New Adult speculative fiction is simply where the bulk of our experience lies, which means we’re better able to advise on the marketability of those titles.

What will you not edit? 

We do not edit nonfiction, picture books, or chapter books. We also will not work on erotica manuscripts with rape or which feature minors.

I just finished my first draft! Will you look at it? 

We very strongly recommend doing one or two rounds of editing yourself, and/or with beta readers and critique partners, before seeking professional editing.

Do you do proofreading or formatting?

At this time, we do not provide either of those services. For proofreading, we can recommend Emma Adams.

What’s the difference between your Reader Response package and beta-reading, which I can get for free?

Our packages are not intended to replace beta-reading, which is an important part of the revision process. Every beta reader has their own response style, but generally speaking they are telling you what they liked and didn’t like as readers. In contrast, for our Reader Response package we act as slush pile readers; we determine whether a manuscript is publication-ready and how much work is required to get it there.

What is the slush pile?

“Slush pile” is a slang term for the pile of submissions, usually unsolicited, received by agents and acquisitions editors.