“Hi, I’m looking for an editor. I have all of my notes and reference books, I just need help putting it together.”
Hmm, I thought. Sounds like this guy needs more than copyediting. Maybe I can refer him to a book coach. . . .
“I need it Sunday.”
It was Friday afternoon. I’m not sure what this person thought was going to happen, but certainly no one could seriously expect an editor, or really any publishing professional, to create something out of nothing and do so in 48 hours.
This is an extreme example of the sometimes unrealistic expectations writers have of how quickly an editor can work. Still, even reasonable people want to know why copyediting takes three to four weeks, why development takes eight to twelve weeks or longer depending on how complex of a development it is. It’s a fair question. Here are my thoughts.