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The rain was delicious. People with umbrellas all the colors of the rainbow were about, shivering and splashing hastily across squares and down alleys. It was cold and wet, but I'm so glad I went. The quiet sounds of the rain-washed water city, the sharp highlights on cobblestones and statues, the damp, musty smell of the streets, and the kaleidoscope of 


      When you contact me, the first thing I will ask for is a 5-page excerpt from your MS. I'll edit these pages and send them back as a sample of my work with the estimate for the whole project. This will give each of us an idea of what we're working with. 

      Here is the language I use in my estimate:

"If this sample represents the quality in the rest of the MS, at xxx pages formatted to industry standard (please note I estimate and work off of Courier, not TNR), I estimate that the project will likely take me xx-xx hours and run $xxx-xxx at $50/hr. It would take around xxx to complete.


Please note that the estimate is just that; it is a ballpark to help you budget, and it is not a firm price, though I make every attempt to stick to it -- even go under it if at all possible. The final price could go up or down, depending on what I find as I dig into your text. The estimate is based on page count, formatted to industry standard, not word count. When I get your MS and reformat it (if necessary) I will let you know if the page count has changed from the xxx pages this estimate reflects.


If you need to brush up on standard manuscript formatting (SMF) take a look at my website: formatting. If you still have questions, just let me know!


To begin, I need an $800 deposit to hold a reservation in my schedule. Currently I have xxx available. If you cancel 61+ days from your reservation, the deposit is refundable; if you cancel 31-60 days from your reservation, it is half refundable; if you cancel 30 days or less in advance, it is nonrefundable. If you send a larger MS than we planned for, say 400 pages when we scheduled 350 pages, the estimate will go up to accommodate the larger size of the project. If your project goes long because of that increased length, and causes me to be late on my next project, the overage will be charged at my afterhours rate of $60/hr.


When I’m done, you’ll have three docs to work from, plus the invoice for the project with payment due upon receipt. The first doc will be the MS with all my marks (using track changes) and notes in the sidebar, the second will be a chapter overview where I discuss the things that I saw going on chapter by chapter, and the third will be the critique letter with sections on plot, character, setting, conflict, pacing, and theme, followed by a general section with things you can apply to all your writing, a specific section related to just this story, and a grammatical section that can also be applied to all your writing.


If we do the project together, I’ll make sure to keep a close eye on progress so there will be no surprises, and remain available for questions and updates throughout.


If you agree to these terms, in your reply, tell me expressly that you agree to the terms in this estimate.


Thank you for the opportunity to help you make the story you want to tell as compelling and satisfying as it can be!"

      Estimates are tricky things, but I will remain completely transparent, communicative, and do everything I can to get the project done within budget and within estimate. My goal is for everyone to come away happy, excited, and ready for more.

 Please contact me with questions.

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