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

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

June 1, 1812

Dear Jane Austen (pen name A Lady):

You have agreed to hire me to edit your Regency Romance manuscript titled Pride and Prejudice, currently estimated at 120,000 words, per the following terms:


  1. Substantive Editing at a rate of $0.017 per word
    1. Substantive Editing addresses the following content issues:
      1. character arcs (do they grow?), three-dimensional characterization, 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. 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 $0.02 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.
    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 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 use British English spelling standards.
    1. American English: the primary dictionary will be Merriam Webster's Collegiate 11th edition and the style guide will be Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition as well as Romance Refined house style.
    2. British English: the primary dictionary will be the Oxford English Dictionary and the style guide will be New Hart's Rules as well as 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 window begins Monday, October 3rd, 2016, and I shall endeavor to return the edit to you by Sunday, October 16th, 2016.
  2. The Line & Copy Edit window begins 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 time you submit your revised draft unless a more prompt arrangement is discussed.


  1. Your estimated total for the Substantive Edit is $2040 (120,000 words x $0.017)
  2. Your estimated total for the Line & Copy Edit is $2400 (120,000 words x $0.02)
  3. Your cost for any service priced at any hourly rate will be determined by actual hours needed to complete it.
  4. Payment schedule policies:
    1. Retainer
      1. NON-REFUNDABLE fee: 5% of the total for all services requiring advanced scheduling will be due at booking; Retainer will be deducted from final invoice for final scheduled service
    2. Substantive edit
      1. DEPOSIT: 50% of substantive fee due 1 month prior to start date
      2. BALANCE: due within 2 weeks of completed edit delivery
    3. Line & Copy Edit
      1. DEPOSIT: 50% of line & copy fee due 2 weeks prior to start date
      2. BALANCE: due within 2 weeks of completed edit delivery
    4. Services billed at an hourly rate
      1. FULL COST: due within 2 weeks of completed delivery
  5. 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.
  6. You've chosen to pay by PayPal: Debit/Credit Card method.
  7. 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.
  8. If you book multiple services, the balance of each service must be paid before work will begin on the next service.
  9. Late payments will be charged 2% interest per exceeded month or partial month.
  10. You retain copyright on your original content at all times; however, I retain copyright on my edited material until your balance is paid in full, at which point I relinquish copyright to you.


  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.

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.
    1. If a scheduled service is cancelled or postponed 30 days or more in advance of start date, the retainer fee is forfeit.
    2. If a scheduled service is cancelled or postponed less than 30 days prior to start date, an additional 25% of the service fee is forfeit. If the deposit (which is 50% of the service fee) has already been paid, this means half of the deposit will be returned to you. If the deposit has not yet been paid, this means you will still owe 25% of the service fee.
    3. 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 fee. If you postpone and I'm able to fill the resulting schedule gap, you will not be penalized.
  3. If you decide to postpone, you will be scheduled for my next availability, which may be quite a ways out.
  4. If it becomes clear to me after I've started editing that your manuscript needs a different type of service than the one you booked, I'll pause the edit and email you to discuss adjusting the job scope, rate, and schedule accordingly.
    1. If you do not agree to change the job terms and I feel very strongly that the final product will not be high quality unless you do so, 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 edit at the service level paid for but require that my name never 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 2013 or newer 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. Even if you're familiar with Tracked Changes, I ask you that you still read the short tutorial I send so you understand the specific settings and process I prefer to use.
  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. This clean-up will commonly include:
    1. indents:
      1. first paragraph after a chapter or scene break set full out (flush with left margin, no indent)
      2. main paragraph indents at 0.25" using the "first line indent" setting
      3. block quote paragraph indents at 0.5" for things like text messages, letters, headlines, etc.
    2. Microsoft Word's style feature
      1. Heading 1 style for part numbers (rarely applicable): font size 16, centered, 24 pt space after
      2. Heading 2 style for chapter numbers: font size 14, centered, 24 pt space after
      3. Heading 3 style for chapter subtitles: font size 14, centered, 24 pt space after
      4. custom style for scene breaks: 3 asterisks, font size 12, centered, 12 pt space before and after
      5. custom styles for the various indent needs mentioned in the previous subsection
    3. Page Break inserted at the end of each chapter
    4. erroneous space deleted at the beginning and end of paragraphs and chapters
    5. If you'd like to use these same settings and styles as you write your next manuscript so that your formatting is consistent from the get-go, please ask me to send you my blank Word template that has these parameters already applied. I can walk you through a very quick and easy explanation of how to use a template and the great value of Styles.
  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 a copy of file 1.1 and rename it as version 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.
  6. Please initial to indicate your adherance to and understanding of this section
Author Initial Here

Public Disclosure and Promotion

  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. If you hire me for a Line & Copy edit service but do not hire me for a Spot Check service *and* you do not hire a professional proofreader, I require that if you choose to mention me in your Acknowledgments you include a note stating I copy edited an earlier version of the manuscript. This protects my professional reputation in case errors are introduced during your revisions.
    4. 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. Please initial to confirm your adherence to the policies laid out in this section:
Author Initial Here

Additional Services Available

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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