What kind of editing do I need?
Your ideal editing service depends on your manuscript's stage, your budget, and your overall goals. For help with high-level story elements, consider developmental editing or a manuscript critique. If you are entirely comfortable with your structure, plot, etc. and are ready to dig into sentence-level edits, you likely need line editing. If your manuscript has been thoroughly edited already and only needs a final pass for residual errors, you're ready for proofreading.
Learn more about Blue Pen services here. Our team will help you determine the best route for your goals.
What is your approach to editing?
The goal of any editing service is to align the words on the page with the author's vision. We work to enhance the unique aspects of each manuscript. Editing is a craft, and Blue Pen editors make thoughtful decisions based on the style and direction of the work. Whether we're providing feedback on the story or making changes at the line level, we always work to balance honest, comprehensive editing with positivity and encouragement.
Learn more about the Blue Pen editorial philosophy.
Should I schedule editing in advance?
Blue Pen is proud to offer exceptional availability. We can typically begin new projects within a month—often much sooner. That said, if you have a date in mind, you are more than welcome book in advance and secure your editing slot. If your manuscript is not yet completed, we will book using your estimated word count.
Am I ready for professional editing?
Could you make it any better yourself? If not, you’re ready for professional editing. Our job is to pick up where you leave off. Professional editing is not a replacement for self-editing. It’s a deeper level of the editing process.
You can of course schedule editing before you get to that point. Just make sure you leave yourself time to self-edit before the scheduled start date.
Will I speak directly with my editor?
The only time authors and editors communicate directly is during the post-developmental phone call. Otherwise, all communication goes through the Book Boss. This ensures that all of our team members stay updated about the project and that your work is coordinated and completed efficiently.
Do you work with my genre?
Blue Pen has worked with genres including romance, horror, western, inspirational, sci-fi, memoir, historical, upmarket, fantasy, crime thriller, adventure, suspense, and many more. Review our editors' specialty areas here.
At Blue Pen, we take pride in delivering specialized editing services that fit each author's work and goals.
How do you set your rates?
Projects are quoted at a per-word rate based on the specific editing service and the condition of the manuscript. Rates are based on industry standards published by the EFA.
What programs do you use?
All edits are made in Microsoft Word using comments and Track Changes. If you have not worked with Track Changes before, this short video introduces the tool. If your work is currently in Scrivener or another program, we can help you convert it to Word.
I'm worried editing will change my voice.
After editing, your manuscript will look different. But every change should improve the manuscript and align with the author's vision. Good editing does not destroy what is special about your work. It not only maintains but highlights your unique narrative voice. Remember, we are always working in the best interest of your manuscript and career.
Tell me about the Blue Pen editorial team.
Our team of talented, skilled professionals includes some of the industry's best editors. Each member of the Blue Pen editorial team has been thoroughly vetted, and their variety of specialties allows us to provide even stronger services for authors.
Blue Pen editors have an average of 10.4 years of experience, and each of our editors is an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association.
Will my work remain private?
Absolutely! Safeguarding your work is a huge priority for us. Only the team members actively working on your manuscript have access to it. Each member of our team signs a confidentiality agreement, so you can be sure your work is never shared outside of our organization.
Which formats do you provide?
Our custom cover design service includes paperback and ebook formats. We also offer hardcover and audiobook formats as add-on services.
The interior layout service includes paperback and ebook formats. Authors can also choose individual formats or add on a hardcover format.
How many revisions does the cover design service include?
Custom cover design includes up to three rounds of revisions. Most of our authors need no more than one revision.
Can you use my photo in the cover design?
If you have a photo you would like incorporated in the cover design, we will do our best to create at least one concept using the photo. Not all photos are suited for covers, however, depending on the resolution and lighting.
Will my designs be compatible with KDP and IngramSpark?
Interior designs are compatible with both self-publishing platforms. If you plan to publish to both platforms, we will create two slightly different versions of your paperback cover for no additional charge.
