Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

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  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone! I have a treat for your today. Freelance editor Maya Rock is here with a guest post on what to look for your freelance editor contract. Maya has been a freelance editor running Rock Editorial Services for six years and was formerly a literary agent at Writers House. Before we get to her guest post, I have some follower news to share.


Bish Denham has a new book that releases, THE BOWL AND THE STONE. Here's a blurb: Sam
and her best friend, Nick, with imaginations as big as the world, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality as carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings. And here are a few links:

Twitter: @BishDenham
 Available now at:

Now here's Maya!


Hiring a freelance editor is a step many take before pursuing an agent, publisher, and sometimes even while in the midst of fulfilling a book contract. If you’ve decided to hire a freelance editor, here are some terms to nail down before you begin working together. Getting these terms straight will ensure that your work together proceeds smoothly. Please note that many freelance editors do not use formal agreements but are still legally bound by what they put in writing over email.

1.   RATE: Before you move forward with hiring a freelance editor, you should know how much the entire project is going to cost. Once you know the rate, you might want to determine whether this rate is in line with what others in the field are offering and, of course, make sure it fits into your own budget.

2.   PAYMENT: How does the freelance editor want to get paid?  PayPal, check, and credit card are all possible options.  What’s the payout? Half up-front, half on-delivery? Sixty percent up-front, forty percent on-delivery? All on-delivery? All on-agreement? Does the freelance editor have a certain timeframe that they want to be paid in? For example, I give authors seven days to send the payment after delivery.

3.   DELIVERABLES: It’s important to have clarity on what the deliverables—what the freelance editor will be returning to you—are.  If you’ve signed up for an editorial letter, you should know the approximate length of the letter and have a good idea what topics are being addressed. If you’re getting a line edit, you might want to ask how many comments you should expect on each page. A good way to get an idea of what you’ll receive is by getting a sample edit before committing to working with the editor on a full project

4.   FORMAT: Make sure that you know what format the freelance editor wants to receive your material in.  As a Word file? A single attachment?  Do they have guidelines for how the file is formatted? It’s traditional in the publishing industry to have double-spacing, one-inch margins, and pagination, and it’s likely your editor will want your manuscript formatted like this, too--but it won’t hurt to make sure.

5.   DUE DATE: When is the editor going to get back to you? Not all freelance editors give precise due dates. If your editor doesn’t give a due date, will he or she tell you what month or week they’ll come back to you by? Without a clear timeline, you run the risk of having the project drag on. Granted in traditional book publishing, hard and fast deadlines are not that common, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case in freelance editing.

6.   FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS: Does your freelance editor have a policy for handling follow-up questions? Can you speak on the phone, or will the freelance editor only answer emailed questions? If the phone, for how long? If your freelance editor does email follow-ups, how long can the emails be? How long will he or she accept follow-up questions for? After all, if you come back two months after the freelance editor has read your manuscript, he or she might have forgotten too much to be effective.

GIVEAWAY:  I’m giving away a twenty-minute over the phone query letter critique!

LINKS: Here’s where you can find out more information about my services—www.maya-rock.com/book-editing-services

Maya is generously offering a 20 minute over the phone query letter critique. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through November 5th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Just let me know in the comments if you do not need a query critique too.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is an international giveaway.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have debut author Jill Diamond and her agent Jennifer Rolfe here with a guest post and giveaway of Jill's MG mystery LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY.

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Monika Shroeder and a giveaway of her MG contemporary BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD.

The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Jenny Moyer and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FLASHFALL.

Tuesday that week I'll be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop.

Hope to see you on Monday!


Karen Lange said...

Congrats to Bish! Wishing her well with her books.

It's nice to meet Maya. Thanks so much for these great tips.

Natalie, thanks for hosting this week. Always appreciate the info shared here. I'll pass on the giveaway this time around. Enjoy your week! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats to Bish! It's a really cute story.

Those are all things I considered before taking on a new editor for DLP. Another key consideration is how well can you work with that person.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Many congrats to Bish.

As for the editing, you want to make sure they know what they're doing too.

