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Romance Refined
Rachel Daven Skinner
113 Overlook Pl, Dover, DE 19901

Jane Austen
9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS, UK

Saturday, May 28th, 2022

Dear Jane Austen (pen name A Lady):

You have agreed to hire me to work on your Regency Romance manuscript titled Pride and Prejudice, currently estimated at 120,000 words, for a Substantive Edit + Line/Copy Edit + Spot Check per the following terms:


  1. Substantive Editing at a rate of £0.016 per word
    1. Substantive editing deep-dives into content issues such as the following:
      1. character arcs (do they grow?), three-dimensional characterization throughout, hero and heroine likability, GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict), using secondary characters to best advantage, plot holes and unresolved threads, pacing, tension, Three-Act Structure, content relevancy and necessity, plausibility vs. suspension of disbelief (logic is an issue I go after intensively), head-hopping, world-building, fact-checking* elements that underpin overall plot or character concepts, romance satisfaction, red herrings and mystery satisfaction (if applicable), and more.
    2. The substantive edit will primarily be in the form of an editorial letter (usually 5–25 pages). Notes pertinent to specific passages will be made within the manuscript itself along with some occasional rewrites to demonstrate a suggested change.
    3. This edit includes 1 hour of follow-up discussion and collaborative brainstorming.
  2. Line & Copy Editing at a rate of £0.016 per word
    1. Line editing addresses language issues such as the following:
      1. syntax, best word choices, awkward phrasing, word and phrase overuse, variation of sentence construction, resolving ambiguities, "showing" vs. "telling," beats interspersed with dialogue, ensuring dialogue is age appropriate and culturally accurate, amping up or toning down sex scenes, world-building, setting scenes using all five senses, eliminating clichés, fact-checking* elements that affect other details in the story, pointing out anachronistic expressions or references used in historicals, ensuring chapters break in the best spot and end with a hook, timeline consistency, and more.
    2. Copy editing addresses technical issues such as the following:
      1. detail and description consistency, grammar, correct word usage (such as die vs. dye), punctuation, adherence to a style guide, fact-checking* minor details such as business names and historic dates, formatting markup using Word's Styles, flagging potential copyright and legal issues, and more.
    3. The line and copy edit will primarily be in the form of Track Changes and Comments within the manuscript. You will also receive a very brief editorial letter to point out content issues that remain or were introduced after your previous level of editing, if applicable.
    4. You’ll be given a copy of my style sheet, which will include a timeline, a log of all consistency-related style and spelling choices, and a log of consistency-related facts and descriptions.
    5. This edit includes 1 hour of follow-up discussion.
  3. Spot Check at a rate of $30/£23 per hour
    1. Spot Check includes the following:
      1. After you have made your changes to the manuscript as a result of my line & copy edit, I will go through the revised draft only to review the specific areas you’ve changed, as identified by Track Changes or highlighter, since I last saw the file. I will line & copy edit the new material and provide feedback on execution of your changes. The file may be exchanged multiple times until you are satisfied the manuscript is finished.

           *You, as author, are ultimately responsible for factual accuracy in your manuscript. 

English Language and Style

  1. You've chosen for this edit to adhere to British English spelling standards.
    1. American English: the primary dictionary will be Merriam Webster's Collegiate 11th edition, and the style guides will be Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition and Romance Refined house style.
    2. British English: the primary dictionary will be the Oxford English Dictionary, and the style guides will be New Hart's Rules and Romance Refined house style.
  2. A full copy of the Romance Refined house style guide is available to you upon request.


  1. The Substantive Edit is scheduled to begin Monday, October 3rd, 2016, and I shall endeavor to return the edit to you by Sunday, October 16th, 2016.
  2. The Line & Copy Edit is scheduled to begin Monday, November 14th, 2016, and I shall endeavor to return the edit to you by Sunday, December 4th, 2016.
  3. The Spot Check does not need to be scheduled in advance for a specific date, though advanced notice of your expected delivery is appreciated. Allow a two-week turnaround from the date you submit your revised draft unless a more prompt arrangement is discussed.


  1. You'll receive a 3% discount on all three services for booking a comprehensive package.
  2. Discounts will be reflected on the balance invoice for the final service that requires advanced scheduling.


