Developmental Editing: Sample Letter of Agreement

By John Bergez

Tipsheet from the November 19, 2002 forum:
Developmental Editing: The Work, the Market, and You


February 13, 2002

Steven [Name]

Dear Steve:

The following is a letter of agreement for developmental editing services on the project [title]. In this letter, "you" refers to Steven [Name] and "I" to John Bergez.

Description of work:

Phase 1: I will read the draft of the manuscript and provide you with initial feedback and suggestions, orally and in writing, for improving the book's structure and effectiveness. This phase of the work includes consultation with you on organizational issues and some sample editing to demonstrate the proposed direction of the editorial work. This phase will not exceed 10 hours, including consultation time, unless you approve additional time in advance.

Phase 2: After the completion of Phase 1, you and I will evaluate the level of work for the remainder of the project. I will be available to read some or all of the manuscript as it is written and to continue to offer detailed suggestions and/or editing as appropriate. I will provide you with an estimated number of hours by letter or email for additional work beyond Phase 1, including consultation time, and I will not exceed the number of hours you authorize for additional work without prior approval from you. The total work on the project will not exceed 100 hours without your prior approval.

Schedule: I will complete the work covered by this agreement on a mutually agreed-upon schedule. Phase 1 is to be completed by March 1, 2002.

Rate, estimated fee, and payment: The rate for this work is $XX per hour. I will send you an invoice at the completion of Phase 1. Thereafter I will send you an itemized invoice once per month until completion of the project or whenever this agreement is terminated. For each billing, you agree to pay the amount due within 30 days of receiving the invoice.

Expenses: I will absorb routine expenses such as travel, paper, telephone calls, and mailing that are necessary to the completion of the work. I reserve the right to bill you for extraordinary expenses such as lengthy telephone calls or express mailing/shipping charges incurred at your request.

Rights in the work: Any materials or manuscript that you provide, and any work product that results from this agreement, are your property and will not be used in any way except as you authorize in writing.

Termination of this agreement: Either you or I can terminate this agreement for any reason at any time. If you terminate this agreement, you agree to pay for all hours of work completed up to the notice of termination as itemized on the invoice I provide. I will furnish you with as much work product as I have completed. If I terminate this agreement, you will be responsible for paying only for the fair value of the work product you have received from me up to the time of termination, regardless of any additional hours I may have spent on the project.

If you agree with the terms spelled out in this letter, please sign and date two copies. Return one copy to me, and retain one copy for your files.

Thank you for the opportunity to work on this project!


John Bergez

I agree to the terms of this letter.

_______________________________ (Signature)

_______________ (Date)

Copyright 2004, John Bergez.



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