My first full and proper year of professional tech editing is completed. My first real paid job was in the summer of 2017. But I’ll consider 2018 my first year of tech editing because that’s when the website was created (here’s the first ever blog post) and when I started seriously self promoting as a tech editor. Huge shout out to Kirsten Holloway for setting up the first WordPress site. I’d never have gotten this far without her.
Due to the Olympics and the Chloe Kim hat phenomenon (click to order yours now), I made and sold enough hats to upgrade from a free site to my SiteGround hosted website. If you’d like to also take that leap, they were exceptionally helpful when I upgraded, it was a seamless transfer and I encourage you to use my affiliate link here to join us in the professional blogging world. By the way, there will be more affiliate links in the rest of this post.
Now that it is 2019, I have run several analyses on the data compiled from 2018. I’d like to share some of it with you. Keep in mind, I have advanced science degrees and I absolutely love data entry and data analysis. I’m pretty upset with myself that a lot of my Excel statistical knowledge has been lost (I totally blame baby brain melt for that). However, I have some basic stats.
Total number of patterns edited: 78
Total number of clients: 26
Now let’s get into some of the nitty gritty. I wanted to evaluate my average editing time per type of pattern. If tables and charts make your eyes glaze over, just skip past these.
- 28 Accessory Patterns average 33 minutes per edit
- 4 Amigurumi Patterns average 33 minutes per edit
- 3 Blanket Patterns average 50 minutes per edit
- 22 Garment Patterns average 93 minutes per edit
- 5 Mandala Patterns average 82 minutes per edit
What does this mean? Well, the result of this analysis is part of the reason why I increased my Bulk Tech Edit price to $35/hour. My average time to edit an accessory pattern (hat, scarf, cowl, applique, sock, mitten, shawl, tote bag, handbag, etc.) was 33 minutes. But, out of 28 patterns, only 13 of them took the average time or longer. Less than half the accessories I edited took longer than 30 minutes. Of the ones that took less than 30 minutes, the average time spent was actually closer to 15 minutes. For those patterns that took longer than 30 minutes to edit, the average time is 50 minutes. Bottom line, half the accessories take about 15 minutes, half of them take closer to 1 hour.
Why such a wide range of time? I attribute much of it to the learning curve of my clients. As they receive corrections and edits, they are improving their writing skills. Therefore, subsequent patterns have fewer mistakes and take less time to edit. Am I still thorough? Yes, absolutely. Is Tech Editing still necessary for those writers? Yes, everyone who writes needs an editor. I go over the reasons for using a tech editor in this blog post. Basically, it is very hard to see your own mistakes. In all 78 of the patterns that I have received, there is only 1 that didn’t require a single notation.
I repeat, out of all of the 78 patterns that I edited last year, there was only one pattern that had zero mistakes and required zero editorial comments from me. That was from a designer who has sent me several patterns and that was the only one that was 100% error free (so far).
What does this mean for designers?
If you write accessories, you can be saving some serious money by buying the Bulk Tech Edit time. Even at the rate of $35/hour, accessory writers are still saving money based on the learning curve and decreasing amount of time needed per pattern. My most efficient writers have patterns edited in 20 minutes or less.
Basic Math: 3 patterns submitted for editing one at a time = 3 x $25 = $75; OR 3 patterns each edited in 20 minutes (or less) = 60 minutes. That same writer could purchase one hour of bulk tech edit time for $35 and save $40.How Bulk Tech Edit works
So why the price increase? You may be asking, “if you want to be paid $25/ hour and the pattern takes less time, so what? You’re still getting $25/hour.” Well, with most tech edit jobs (and I would assume most hourly paid consulting jobs), there is a minimum rate per job. If I imposed that on my designers when I return a pattern in under 30 minutes, I’d feel like a shmuck. But that’s the standard. Theoretically, I should be making $75 for those three 20 min patterns. Therefore, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to ask for a little more from highly qualified designers who are still saving a great deal of money.
AMIGURUMI & BLANKETS: I don’t think there’s enough of a data set to completely take these averages and apply them universally. Most of my Amigurumi were from one designer and she is superb! The blankets were each the first pattern from a designer so I think those numbers are a bit high.
WHAT IF YOU DESIGN GARMENTS or MANDALAS? Your best option will be to stick with the $25/ hour rate.
All in all, and being completely open and honest, here are the numbers: Ravelry pattern sales $46, Etsy $1,499.25, Craft Fairs & DGY Pattern Sale $1,205.53, Tech Edit Jobs $2,746.95. Total Income: $5,497.73
That might look like a lot (or not, compared to some bloggers), but frankly, most of it went right back into the job (travel to CGOA, web hosting & other membership fees, Square/Ravelry/Paypal/Craft Fair fees, Texas Sales Tax, Supplies and materials, Postage, Educational classes, Advertising. I don’t even want to think what is going to happen at Federal Tax time.
Then, yes, there was an amount that went to it’s original intended source, our family. In various ways, the remaining true profit didn’t completely go toward more yarn and Furls hooks (at least not all of it). I was able to help our family is real and substantial ways. For that, I am exceptionally grateful to all of you!
So, what’s the plan for 2019? Well, for one, I’m going to get a better grasp on where each and every penny is going to go. I’m planning and saving upfront for tithing, taxes, and family savings. We are in dire need of a new vehicle. My oldest has to fold his neck in the most awkward way getting in and out of our mini-van. We have a variety of other expenses for the family that need restoring. There are also several business expenses that could dramatically improve my functionality (new computer, Adobe Illustrator, continuing education classes).
This isn’t just a spare time, earn some spending cash, kind of job. I truly hope that I am putting my God given talents to good use for my family. What a joy that these talents are in a field that I also love dearly, PLUS there is added value to both you and your customers. Together we are spreading more and more beauty and joy around the world.
This business is called Fiat Fiber Arts in honor and recognition of the fiat that Mary gave to God when the Angel Gabriel announced to her that she would be the mother of God the Son. Fiat means “be it done,” as in “let it be done to me according to your Word.” Mary was allowing God to work through and in her. Likewise, I hope that I am allowing God to work through these talents and passions which he has given me to the benefit of all. You receive the confidence of a flawless pattern. Your customers read a flawless pattern and are able to make a gorgeous item. They’re happy. They return to you. You earn more money. The gorgeous item usually goes to someone else in need (a loved one or charity) or enjoyed by the maker. It’s a big happy circle all around yarn.
I’m still in my contemplative phase for developing specific goals for 2019. I would absolutely love to see both my clientele and my income from tech edit jobs double. That would be a fabulous start. I hope to also develop some digital products (either courses or books) that can help designers to learn and grow into more efficient writers.
Any BIG BIG goals? Like giant, lasso the moon type goals? Oh, I don’t know…getting on some yarny podcasts would be awesome. Becoming tech editor for a professional book publisher, magazine, or yarn company would be fun (at least I hope it would).
Let’s Go, 2019!