SFEditor.ca header

Initial Appraisal of a Sample of Your Writing

Initial Appraisal

Before you invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in professional editing, you need to know that the advice you are paying for is the advice you need or want. There are many reasons SFeditor.ca may not be the right editor for you. The only way to find out is to try it. Consequently, SFeditor.ca offers an initial appraisal: 4000 words, (approximately 15 double-spaced pages) and a one- to three-page synopsis for $175. That's roughly equivalent to the number of pages one would submit to a publisher, and quite sufficient for SFeditor.ca to provide an objective appraisal of your work and to provide a realistic estimate of the services SFeditor.ca could offer. For example, some manuscripts may require considerable developmental work; others may need only some minor copy editing; yet others may only need help with the submission process (if submitting to a publisher). Others may benefit from both developmental and stylistic editing.

This is also the opportunity for the client to decide whether the type and style of feedback on the initial 15 pages is what they want for the whole manuscript. Some clients may feel SFeditor.ca is too blunt or too soft; too general or too focused; too traditional or too post-modern; too fixated on grammar or too focused on plot, character and setting; too academic or not literary enough; or whatever. If the initial feedback is more annoying than helpful, then there is no point in pursuing additional services.

Think of it this way: you wouldn't marry someone without getting to know them first; the initial appraisal is the equivalent of a first date. If all goes well, then we can take it to the next level. If it is not a promising experience for one or the other, well, all you've invested is the price of that first date.

Developmental and Structural Editing

You must first submit 15 pages and a one- to three-page synopsis for an appraisal and pay the appraisal fee before SFeditor.ca will undertake developmental editing for you. SFeditor.ca will only take on clients if there is a reasonable likelihood of success. The appraisal fee includes initial assessment of developmental needs.

Stylistic and Copy Editing

You must first submit 4000 words (about 15 pages) and a synopsis for an appraisal and pay the appraisal fee of $175 before SFeditor.ca will undertake copy editing, as the appraisal is the only way to provide an accurate estimate of costs. Naturally, stylistic and copy editing of those initial 15 pages is included in the appraisal fee.

Genres Accepted

SFeditor.ca specializes in speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, etc. Senior Editor, Robert Runté, does not edit horror, but refers horror to his colleague, Halli Lilburn.

SFeditor.ca will consider Canadian literature and general fiction. SFeditor.ca is eminently qualified to edit SF-related non-fiction, and depending on the topic, other non-fiction. For other genres, see EssentialEdits.ca

[Nor does Robert Runté normally edit mystery or romance unless they are cross-overs into SF. This is based on the belief that when mainstream editors or romance editors or etc. attempt to edit SF, they often miss clichés, lower their standards, or otherwise make serious mistakes due to their lack of familiarity with the conventions of the genre. The corollary is necessarily that SF editors should not try to edit other genres with which they are not intimately familiar. EssentialEdits.ca has five other editors to choose from for non-SF.]

Other Limitations

SFeditor.ca can only accommodate English language manuscripts.

SFeditor.ca cannot provide assistance with book design or cover art.

How to Submit

Having experimented with various online submissions forms, SFeditor.ca has gone back to email as the simplest method and the least prone to bugs. Submit Word .doc, .docx, or RTF files.

Paying with Interact or Paypal
Paying through Interact online bank transfer is fast, easy and inexpensive ($1) for anyone in Canada. Simply go to your account online, and choose the Interact transfer option. Alternatively, you can use Paypal, which is equally fast and convenient, available internationally, but more expensive. You do not need a Paypal account to use Paypal. If online payment is going to present difficulties for you, contact SFeditor.ca about making alternate arrangements.

Appraisal edits can usually be fit into the work schedule between other projects fairly quickly; booking a full-developmental (structural) edit usually requires some advance planning. It is often useful to book the work in instalments so that the author can review the editing of initial chapters to (1) provide feedback to the editor on whether revisions/comments are meeting the author's needs, (2) provide the author opportunities to learn from whatever weaknesses or bad habits are identified in these initial chapters to eliminate these issues in the rest of the manuscript themselves. For example, if the editor identifies the overuse of italics or too many expository lumps in the first three chapters, considerable savings can be realized if the author fixes these problems throughout the rest of the manuscript rather than paying the editor to say "another example of the overuse of italics" or etc. (Not having to repeat themselves continually also makes the work less tedious for the editor.)

Rush work can sometimes be accommodated, but is charged at a higher rate (since it implies working evenings and weekends, after doing previously scheduled work during normal working hours).

If one searches for editors on the web, one can usually find a number who are available the same day. As with a row of food trucks, you may wish to ask yourself why some have longer lineups than others.

Last updated June, 2021.