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Definitions

 

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Following are some points to be aware of, when hiring a freelance Editor / Writer.

Þ Not all Editors are Writers and not all Writers are Editors.
· Editing and Writing are technically separate skills that are charged at very different rates; writing rates are usually higher.
· Rates for editorial skills that involve writing, such as stylistic or developmental editing, are also higher than for basic editing skills, such as proofreading or copy editing.

Þ Not all Editing skills are the same. Likewise for Writing skills.
· Know exactly what type(s) of skills it is that your job requires.
· One skill set does not automatically encompass another. For example, a copy editor will not be performing proofreading or stylistic editing on your material. The contract or negotiations should clearly define what the skills sets being sought are, to minimize unfulfilled expectations upon job completion.
· Be ready to meet higher rates for mixed skill sets.

Þ Rates vary widely among Freelancers.
· Rates for any single skill varies widely depending on the freelancer’s experience and the subject specialty. Clients should definitely shop around.
· Let your budget decide who to hire rather than just going for the cheapest option available.
· Benchmark rates can be obtained from related Associations, such as the Editors’ Association of Canada and Editorial Freelancers Association, but bear in mind that rates do increase annually.

Þ The sticky matter of testing & partial payments.

· Association membership is no guarantee of an experienced Editor/Writer. Some freelancers may find the idea offensive, but it is not uncalled for to request the freelancer to take an in-house test in order for you to validate the quality of the skills being offered. Another validation method is to ask for samples of previous work done.
· Freelancers will be reluctant to be tested on a large body of work. It is only fair that they protect themselves from abuse of their services, which unfortunately does occur. A test of one or two pages is usually sufficient to determine if the freelancer’s basic skills are good.
· Partial payment up-front is not an unusual practice! Again, freelancers do this to protect themselves against bad-debt clients.

Þ The Client-Freelancer relationship is a two-way street of compromise.

· Deadlines:
Most freelancers are often handling several clients/projects at the same time. Always try to allow for time leniency in your deadlines. Delivery by one week usually suffices for small work volumes, but do not be surprised if time extensions are requested for! An experienced freelancer who cannot meet your ultimate deadline will not take on the job in the first place, so make your deadlines realistic and clear!
· Re-do’s:
Never accept a completed job on blind faith. Always check the work and ask for a re-edit or rewrite—gratis—if not completely satisfied that the terms of your negotiations have been met. If revisions still linger doubt, seek a mediator such as professional associations for editors and writers.
· Expenses/Reimbursements:
Not all freelancers incorporate operating expenses (e.g., faxing, printing, postage) into their rates. It can become painfully expensive for freelancers to have to print out large files and/or faxes, especially in color, so try to provide the printouts of large volumes of texts that have to be dealt with in hardcopy. Reimbursements for expenses is a norm in the industry.
· Please pay up!
Be mindful that most freelancers do not get paid a regular monthly salary. Your project may the only assignment they’ve acquired in many months, so they may be somewhat anxious to get paid! A 30-day payment period is usually acceptable, but please be kind and pay on time.

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