If you’ve already written something, you send it to me (I prefer email, but FedEx works too), I correct whatever’s wrong with it, and I send it back to you. Usually, that means I edit a Microsoft Word document with the tracking switched on; all my changes show up in some friendly color (usually red or blue, depending on your computer), and you can right-click on any change I’ve made to accept or reject it, or just accept all my edits in one go. I can also give you more substantive advice (“Add a reference here” or “Insert an extra joke here”) in margin comments, or write you a full editorial letter explaining what needs to be changed and how to do it. Here is what a document looks like with changes tracked. If you send me a paper document, I go crazy with my red pen, just like your third-grade teacher used to do. This kind of editing is usually billed by the page; my rates are here.
If you don’t have a draft yet and you need help brainstorming, plotting, etc., or if whatever you need doesn’t have a page count, then I consult with you by phone, email, chat, or Skype. That kind of consultation is usually billed by the hour.
How much will it cost if I want you to …?
How much will you charge to write my paper/thesis/dissertation for me?
The short answer is, “You couldn’t afford it.” I will write anything for hire except academic writing—as far as I’m concerned, if you’re getting a grade for it, then writing it in your place would be doing your homework for you. However, I will help you perfect the writing you’ve already done.
Do you really edit stuff for free? What’s the catch?
No catch. I do free samples—usually about a page, or up to half an hour’s work. That way you know I can really help you, and I know you really want my help. If it turns out I can’t help you or you don’t need my services, then we both walk away without wasting any time or money.
You’re cute. Want to go out sometime?
How do I pay you?
If your job is small, I’ll send you an estimate up front and then a PayPal invoice after it’s done. You can pay me by PayPal, or use the address on the invoice to mail me a check or money order. (PayPal accepts credit cards, bank transfers, etc.) If your job is large or ongoing, I may arrange to bill you regularly—say, every two weeks or every month. If you absolutely, positively, cannot handle PayPal invoices, I can do PDF invoices and paper invoices too, but I don’t like to do that because it’s a pain in the butt.
Are your services tax-deductible?
Sometimes. Ask your tax preparer about your situation.
Can I find out what movies you’ve worked on? Anything I’ve heard of?
Almost all my screenplay work is covered by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). I can tell you that many of my clients have had their scripts produced after I worked on them, and most of those works are widely available. I can’t tell you the titles unless the clients give me permission, and they usually don’t. But isn’t it nice to know I’ll keep your screenplay’s details as private as I do theirs?
Why do you charge double for single-spaced pages–and why don’t you charge double for single-spaced screenplay pages?
My rates are based on the double-spaced page. A single-spaced page is as much work as two double-spaced pages, so I charge double for single-spacing. Screenplays are different, though, because even though they’re single-spaced, the margins and formatting mean that they have a lot of white space. Basically, a single-spaced screenplay page has about as many words on it as a regular double-spaced page–so it’s billed at the same rate.
Why do you charge a flat fee for application essays / personal statements / résumés / cover letters? Why not charge a page rate?
Because these documents are small but mighty–and they take a lot of work! To get an application essay right, we may spend an hour going back and forth over whether you should use a certain adjective. If I charged you by the hour for that, you’d think I was cheating you. If I charged you by the single page for that, I’d think you were cheating me. The flat fee reflects the amount of time I typically spend on each of these documents. As for why I charge separately for separate applications–to give you the best possible service, I research the school/program/job you’re applying for and make sure your writing meets its requirements. Two applications means double the research, and double the work.
What time zone are you in?
I live in the United States, in southern California, so my time zone is Pacific (UTC-8). All estimated return times are UTC-8 unless otherwise marked. (Just look up what time it is in Los Angeles, and you’ll know what time it is where I am.)
What if I hire you and then discover I don’t really need your help?
Thanks to my free samples, that doesn’t happen often. But if it does, I usually figure it out early. If we look at your project and agree you don’t need me after all, I won’t charge you anything.