Cost and Payment
How much do your services cost and how do you charge?
I do my best to keep my fees affordable for a range of people. I usually charge by the hour, sometimes by the job. Please contact me for my current fees and let me know what type of work you need. I keep a careful log of my work hours and send it to you when your deposit is finished or with your final bill.
How do I pay?
An advanced deposit is required, payable by personal check, bank check, or (clients outside the U.S. only) PayPal.
Do you work by contract?
Yes, always. The contract specifies our contact information, the nature of the work, our mutual responsibilities, the deadline, payment terms, and any other terms we agree on.
Will you accept payment from my university?
No. I don’t accept any 3rd-party payments. You are fully responsible for paying your bill by the date specified in your contract. If you request it, I will send you a receipt for your payment that you can submit to your university for reimbursement, but I don’t get involved with your university in any way. The great majority of my faculty clients are able to get reimbursed with a simple receipt.
Will you write my memoir for a share of the profits?
Maybe—if you have a sure best-selling story, but this is quite rare. Of the dozens of memoirs that people have pitched to me, only two have risen to that level. Both involved famous people and dramatic events. Please see Memoirs to get an idea of the type of memoir I seek.
Isn’t it better to work with an editor in person?
Usually not. I never meet most of my clients, yet we get to know each other quite well by telephone and email. Remote editing is cheaper than in-person editing and it yields a much better final product because I can focus better and work more efficiently. We can schedule a phone conference any time it would help. During a phone conference we’re both looking at the same document on our laptops, which is the same as being side by side.
How exactly will you work with me?
I adjust my process to your needs, but usually I use an interactive process in which you’re an active participant. We exchange the work back and forth a number of times until all problems are solved and we’re both satisfied. I edit in Microsoft Word and I use the Track Changes feature so you can see all of my edits in red. I place comments and questions for you in the margin balloons, linked to the place where a problem occurs. I can also edit in a single step if you prefer.
What if I don’t want you to change my style or my voice?
I will listen carefully to what you want me to do and what you’re comfortable with, and then I will respect that. I will offer you a range of clearly defined types and levels of editing to choose from.
Are there things you don’t edit or write?
Yes. I don’t work on erotica, violent fiction, urban fiction, and similar works. I don’t write students’ papers—I will support you in doing your best work but I won’t do your work for you.
What is your turnaround time?
Turnaround time depends on the amount of work to be done (number of pages, extent of editing) and my workload. I often have a waiting list of about two weeks, so if you have a strict deadline, please contact me well in advance to reserve a space in my schedule. In busy times, you may lose your space if you deliver your work late. However, if you have an emergency, feel free to contact me at any time and I will accommodate you if at all possible.
About Margaret Copeley
What training and experience do you have?
I have a B.A. in foreign languages and a master’s degree in education. I’ve been editing since 1997, starting with 9 years as a copyeditor at SUNY Press. I routinely work at the PhD level in most humanities and social science subject areas. See About for more information.
How can I trust an editor I’ve never met?
I’ve been a professional editor since 1997. I pride myself on the quality of my work and on treating my clients with respect and honesty. Most of my clients depend on my competence, honesty, and timeliness for their careers, including tenure. I take their goals as seriously as I take my own goals. Many of my clients have been with me for years. Please see their Testimonials about my work.