  1. Your estimated total (before any applicable discounts) for the Substantive Edit is £1920 (120,000 words x £0.016)
  2. Your estimated total (before any applicable discounts) for the Line & Copy Edit is £1920 (120,000 words x £0.016)
  3. Cost for any service priced at any hourly rate will be determined by actual hours needed to complete it.
  4. Payment schedule for services that require advanced scheduling:
    1. NON-REFUNDABLE RETAINER: 5% of the total for scheduled services will be due at booking; Retainer will be deducted from final invoice for final scheduled service
    2. DEPOSIT: 50% due immediately if start date is less than 1 month out, otherwise due 1 month prior to start date
    3. BALANCE: due within 2 weeks of completed edit delivery
  5. If you book multiple services, the balance of each service must be paid before work will begin on the next service.
  6. All estimates and deposits are based on projected word counts. Final balance will be determined by verified word count as of the beginning of each phase of service.
  7. You've chosen to pay by PayPal: Debit/Credit Card method.
  8. You will receive an invoice each time a payment is due. Please make payment by clicking the link on the invoice, which will take you to FreshBooks where you can pay via PayPal. Please do not initiate payment directly through PayPal.com.
  9. Late payments will be charged 2% interest per exceeded month or partial month.

Cancellation and Job Amendment Policy

  1. If either of us need to amend a time frame, we agree to let the other party know as soon as possible, with the aim of being flexible within reason.
  2. A contract cancellation or date postponement at your request—excluding for unforeseen reasons like personal tragedy, natural disasters, etc.—may result in financial penalty. The following schedule applies:
    1. 29 days or more in advance of start date: the retainer amount is forfeit
    2. 8 to 28 days prior to start date: half of the deposit* amount will be forfeit
    3. 0 to 7 days prior to start date: the full deposit* amount will be forfeit  
    4. *If the deposit has not yet been paid at time of cancellation, this means you will still be required to submit payment for the forfeited amount.
    5. Exceptions: If you cancel and I’m able to fill the resulting schedule gap with work from another client, you will only forfeit the Retainer amount. If you postpone and I'm able to fill the resulting schedule gap, you will not be penalized.
  3. If it becomes clear to me after I've started work that your manuscript needs a different service than the one you booked, I'll pause the edit and email you to discuss adjusting the job scope, rate, and schedule accordingly. If you decide not to change the job terms, I reserve the right to either cancel the project and bill you only for the work done up to that point or the right to finish the job at the service level paid for but require that my name not be associated with your book. I maintain a high standard with my clientele, so please understand I must act to preserve my business reputation.

Microsoft Word

  1. All editing will be done within Microsoft Word 365 on a Windows PC.
  2. I will use Word's Tracked Changes feature to show my edits, and I'll send you a short tutorial explaining how we'll use the feature.
  3. Please send the manuscript with the following industry standard formatting:
    1. all chapters in a single document
    2. margins 1 inch on all sides
    3. Georgia (preferred), Garamond, or Times New Roman font, size 12
    4. double spaced, with 0 pt. spacing before and after (settings found in the Paragraph menu)
    5. use 3 asterisks *** to indicate a scene break; no images or dingbats
  4. If you hire me for copyediting, I'll apply basic formatting and style markup to the document per Romance Refined house style unless you request otherwise. This is not to be considered publishing-ready formatting but rather clean-up and standardizing to help you or your professional designer more easily create the final interior layout.
  5. To ensure there's no confusion over file versions when either of us need to reference a specific document, I use the following file naming system:
    1. The original file you send me gets named "Book Title Acronym 1.0 - Author First Name" (example: "PAP 1.0 - Jane") and will remain untouched by me so I always have your original to refer to.
    2. The file I edit and send to you would be named "PAP 1.1 - Rachel" in this example.
    3. I recommend that you save file 1.1 untouched and rename a copy as 1.2, then make all your revisions to version 1.2. This way you always have an unaltered version of my edited file to refer back to.
    4. If you need to send me your revised version 1.2 so I can review minor changes, I'll return it to you as version 1.3, and so forth.
    5. If you hire me for multiple types of editing services, the next round of editing will begin with author file 2.0, continuing in the same pattern outlined above.

Follow-up After Edit

  1. Follow-up discussions must take place within 1 month of edit completion. This ensures the specifics of your story are still fresh in my mind. Exceptions may apply pending discussion of individual needs and availability.
  2. Author is responsible for emailing Romance Refined to initiate setting up the follow-up discussion.
  3. Author chooses whether we chat by email, phone, video call through Facebook messenger or Skype, or a live text chat through Facebook messenger.
  4. Please initial to indicate your adherence to and understanding of this section:
Author Initial Here

