Getting down to business







From Day One to delivery, this is what you can expect.


Send your introductory email to with the following information, which will help me figure out a quote. (If you send a very general email without at least some of the info below, I may think you're a bot and delete it.)

  1. Your quick "elevator speech": genre, basic plot, narrator POV, setting, target audience
  2. Stages of editing your manuscript has gone through—is it a first draft; has it been through developmental editing; has it been professionally evaluated or workshopped at all
  3. Total word count
  4. Deadline or timeframe, if you have one

Please attach an excerpt as a Word doc, or if it's a short story, the whole manuscript. I prefer 12-pt. Times New Roman font so I can easily see the punctuation. The paragraphs don't have to be indented but the breaks must be obvious.


I’ll reply within 5 business days, likely sooner. If I think we're a good creative fit, I’ll offer a free sample edit of up to 1,000 words. This is a great way to see my style of editing. We’ll also chat about my availability based on your deadline.


I’ll send your sample edit along with a quote. If you like what you see, please respond as soon as possible. I’ll draft a contract, which we’ll both sign electronically, and we’ll figure out payment together. I’ll send you invoices accordingly:

For short stories or novellas, I ask for the full 100% at commencement since it’s a quicker turnaround.

For books, there are two options.

  • Option 1: I ask for a 30% nonrefundable deposit upfront if you want to hold a spot in my schedule (unless I'm free immediately). Then 20% upon commencement and the final 50% upon delivery.
  • Option 2: I ask for 50% upon commencement and the final 50% upon delivery.


I’ll begin editing on your start date (assuming I've received any payments due). I may shoot you an email at some point if I need clarification about something in your manuscript or to simply say things are progressing, but usually I just hunker down and work. If I finish early or if I’m going to be late (this is extremely rare), I’ll send you an email right away.

Average time to edit a short story is a week or two.
Average time to edit a book is four to six weeks.


When I’ve finished copyediting, I’ll send you a friendly email with my final invoice. Once final payment has hit my bank account, I’ll send you three documents:

  1. Your copyedited manuscript with all Track Changes visible
  2. A “clean” copy of your manuscript in which I’ve accepted all changes and only queries in comment bubbles remain—this makes for easy reading
  3. A detailed style sheet listing preferred spellings, characters, treatment of numbers, etc.

After you’ve had a chance to go through my edits, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m happy to chat by email for a reasonable amount of time. If you’d like a round of light copyediting after changes have been made, we can talk about what that would look like.

“Lisa figured out my style quickly and was able to maintain it throughout. She provided that reader’s insight necessary to determine if the meaning of the words was getting across. This allowed me to fill in any information that was in my head and not yet in the book. I feel like Lisa took my manuscript to a level that I couldn’t achieve on my own.”

Sean McCutchen, author of The Patriot Cypher

Photo credit: That's Her Business on Unsplash