What my clients get from me is threefold:
1. A Passionate, Knowledgeable Advocate: I have many years of experience doing what I do, which is help authors get published. Any writer or editor you're likely to hire has that, hopefully. But to them, you may be just a job, to get through before moving on to the next project. I'm a passionate advocate for my clients, balancing honesty with expectations, but also using my years of experience in various media to help them get the most out of their (and my) work. Sometimes, I can help you get an agent, build your platform and find a traditional publisher. Other times, the self-publishing route might actually make sense for your unique set of goals. It depends on the person, and the project. There's no "one size fits all" here.
2. A Strategic Thinker: A huge pet peeve for me is authors who leave money on the table and, to be honest, that's most of them. Books are wonderful; I'm a huge reader, so I love them to death. But they're only part of the puzzle if you want to have a successful writing career. Because I have the very rare combination of working in New York publishing and the Hollywood studio system, I can help you extend the life of your book in film, TV and/or theatre, a web series, reality show, and other media. That strategic thinking has made my clients much more cash than they would have otherwise.
3. A Kickass Planner, Deadline Meeter and Dream Feeder: I have people who work for me, and will help us stay on track, schedule-wise, meeting deadlines (if you're seeking help from grants, residencies and fellowships) and working toward our common dream of getting you published. So you'll always know what to expect from me, and when it will arrive. If you're doing your own writing and I'm working with you, there will be deadlines, and I will need you to understand and meet them, or your work may need to be rescheduled. If I'm writing or editing for you, this shouldn't be an issue, unless you change your mind about what you want (hey, it happens), or we decide to do more passes through the manuscript. Normally, we begin with two passes, and see how it goes from there.
How Does It Usually Work?
When we agree what is being done, when it will be delivered, what will be paid and when, you'll sign a brief agreement, which includes a non-disclosure paragraph. This means I'll never talk about your project with others, unless that right has been granted (I reserve the right to share small bits of text with others, in order to seek other work). I ask for a downpayment, and then we'll make a payment schedule, in increments throughout the process.
My assistant Tamara will get you on my schedule (she's amazing!) and I'll begin by reviewing your work -- anything you've written previously on the project, or materials you've collected. I make a long series of notes, and can share those by email.
Then we'll schedule a call to go over everything. If needed, we'll have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly calls, to go over materials I create or edit for you, so you'll always feel part of the process.
Things I Do Not Do:
Anything that features violence, rape, racism, sexism, hate speech or anything I find questionable, unless it serves the story, was true somehow (for a memoir) or is somehow necessary. I will be the sole judge of this. Life's just too share to work on things you don't believe in.
Write or edit "test" pages for people: I have way too much experience for this, but you may find a local college student who will do it. I find it disrespectful to ask a professional person to work for free. I don't do it to others, and expect my clients to not do this to me.
Work for a Flat Rate: I almost never work for a flat rate, because every time I have agreed to do this in the past, people assume it's a way of making you do twenty passes through the manuscript without paying more. I'm very experienced in this realm so I know, more or less, how long it takes to write a book, or a proposal, or adapt something to film or TV. However, I understand the need to know how much you're likely to pay, and not be surprised, so my proposals always include an estimate. I try to be as transparent as possible, and clear with what I feel the job will cost upfront. However, if you change your mind, or go beyond the two passes I'm estimating, the price will change.
Work on Spec, or Get Paid "When the Book Sells": Just ... no.
Hand You My Agent: If my agent reps projects like yours, this may come up, but I've had a rash of people assuming that I will automatically do this, and that it's somehow their right, as a person paying me for, say, editing their book. It's not, and who's to say that she's the right agent for your project anyway? We'll find you someone who works for what you're doing, if that's a goal.
Agent Books, or Manage Your Career: I realize the lines can get blurry, because I do act as an advocate and coach, helping people write their material over time. But I'm not an agent, and don't perform that function.
Respond to Threats, Bullying, Passive-Aggressiveness, or Other Weird Behavior: I'm very lucky, because my clients are the best, But I have to weed out any rageaholics, screamers, bullies and people who like to vent their anger and issues on others. I won't tolerate it.
What I Love:
People who really want to listen, learn and be better.
People who ask questions -- that's great! -- and really listen to the answers.
Clients who are willing to do the work of building a great platform as their book is getting written and/or edited.
Folks who want to reach for the stars, but still manage their expectations. It's a fine line. :)
And finally, you, if you've got a great project that needs some help to come to fruition. I love working with first-timers, and more seasoned veterans, to get your project done well.
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