Promotion and Public Disclosure Policies

  1. Testimonials are the best way to thank me for a job well done, so if you feel inclined to offer one after we've finished the job, I'd be very appreciative.
  2. Per the questionnaire you previously filled out, you have stated . If you welcome promotion, please note the following:
    1. I'll feature your book cover and details on the Portfolio page of my website and announce your publishing news on my home page.
    2. I enjoy promoting my clients through social media via my own posts and sharing/retweeting their posts, and occasionally I'll even pay for a small Facebook ad when there's grand news to share (like an award). This is a courtesy service on my part, not an obligation.
    3. Please let me know the publication date, once known, so I can promote your book launch.
    4. You may notify me any time you have exciting news I can share, like winning an award or running a giveaway.
  3. I give you permission to publicize our working arrangement at any time and to include my name and business name in the Acknowledgements section of your book if you wish to do so.
    1. Please ensure my name is correctly spelled as Rachel Daven Skinner (all 3 names) and my company name as Romance Refined.
    2. When referring to me as your editor, it's important that you indicate the type of editing I provided so as to exonerate me from responsibility for issues beyond the remit of what I was hired to address. If I only provide your substantive editing, you may refer to me as your substantive or content editor. If I only provide your line & copy editing, you may refer to me as your copy editor. If I provide substantive, line, and copy editing, you may simply refer to me as your editor.
    3. Note that I reserve the right to decline public credit for editing your project, including in Acknowledgments and on my website, and to request that you do not publicize our working arrangement. I will notify you of this request should I feel it necessary.
  4. You are bound to the following terms for publishing, sharing, and discussing my work:
    1. You retain copyright on your original content at all times; however, I retain copyright on my editorial contributions until your balance is paid in full, at which point I relinquish copyright to you so you may claim the final content as sole author.
    2. You may not publicly release my comments from email exchanges or from edited material, even with my name redacted, without my permission.
    3. You may not publicly release my editing suggestions, even with my name redacted, with critical or slanderous intent. However, if you have a genuine desire to seek opinions regarding a specific editing suggestion, you may respectfully share and discuss that query. It can be all too easy for online discussions to turn into a critical mob, so it is your responsibility to ensure the discussion remains educational in tone and purpose. I reserve the right to judge whether these terms have been violated.
    4. You may not privately share any portion of my emails or edits with anyone outside of your immediate family and closest friends without my permission.
  5. Please note that I do not write reviews for books I have worked on as it would be a conflict of interest.
  6. Please initial to confirm your adherence to the policies laid out in this section:
Author Initial Here

Copyright Infringement, Plagiarism, and Libel

  1. If I notice any potential copyright infringement, plagiarism, or libel issues, I'll include this information in my editorial report as a courtesy. However, you, the author, are legally responsible for any copyright infringement, plagiarism, or libel that may occur in your book. Romance Refined and Rachel Daven Skinner are not legally responsible for ensuring your understanding of or adherence to the law.
  2. Please initial to indicate your understanding of this section
Author Initial Here

Additional Services Available

  1. Beta read before or after an edit at a rate of $1 per 1,000 words per reader for a three-week turnaround
    1. Beta reads are assigned to the Romance Refined beta reader team. All readers are vetted and guaranteed to be familiar with your genre, and they provide feedback by answering a questionnaire of 80+ questions. Rush fees are available for a quicker turnaround, and you're welcome to hire multiple readers.
  2. ARC creation at a rate of $30/£23 per hour
    1. Many bloggers and publications require long lead times (3+ months) for receiving ARC (Advance Reading Copy) submissions, so it’s not uncommon for an author to send out ARCs before proofreading and book design have occurred. I can turn your copy edited Word document into ARC e-books for all types of e-readers, usually in about thirty minutes to two hours. The ARC e-books will not be publication-ready but will be suitable for sending to bloggers, associates, friends, etc. to secure advance reviews, which is one of the most vital steps in marketing.
  3. Proofreading at a rate of $0.009/£0.007 per word
    1. Proofreading is for double-checking the text to correct errors missed during copy editing or introduced by the author after editing was completed.
    2. I subcontract with trusted proofreaders, and I review their proof at the end. This collaboration means most issues can be ironed out by my professional team without a proofreader having to hassle you with a bunch of little queries. You've got enough on your plate in the run-up to publication! If you'd like to book proofreading, please let me know ASAP so I can schedule accordingly.
  4. Other: $30–45/£23–34 per hour
    1. Want me to edit your book jacket blurb? Give in-depth advice on marketing? Something else? Just ask if I can help!


If this contract is acceptable to you, please e-sign below. This is a legally binding document. Once signed, the document will automatically be sent back to me and I'll sign it as well.

Aaaaand exhale. The boring part is over! I look forward to our exciting partnership ahead.


Rachel Daven Skinner

Author Signature
Rachel Daven Skinner Signature
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