FAQ for Free Editing Program

Free Editing Program FAQs

Note: The Free Editing Program will be closed until further notice. But never fear! We’ll be back shortly with a revamped, super-exciting system, so stay tuned for updates.

Outlined below are the basic questions we typically receive from people new to our Free Editing Program. Information on the ranking system can be found here.

How does the Free Editing Program work?

The TBL Free Editing Program is available to all of our members who reach the Rank of Reader. (read more below). After this rank is reached, you can submit your work through our submission manager. Once we receive your work, an editor will be assigned to you help you improve your work, providing professional notes on your submission.

Note: Due to a high volume of submissions and a limited staff, we accept a MAXIMUM of:

5,000 words per short story or piece of creative nonfiction
1,000 words per flash fiction
5 pages of poetry

Why do I have to reach the Rank of Reader first?

We love offering free edits to our members, but working with authors takes a good deal time, energy, and funding. Requiring members to contribute to our community before they submit helps us ensure that we are helping dedicated authors who are passionate about their craft.

How long does it take to hear back on my work?

We get back to all of our writers within 2-4 weeks of their submitting.

If I submit my work, what kind of notes can I expect?

Your assigned editor will give your work a very thorough reading with an eye for developing it for publication. They’ll help you identify any issues that are holding your work back and give a constructive critique of what they think will help your work the most.

Let’s say I’ve received edits and applied them to a second draft. Now what happens?

Send that new draft to your editor! If you’ve perfected your story or poem, your editor is likely to pitch it for publication. And if your new draft shows promise—but still needs work—we will keep working with your piece. As long as your editor feels that good progress is being made, he or she will invite you to continue sending new drafts of your work.

How many submissions can I submit for edits?

We work with one submission at a time per writer. After you’ve finished working with your editor on one piece, feel free to send another.

What changes after I reach the Rank of Author?

First off, give yourself a stellar high five. If you’ve reached the Rank of Author, you’ve got one of your submissions published with TBL (either online or in print), and you’ve earned some serious street cred with our editorial team. At this point, you can choose a Senior Editor that you’d like to be assigned (instead of being assigned to the first available editor). Working with this editor, you’ll receive priority edits on all works submitted to the Free Editing Program.

What changes after I reach the Rank of Wordsmith?

Here’s where stuff gets intense. If you’ve reached the Rank of Wordsmith, you’ve proven that you have the talent, work ethic, and determination to take the next step. Your Senior Editor will now help you with works not submitted to TBL. After discussing your career goals with your editor, he or she will help you perfect submissions to other journals and contests, prepare sample chapters for novels and collections, and even construct query letters for literary agents.

And what do we charge for this? Yes, you’ve guessed it. Nothing.

TBL should be just one step on the way to literary greatness, and we want to help you go all the way!

How in the world does TBL afford to give all this professional editing away for FREE?

TBL is able to run this stellar program because of people just like you. Amazing men and women from around the world contribute (mostly in little $20 increments), keeping this crazy dream alive. We’ve also had several authors take what they learned from our editors, and apply those skills to very successful writing careers. They’ve been generous enough to give back to the program (thanks guys), helping new writers master their crafts.