Bish Denham said...

Thanks for the shout out, Natalie. As the moment, I don't need a query critique.

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Bish! And those are excellent things to know before dealing with a freelancer.

Kristin Lenz said...

Great tips from Maya - thanks! Also love her name - same as my daughter. ;) Please save the query critique for someone else who needs it right now. And congrats to Bish on your book release!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good tips. I've not needed to pay someone, but it helps to know some of those things even with critique partners.

Julie Walters said...

Thank you for these points to work through when choosing a freelance editor. It has always felt to scary, like I don't know the right questions to ask, but now I do. Thank you for sharing this information and your time. I would do a back flip for the query critique! :-)

cleemckenzie said...

Very nice to see Bish here today! She's done a wonderful job of getting word out about her book.

Thanks for the tips about hiring a freelance editor. They're very helpful.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

I've never hired a freelance editor but if I ever decide to go that route, these tips will be great to have. And I'd love a query critique. Thanks for the opportunity.

Jenni said...

I did use a freelance editor for my first book. It was invaluable, especially the mentoring that came with it. I'd love a query critique. Thanks for the giveaway and the great tips!

Julie Abe said...

Thank you for the tips. A query critique would be neat!

S.P. Bowers said...

Great tips for finding an editor to work with. I never would have thought of number three and I could see it being a surprise.

abnormalalien said...

Wow, such useful information. I'll admit, I hadn't even thought about most of these yet but that's why I follow these blogs. You guys inform me even when I'm just poking around! Thanks for the excellent post/advice.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Thanks for the information Maya. Having an editor is really important. Not entering for the phone query.

Niki Moss said...

What a fun book cover!
Thank you for the informative post, as well as the exciting giveaway.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips about choosing a freelance editor. I recently participated in a WD webinar with Victoria Marini and she mentioned Maya Rock (as an example of a great freelance editor to work with!)

Unknown said...

Good info -- and thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

Megan Cason said...

Perfect inspiration for today! Thank you again!

Unknown said...

I'd love a chance to win the 20 minute session. Thanks for the opportunity.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great questions to ask before moving forward with an editor. And congrats again to Bish!

Rosi said...

Good tips for working with an editor. I wish I had seen this post a couple years ago! Thanks for the chance at the query consult. Nice!

Unknown said...

Love these "before you..." posts. Thanks!

Crystal Collier said...

Yay for Bish!

Having worked with a few editors, I was nodding my head along with pretty much everything. Awesome advice.

Brenda said...

Loving the cover and setting of The Bowl and Stone, timely with its creepiness too. No need to enter me in the giveaway Natalie.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Excellent tips, Bish! Since I've done a tiny amount of freelance editing and I've had one bit of professional editing done, I think one of the most important topics beyond payment is the formatting of the editing - google docs, word comments, or?

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congratulations to Bish.

This post is very timely for me as I have been thinking of getting a free lance editor for my books before I submit to agents in the future.

DMS said...

So excited to see Bish here! Yay! Wishing her all the best. :)

Awesome advice for terms we need when working with a freelance editor. Thanks so much!

Unknown said...

Bish's book looks so cute -- if you think scary and creepy are cute and I DO! Wishing her much success. Thanks to Maya for the tips. :)

Bill Radford said...

Would love a query critique!

Phaea C. said...

Awesome tips. Crossing my fingers for the query critique too! I'll mention this on my twitter, too.

Raina Xin said...

Great post, and thanks for the giveaway!

Cynthia said...

Congratulations to Bish on her new book! That is indeed scary if someone disappears in front of you like that!

Penelope Sanchez said...

The Bowl and the Stone is much more than a haunting tale from the Virgin Islands. It is a great ghost story , set in an exotic locale with plenty of Caribbean soul, AND it also is a story of the meaning of friendship. The relationships between the main characters, Sam, Nick and Trumps, are the heart of the story and provide real depth and great life lessons. I really enjoyed the book and hope to hear about more adventures Of Sam and her friends on the enchanted island of St. John.

Kevin Elwood