Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact Alida with your question.


What kind of editing do you do?

I’m a writing coach and developmental editor for fiction and nonfiction.

I work with writers to help them improve their story craft. Every client receives at least 2 consultations with me by Skype to address his or her individual writing concerns specific to the writing project. I’m not just an editor of manuscripts, I’m also a teacher of writers. I think that is what makes me different.

What should I send you for the sample consultation?

Please send me 10 pages of your manuscript. Use standard manuscript formatting. Attach a Word document to your email. (See more information below.)

• Choose an excerpt that is representative of your writing as a whole, not your best work and not your worst.

• Choose a section that does not require a lot of setup, but do provide whatever setup is required. It should be minimal, because a reader should be able to enter the story at any point in the book without feeling lost.

• Try to choose pages that have a mixture of scene types: some dialogue, some narrative, some action.

• Most of all, don’t worry about it! This isn’t a test and I won’t judge you based on your sample. Our goal is to see how I can help you. That’s all!

How should I send you my sample for review?

Please send a Word .doc or .docx attached to an email. If you do not have Word, let me know and we’ll decide the best format to use. Word is strongly preferred for its Track Changes feature.

Use standard manuscript formatting.

Name your file: LastName.Sample. I’ll return it to you as LastName.Sample.Feedback, so you’ll know which file has my comments.

What is standard manuscript formatting?

Click here for an example of Standard Manuscript Format. The goal is to give your editor (me, in this case) a manuscript in a readable, recognizable format.

If you follow these rules you’ll do great:

  • 1″ margin on all sides.
  • Double-space the entire text.
  • Use a standard, serif font, 12-point type. Times New Roman is preferred.
  • Use a header on each page, including your name, the title of your novel in all caps, and the page number.
  • Start each new chapter on its own page.
  • Indent for each new paragraph.
How can I record our calls?

There are a lot of ways to record Skype calls. Please use Google to find the best way for you and your computer system. Make sure you test it before our call.

Why record the call?

I always send you my written notes, but the calls are conversations. As such, we’ll exchange ideas and I’ll answer your questions “live.” By recording the call, you won’t have to worry about taking notes or forgetting something.

How do I know which package to choose?

We’ll discuss your project and your editing needs during the free sample edit consultation. I’ll tell you exactly what I think of the sample and give you valuable feedback on your work based on the things you tell me about the book as a whole. Then it’s up to you. I’ll write a proposal for as much or as little help as you’d like me to provide. I will work with you to fit your needs and your budget.

Why is there a price range listed for each editing package?

Because each project and each writer is unique, I charge by the project.

By not charging an hourly rate, I am able to bundle value into each package. I’d rather not track the minutes I spend emailing each and every client, or worry if a consultation call lasts 70 minutes, instead of 60. You know I’m available. I don’t have to track who received my attention every minute of the day.

How do you decide how much to charge for a specific manuscript?

When I’m editing, I’m not reading for punctuation and grammar. I am reading every word with intent focus, in order to develop an intimate understanding of your characters and plot. I read for arcs, structure, voice, clarity, character motivation, consistency, plausibility, theme, subplots, and other aspects of craft a copy editor does not have to consider. My goal is to help you strengthen both your manuscript and your writing skills. You will benefit from the sum total of my education and experience as a writer, editor, and teacher. You will also be able to carry forward what you learn into every story you ever write.

With that said, the longer a manuscript, the more it will cost. Simply put, more words equals more hours.

I will be happy to discuss ways to work within your budget.

How do payments work?

Payments are always made in installments, typically 2-4, though sometimes more. You’ll be invoiced when you submit work for review and receive feedback. Payments can be made by credit card or through a Paypal account.

Didn't find your answer here? Contact Alida.

Alida is always available to answer questions. Go ahead.

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