The Well-Chosen Word

"Choice words and measured phrase, above the reach
Of ordinary men"
- William Wordsworth

Erin Hartshorn Indexer, Copyeditor, Proofreader, Writer

Sample Copyediting Contract

Frequently, rather than signing a contract, a freelancer will simply send a letter of agreement, which lays out the conditions already discussed between the freelancer and the publisher or author. The following is an example of this type of agreement.

February 29, 2008
Jane S. Doe
Production Editor
Any Publishing Co.
1357 Common Street
Anytown, CA 99999

Dear Ms. Doe :

This letter of agreement outlines my understanding of our contract for The Well-Chosen Word to copyedit Any Generic Book, based on our recent discussion.

  1. This material is confidential. Although I may use an excerpt of this work for marketing purposes, no portion of this book will be published before the entire work has been published by your company. Additionally, a signed agreement from the author will be obtained before using any portion of this work for marketing.
  2. I will receive the page proofs on March 5, and I agree to provide a finished product by March 15, which I will deliver by electronic mail on that date.
  3. I will receive payment of $5 per page for 289 text pages for work done on this book. These pages include all front and back matter as well as the main text, all photographs, and illustrations.
  4. It is my understanding, based on our discussion of the text, that this book should require a light edit (see below). If the text does not appear to be as represented, then I will call you to discuss revising the payment rate immediately upon receiving the manuscript.

Style specifications:

  1. Your specifications are to follow Chicago, 14th edition. The applicable requirements are marked on the attached "Copyediting Style Specification Sheet." Please review these specifications and make any changes you may have on or before March 10, 2000.
  2. A style sheet for the manuscript will be prepared.
  3. Depth of edit: light edit, for spelling, grammar and punctuation; clarity and consistency; bibliographic style; verification of callouts, headings, sequence, and adherence to specs.
  4. Facets of text not copyedited: fact checking, major structure and logic.

Delivery and payment:

  1. Delivery format: The Well-Chosen Word will deliver the copyedited manuscript by electronic mail transfer in Rich Text Format (RTF) on March 15. A double-spaced manuscript will be sent the same day via FedEx. If you have any problems or questions, please call 610-317-2269.
  2. Payment is to be made 30% upon receipt of manuscript, 70% within 15 days of copyedit completion (March 30). If payment is not made within 30 days, a late fee of 1.5% per month or partial month will be added to the bill.


  1. If you should decide not to pursue completion of this project for any reason, The Well-Chosen Word will invoice you for work completed to that date, at the rate outlined above. A minimum payment of 30% of the contract is required in any event.
  2. Late arrival of manuscript to The Well-Chosen Word will result in late delivery of completed index by the same number of days.
  3. Late delivery of completed manuscript to publisher will result in forfeiture of 30% of agreed upon fee by The Well-Chosen Word.

Please call if you have any questions on this letter of agreement. If this arrangement is acceptable to you, please sign below and keep a copy for yourself. This agreement will be considered binding unless notified otherwise, in writing, within five (5) business days.

Erin M. Hartshorn
The Well-Chosen Word

Understood and agreed: _____________________ (Date) ____________________

The Well-Chosen Word
Erin Hartshorn
3349 Green Meadow Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18017

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Last updated: April 18, 2019

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