Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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Editing: a craft or a business?

September 18, 2013

Tags: editing, fees, rates, editing costs

The "Medievalist says editing is a business, but really means it is a craft and she is an artisan, not a business person," writes Rich Adin in his essay Medievalist or Futurist? (An American Editor, 9-18-13). We are experiencing a shift away from the (good old) "medievalist" days when editing, viewed more as a craft than a business, was done mostly locally, mostly on paper-- and the primary concern was the quality of the work.

By contrast, the "Futurist's" view of editing is developing at a time when it is not unusual for the editor to be hired by a third-party, the packager who has won the contract to provide editorial and production services, and "who has to use a hybrid system: offshore for the production component, onshore for the editorial component." With contracts won by low bids, the editor ends up with lower pay than ever and has to master efficiencies of editing. As the trend toward outsourcing continues, editors have to think more like businesses.

Adin's conclusion: "We need to remember and enforce with our clients that of the three key editing virtues — low price, fast speed, high quality — they can have any two, but not all three. We need to remember ourselves that, on any given project, we can only provide two of the three."

Check out his excellent website, rich in practical wisdom for editors: An American Editor .

Related resources:

• Thinking About Money: What Freelancers Need to Understand -- How to calculate your workday effective hourly rate (EHR) (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 10-6-10), and Being Cheap Isn’t Always the Best Choice (Rich Adin, The Digital Reader, 6-11-12)

• To Post or Not to Post Your Fee Schedule?

• How to Charge: By the Project, by the Hour, or by the Word or Page? (Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, KOK Edit, 1-24-11)

• How much to charge (For Editors, Writers & Editors)

• How Much to Charge (Pricing Strategies, Setting Rates, for Writers, Editors, and Other Creative Professionals, Writers and Editors website)

• Sample contracts and agreements for services (Writers and Editors)