How many cover concepts do your provide?
The number of cover concepts varies based on the type of design requested, but each author receives at least two initial concepts.
What are your designers' credentials?
Each of our cover designers has a bachelor's degree in design. Our designers have worked with independent authors and traditional publishers, and they are well versed in reader expectations and industry trends.
Does the rate include stock images?
Yes, most of our covers use images from Adobe Stock. The cost of licensing images is included in the cover design rate.
What programs do you use?
Our cover designers use Photoshop, and our interior designers use InDesign.
What file formats will I receive?
For cover designs, we deliver paperback designs in PDF format and ebook designs in JPG format. For interior designs, we deliver paperback designs in PDF format and ebook designs in EPUB format. These formats are ready to upload to KDP and IngramSpark.
Is Blue Pen a publisher?
No, we are not a publisher. We provide services that authors need to publish independently or to prepare to pursue representation or traditional publication.
Authors pay only for the services they need, and our clients retain 100% of their rights and royalties.
Do you provide educational resources?
Our YouTube channel and blog index feature resources for writing, editing, and publishing. Independent authors can review the articles on self-publishing to become confident with the process and to better understand the various types of service providers they may encounter.
How was Blue Pen founded?
Blue Pen was founded by author and editor Victoria Griffin. While working as a freelance book editor, Victoria found that many of her clients needed trustworthy author services, which led her to develop Blue Pen as a comprehensive resource for authors who want to produce high-level work. Learn more about our history here.
What are Blue Pen's values?
Excellence. Integrity. Professionalism. We are part of the writing community we serve, and we are proud to deliver services that benefit that community and help wonderful books reach readers.
We make sure that each edit and design meets the highest standards of quality, and we prioritize each author's experience. Our clients should finish their project with us feeling confident, encouraged, and ready to take on the next chapter of their writing journey.
What does your project agreement say?
The project agreement details payment specifics, including rates and payment schedules. It also protects your rights as an author. It specifies that your work is to remain private and that you retain copyright ownership at all times during and after the process. It also ensures that copyright ownership of any edits are transferred to you.
Which payment methods do you accept?
We accept most payment methods, including bank transfers and credit cards.
When is the fee due?
The fee for each project is divided into two payments: 50% on booking and 50% on completion.
Is Blue Pen a vanity press?
No, we are not a vanity press. While we charge up front for services, we do not claim to be a publisher. We also do not require authors to book packaged services or purchase copies of their books. And we do not take any rights or royalties.
We encourage authors to research and understand the difference between a legitimate service provider, a traditional publisher, and a vanity press (which is a scam). Consult Writer Beware before working with any industry company, including us.
How are team members chosen?
Victoria, the founder and owner, personally selects each Blue Pen team member. Each prospective team member submits samples of their work—designs or sample edits—which Victoria reviews for quality. She also ensures that each team member's work aligns with our values.
If the prospective team member's experience, credentials, and work sample meet our standards, they participate in an interview with Victoria. During the interview, Victoria makes sure the professional is committed to their craft and dedicated to supporting authors and the writing community. She also dives deeper into their experience to ensure they have the talent and background to provide the quality services Blue Pen is known for.
If the individual meets all of these standards, they may be invited to join the Blue Pen team. Victoria continuously monitors work completed for our authors to ensure each team member's work consistently meets Blue Pen standards.
What benefits do Blue Pen offer compared to other service providers?
Blue Pen offers more in-depth resources and specialized services than individual freelancers, while providing a much more personalized experience than large companies.
Our model is based on the author-freelancer experience, providing individual assistance and attention. However, our team is able to offer specialized services based on the author's genre and goals. With Blue Pen, authors can access editing, design, and other services from thoroughly vetted and tested professionals.
What is your cancellation policy?
Clients may cancel at any time. The 50% booking payment is nonrefundable. If more than 50% of the project has been completed, the client is responsible for the percentage of the fee correlating with the percentage of completed work.