Sometime last week, a publishing company not a million miles from Wordsmith Towers got in touch to offer me some on-site copy-editing work. I'm not averse to working on-site - it can make a welcome change from being home-based, with the opportunity to meet new people and make new contacts.
And so it was that yesterday I got suited and booted and headed into the darkest depths of south Manchester to go and shake hands and talk terms. The job was straightforward enough in terms of what was required and all the work was on-screen (I gave up working on paper proofs 20 years ago). So far, so good.
Inevitably, the discussion turned to money. I was completely gobsmacked to be told the budget was £10 to £15 per hour - for this, they want a skilled and experienced copy-editor who can correct, rewrite, re-order material, fact-check, flag up queries, deal with authors and all the rest. (Plus I was facing an hour's commute each way, by two buses.)
I pointed out, as politely as possible but through somewhat gritted teeth, that the suggested minimum rate my professional body, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, recommends for such work is £26 per hour. My own minimum rate is even higher, and that doesn't include rewriting and re-ordering. His face was a picture when I told him how much I charge.
Somehow, I don't think I'll be accepting the work if it's offered to me, although I doubt it will be. I'm simply too expensive, dahlinks. Besides, it looks as though I've enough work right until at least July (and yes, the holiday has been postponed, but I will take one soon).