Thank you for considering me as your editing partner. My goal is to help you make your book the best it can be. As a freelance article and book author, I know the pain of a red-inked manuscript coming back from an editor. I promise I’ll be kind.
I have experience editing a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books by first-time authors as well as experienced writers. Non-fiction topic categories I’m comfortable working with include science, biology, family history, organizational history, history, biography, business, art, craft, jewelry, and environment. Fiction genres include suspense, mystery, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance, young adult, science fiction, and women’s fiction. If it’s not on this list, please enquire. I’ll be happy to tell you if it’s something I feel confident working with or not, though frankly, I read a lot on a wide range of topics and subjects.
Topics I’m not comfortable editing include: erotica, memoir, spirituality, religion, computer/tech, politics, plays, screenplays, and academic works. This isn’t meant as judgement. I just don’t tend to read in these areas so am less familiar with the needs of these categories. I choose not to work with manuscripts that include graphically violent scenes, such as torture, rape or even consensual violent sex.
Different Levels of Editing
There are different types of editing. When looking for editorial help, be sure you understand just what the editor is offering.
I offer substantive or content editing (sometimes called line editing) and copyediting.
Substantive editing, also called content or line editing, is done at the in-between stage when you think your first draft might need more work, but you have gotten too close to it to see it clearly any more. A substantive, content or line editor offers notes on:
- Character development, plot, dialogue, pacing
- Writing style and voice—character voice, author’s storytelling voice
- Writing issues such as awkward phrasing, noun/verb agreement, unnecessary repetition, telling vs showing, use of the passive voice, and inconsistencies
- Your strengths, so you can play into those strengths as you revise
Copy editing is a fine-toothed-comb final edit for spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation and use of numbers. A copy editor also looks for inconsistencies in descriptions or names (so Jane does not become John).
Though I will mark suggested changes, you will be responsible for making the final changes in your document. Please be advised that revision of any kind risks introducing new errors into the manuscript. It is expected that you will have one or two proofreaders go over the final version before publication.
English is a slippery, ever-changing beast. There are a number of highly regarded references available which may have slightly different opinions on punctuation or grammar. When copy editing, I’ve found two clear, easy-to-use references that I turn to, both by Karen Elizabeth Gordon: The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, and The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. If it’s not in these, I turn to the venerable Chicago Manual of Style.
I do not offer developmental editing or proofreading.
Developmental editing or book doctoring takes place in the book’s conceptual stage when you have an idea, outline, rough draft or perhaps a number of chapters. A developmental editor helps you hone your book’s concept or story; organize your plot or non-fiction structure; develop your characters, conflicts, and points of view; or find your book’s theme or purpose.
Proofreading is the final stage where fresh eyes look the whole manuscript over to see that no errors have slipped in during the final editing process.
Beta reading can be helpful to experienced writers who just want a quick second opinion on their first clean draft before they go into revisions. As a beta reader, I’ll read your story as a reader would looking for:
- confusing sections
- awkward dialogue
- pacing that is too slow or too fast
- inconsistent characters
This comes with a one-page summary on what’s working and what’s not.
Although I may mark typos or grammar errors that jump out, a beta read is not a substitute for either a substantive edit or a copy edit. It’s expected that the author will do a fairly in-depth revision after this.
- Substantive editing: $0.04 cents per word ($1600 for a 40,000 word ms) Minimum $100 charge.
- Light copy editing: $2.50 per submitted page (A few changes per page. For experienced authors producing polished mss.) Minimum $25 charge.
- Heavy copy editing: $0.02 cents per word (This is for more complex works, or less polished works, where there may be one or more suggested changes almost every line.) Minimum $35 charge
- Beta reading: $1.75 per MS page (based on a double-spaced page with an average of 250 words per page, 12 point type, Arial or Times New Roman)
I require a down payment of 30% of the fee, paid by PayPal, before I begin work. The remainder is due, via PayPal, upon completion.
When you submit your work, I request the following:
- The work’s title
- Its genre or topic category (mystery, romance, YA, history, biology)
- A synopsis (for fiction) or a table of contents (for non-fiction)
- The audience (age, gender, general audience or specific readership)
- What type of work you want—substantive or copy editing, or beta reading
- Any particular concerns you have (Authors often have a sense of what might be problematic in a manuscript—dialogue, pacing, voice. Let me know if there is anything in particular you want me to pay attention to.)
- A double-spaced manuscript, 12-point type, either Arial or Times New Roman
- Manuscript in Microsoft Word, with track changes turned on
- A down payment of 30% of the fee, paid by PayPal, before I begin work
- A signed work agreement
Allow two weeks from time of submission until the work is returned to you. If, due to the length of the manuscript, I need more time, I’ll tell you when we contract the work. We’ll work together to determine a submission date that fits your deadline.
If this is our first project together, I suggest a trial so you can see how I work. Submit the first five pages of your work, double spaced, and I’ll edit it by whichever method you choose (substantive or copy), and return it to you. I’ll also let you know if I think you might be better served by a different kind of edit from what you’ve requested. For a beta read, I’ll give you a paragraph about any hiccups I see in the first ten pages. There is no charge for the trial.
I will keep your edited manuscript for eight weeks so that if you have questions as you go through your revisions and corrections, I’ll be able to answer them. For your peace of mind, however, after eight weeks, the manuscript will be deleted from my hard drive and my back up. I will keep the one-page beta read summaries and the substantive editing summaries on file.
Thank you again for considering me as your editing partner. I look forward to working with you.