She sure does.
So what is “Avril Edits?” Avril is the Writeaway person who is in charge of editing what we write for our clients. And she’s very good. So good, in fact, that she also edits materials – speeches, position papers, marketing materials, proposals, whatever – that our clients have already written, but which they believe might benefit from review and comments by an independent professional. Even if you do your own writing, we can help you make a well-written piece even better.
By “editing,” we’re not just talking about looking for typos and grammatical issues. You don’t need to hire someone to do that. No. We’re talking about a process that includes specific comments about the language and structure of what you’ve written, about changes that we recommend to improve the clarity, flow and effectiveness of your piece.
We get email all the time from clients who ask us, “How much will you charge to edit, just edit these three pages?” It’s a simple enough request, until you consider what we do when we “edit” something.
Microsoft Word helps us find misspellings and points out what it considers to be grammatical errors, so that’s not a problem. In fact, the client has usually already done that, fixed any obvious typos and corrected grammatical errors to the point that Word stops underlining stuff.
So what are we editing? What does “editing” mean at Writeaway? What do our editing customers get for their hard earned money? The answers are: clarity, flow and professional polish. If we find typos and grammatical issues, we point them out and fix them, of course, but most of what we’re doing is helping our clients improve the effectiveness of what they’ve written. Are our client’s ideas clearly presented in a professional manner that reads well?
Editing is science, but it’s also an art, and it’s the “art” part that is the reason our clients use Writeway. We’re not editors per se. We’re writers who edit. In fact, writing original material for our clients is most of what we do and, frankly, the more profitable component of our business. Why? Because clients appreciate the skill and value of quality writing, but often underestimate the time and effort that goes into editing, into turning an okay document into, “Gee whiz. Did I really write that?” And the fact is, yes you did. We just helped you make it better.
And then there’s the question of process. To help you undersand what we’ve done to your document, we make Word comments in the right margin for pretty much every change we make. We do that for two reasons. One is so that you’ll understand why we changed some word, phrase or sentence structure so that you’ll know we made the change and can compare it to your original.
The other reason has to do with the collaboration that is, or should be, part of every editing assignment. We can write well enough, but we don’t know your business, certainly not the specifics of it. There’s always the possibility that, in the process of editing your material, we change its meaning or the impression you were trying to make. That’s why, in the comments we put in that right margin, we do our best to raise the question, “We’re not sure precisely what you meant to say here. Does the change we’ve made still convey the meaning you had in mind?” And sometimes it doesn’t. Our clients get back to us, which is something we encourage, and we try another approach until we get it right. The more specialized or unique the context of our client’s materials, the more important this carefulness and collaboration become.
How much do we charge?
Editing, Writeaway-style, takes time and skill. What we do is way beyond proofreading. The rougher the original, the greater the effort it takes to edit it. We can’t quote a fixed price of “x” dollars per page. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone who does is doing the job our clients are expecting, doing much more than our clients could have done on their own with Word. And so we don’t just list prices for editing services and why we like to see what we’re going to be editing before we quote a price.
By the way, did I mention that two people review every single page we edit, just in case the first one missed something? Two people. (We take editing very seriously.)
“Puh-leeeez.” Okay, okay. Don’t beg. It’s humiliating. If you insist. …As a rule – although we sometimes do initial work for a new client “on spec,” that is, for free just to demonstrate the value of our editing services – we charge $50/hour for non-technical material, subject to a minimum charge of $50. If that sounds high, remember, this isn’t just about proof-reading for typos which is why our process takes longer and costs more.
We also work for clients who need regular, recurring services on a retainer basis which is more cost effective than piecemeal work, one document at a time, given their requirements. For those clients, Writeaway acts as a part-time employee, but without costly employee benefits and other expenses.
The adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” applies. If your document is important – and you don’t need to hire us if it’s not – isn’t it worth a few dollars to make sure it’s well-written?
We turnaround editing assignments quickly, depending, of course, upon their length. That said, please do your best not to wait until the last minute to reach out for us.
All you have to do is email us the copy you’d like edited. We’ll read it and email you a hard estimate of the costs for your approval. By “hard estimate,” we mean that’s the price we’re going to charge you, even if your job takes longer than we had anticipated. If you approve, we’ll do the work and send it to you with an invoice that you can pay on-line using PayPal’s credit/debit card merchant services. Any credit or debit card will do. You don’t need to have a PayPal account.
Larger jobs, those that we estimate will take eight hours or more, may require a deposit up front.
In general, we communicate with our clients via email and video calls – including evenings and weekends, whatever’s necessary to produce the quality work you need on a timely basis. If necessary, we can followup with a video call to explain, face-to-face, the changes we’re recommending.
Needless to say, but we’ll say it anyway, all client materials – even those we review, but are not hired to write or edit – are kept in strict confidence. Writeaway never discusses one of our client’s documents and business with any other client or person. We won’t even tell anyone that you’re one of our clients. Ours is a confidential service.
When you need editing, the process usually starts by your sending us an email to Contact@Writeaway to talk about individual documents and/or about continuing work we do for clients on a retainer basis.
Send us your document and we’ll give you a price that will be the most we will charge even if it takes us longer. If you’re a client of size for which we may do more business over the months ahead, we may even do that first, small job “on spec,” for free, to prove the quality and value of what we do.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
P.S. Click here for a list of other articles you might want to read.
We asked our Avril for a picture we could use on our website and this, on the left, is the one she gave us. Uncanny, isn’t it, how much she looks like rock singer Avril Lavigne.