You’ll Learn…

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.” ―Mandy Hale

Lisa’s Unwritten Rules #1


I have a very long list of ‘Unwritten Rules’. Most of them pertain to manners and common decency, but the rest, in my opinion, center around basic common sense.

If you’re a writer and you’re in need of an editor, PLEASE do not expect me to work for free. I cannot tolerate being approached for developmental editing, which is extremely time-consuming, only to be told “I have no budget”. Okay, I get that. Which is precisely why I let people contract me out via a payment plan. It’s so easy, you’d have to be a moron not to be able to follow it. If you would buy things on a credit card that you have to pay off monthly, then look at editing as a much more important investment in your future. If you have it done right, you never have to spend additional funds to have it re-done after it’s published and you suddenly find it riddled with unimaginable, not to mention embarrassing, errors.

Very few editors with experience are “inexpensive”. If I charged by the hour, no one would be able to afford me, so I charge based on the type of editing needed. If someone wants a flyer done, that’s not expensive. If you need an editor to critique or simply proofread, again, that’s really not expensive. But a book manuscript? If it were “cheap”, I wouldn’t hire me, I’d run for the hills! I go so far as to hold a spot for you in my schedule if you say “I will need you by a specific date.” The payment plans work out for me too because they help pay my bills and like everyone else, you cannot ignore a mortgage, rent, utilities, the cost of food, etc. They’re basic facts of life.

I am flat-out DONE working for peanuts. Been there, done that. I’m NOT going in reverse. I’m not a teenager or college student who needs to pad her resume or gain experience. Do not bring me a 100,000+ word, 300+ page manuscript and expect that to cost a few dollars to edit, or that I’ll listen to the story of how you desperately want to succeed, but cannot pay me. I can only do so many random acts of kindness before I start feeling like a moron.

It’s perfectly okay to say I don’t fit into your budget and look elsewhere for someone who is stupid enough to work for nothing going to take the job, but don’t disrespect me and then expect us to be “friends”. If you think a monkey can do the edit, then by all means, hire the fucking monkey.

I am one of the easiest people to have edit your work. I am highly communicative, I fact check, I make sure your work is going to grow and be solid down the road. I do a LOT and I’m always available to you. I came up with the idea of payment plans because many people have budgets and I understand that. Not every editor is okay with that though. I know many that ask for the entire amount up front (this could be several hundred dollars or several thousand, depending on how they price things. In-house editors make all of us look inexpensive as freelancers.), or, like me, a percentage to take the job and the rest by the time the manuscript is finished. That’s not an unfair request, especially if I’ve never worked with you before. I do a lot of first edits and final edits for people. When I give someone a price I have to factor in that I proofread it several times, provide extensive notes, and all the other things I previously mentioned. I also have to factor in that I often do research for certain clients. It doesn’t take two days. You have to respect that you’re hiring someone for their talent and ability, and that they’re taking the time to help you become a better writer. You get what you pay for, but many of my clients are astounded by what I have to go through simply to be paid like a human being. When it insults them, it reaffirms that my prices aren’t unreasonable.

When looking for an editor, look at the character of the person. I’ve had many people tell me they got a friend to help them, but that the friend “didn’t push them to be better”. As someone who strives daily to be better, I understand the need for a fresh set of eyes and someone who will be honest with you. I’m going to point out plot holes and other issues, that way when you re-write it, you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If it were my work, no matter how much editing I’d done on my own, I’d STILL require an editor myself because I’d need someone who could be detached and push me to be greater. That’s one part of the artistry of being a good writer. Knowing when to detach and allow someone to further along your talents.

NEVER expect that person to A) Do it for free or B) Not have bills to pay. Courtesy and respect begets courtesy and respect. And if ever you don’t mesh well with an editor, do not be afraid to move on to someone else who might be the perfect fit.

Rant over.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.