The First Question
Why should I hire an editor or coach?
Every writer knows the importance of getting feedback on their work. If you're considering hiring an editor or coach, you're likely already working with critique partners and beta readers. HYPHEN gives you professional feedback from someone who has worked in the publishing industry and knows what its standards are. For writers who are self-publishing, hiring an editor is extremely important; you want your work to be as perfect as you can make it before putting it in readers' hands. For writers pursuing traditional publishing, hiring a coach or editor isn't strictly necessary, but it may give you a competitive edge as you look for an agent.
More About HYPHEN
What genres do you specialize in?
HYPHEN is happy to help you with query letters and synopses for any genre. For more extensive editorial projects, our specialties are as follows:
In adult fiction, HYPHEN specializes in women's fiction, from commercial to upmarket. We also work with contemporary romance and thrillers/mystery/suspense, particularly upmarket or domestic.
In adult nonfiction, HYPHEN specializes in narrative nonfiction but is also happy to work with prescriptive proposals. Particular areas of expertise include feminism, the arts and pop culture, food, sports, law, and social sciences, particularly pop psychology.
In children's, HYPHEN specializes in contemporary young adult and also works on contemporary middle grade and nonfiction for both age groups.
HYPHEN is not the ideal editor or coach for most science fiction or fantasy. (Feel free to email us, though, as we are qualified to work on some of it, such as near future sci fi.) We do not work on picture books, chapter books, or horror.
What is your editing/coaching style?
HYPHEN aims to be constructive and supportive, while also being honest and clear. We tend towards pointing out a potential issue and providing suggested solutions, rather than mandating one course. We recognize that every writer responds to feedback differently, and as much as possible, we strive to tailor our methods to the specific client's needs.
How does a coach differ from an editor?
Editorial services tend to be a one-off interaction, whereas coaching provides continuous collaboration over a number of months. A coach may provide many of the same services as an editor, while also incorporating regular check-ins and serving as a constant resource for the writer. Since the relationship is ongoing, a coach may better know a writer and provide more personalized service.
What exactly does coaching entail?
In short, whatever the writer needs. Coaching could be as simple as having bimonthly phone calls to debrief during the query process or as involved as reading chapters as you write. HYPHEN charges for coaching services on a monthly basis, typically with a three-month minimum, with the fee dependent upon the scope of the work. Having a writing coach means having someone in your corner, doing what needs to be done to help you succeed.
How do I know if you're the right coach for me?
Before committing to coaching, HYPHEN offers a complimentary phone or video chat consultation. In this conversation, we can thoroughly discuss your needs and expectations and make sure you understand what HYPHEN is able to offer you. Since coaching is a joint, longer-term effort, we want to make sure that it's a great fit on both sides.
Do you offer a sample edit?
For full manuscript projects, HYPHEN offers a complimentary five-page edit and accompanying critique.
What is the timeline for edits? Can you work more quickly?
It depends on how full our schedule is—we will agree on a project deadline before booking is confirmed. Query critiques and similar small projects can usually be turned around within 1-2 weeks. Full manuscript projects usually book 1-2 months ahead. You can reserve a spot in advance; simply email and let us know when you would like your edit to take place.
We may be able to accommodate a tighter schedule for an additional fee. Please advise us of your deadline, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
In what format will I receive my edit?
You will receive edits in a Word document with track changes and comments (as applicable to your selected service), as well as a separate Word document with your critique.
What services do you provide after the edit?
HYPHEN is happy to answer any follow-up questions you have over email. Full manuscript critiques and edits include a video chat or phone call to review the edit and answer your questions. Re-reads and re-edits are available at a reduced rate dependent upon the scope of the work.
Can you proofread my work? Or format it for upload to self-publishing platforms?
Unfortunately, no. HYPHEN will note any spelling or grammatical errors we catch during the line edit, but proofreading is a separate process. If you're seeking an agent, your manuscript will be in good enough shape in this regard following a line edit. If you're self-publishing, you will need to have your manuscript proofread by a specialist. And while we'd love to work with you on your self-publishing journey, we do not perform the formatting or uploading work.
What if I'm not sure what service I need or think I need something not listed here?
Send us an email! HYPHEN knows that writers' needs are many and varied—perhaps you need help drafting a synopsis from scratch or outlining your plot. Our offerings are a starting point, reflecting the most requested services. We're happy to advise you on the right service and to consider working with you in another capacity.
What is the payment process?
After booking your service, HYPHEN will email you an invoice, which you can pay directly using a credit card or ACH bank transfer. Smaller projects (query critiques, Twitter pitches, etc.) require upfront payment. Full manuscript critiques and edits require a 50% deposit upon booking and 50% upon completion. Coaching is paid on a monthly retainer.
Do you work with a contract?
Yes, for coaching and full manuscript critiques and edits, HYPHEN provides a basic agreement that sets out payment specifics and protects your rights as an author.
Can you guarantee I'll land an agent / get a book deal / sell a million copies?
No—no one (editor or agent or publisher) can make these kinds of guarantees. We will do our very best to improve your work. The stronger your writing is, the better chance you have of success in the long term.