I have enormous respect for authors and their work. My editorial approach is positive and constructive, but exhaustively thorough: My job is to hold up a mirror to every crevice of your story so that you can get a full, objective view of what’s on the page (versus what blanks you may be filling in, in your head, as the work’s creator), and to help you find ways to strengthen, tighten, and polish so that your finished manuscript is as effective as it can be, and true to your vision.
All edits and consultations work to contract, with firm quotes and payment information agreed upon before work begins. You will work directly and only with me—there’s no “farming out” of your manuscript to other editors, and our contract includes confidentiality of your material. Deadlines are agreed upon prior to working together and spelled out in the contract, so all work is completed when promised. I also build follow-up time into each contract, which authors may use for any questions, clarifications or elaborations, or simply to bounce ideas around.
Full Developmental Edit
This is a comprehensive, wide-ranging, deep-dive edit that considers and evaluates all aspects of the story: plot, character development, structure, stakes, pacing, dialogue, style, voice, etc.—or as one author I work with called it, a “literary root canal.” (But hopefully one you enjoy!) This is a very detailed edit that will not only help you develop, clarify, and fine-tune areas that will make your story as polished and tight as possible, but offer specific reasons for my feedback and clear, actionable suggestions.
Just a few of the exhaustive questions considered are:
- How well does the story work, overall? Does it hold together from beginning to end? Are dramatic tension and conflict sustained throughout? Is the payoff satisfying?
- Is the manuscript structured in a way to give the story maximum impact and flow? Are there “dead zones” in forward momentum? Does the plot compel readers—and the characters?
- Are the characters and their actions believable? Are they three-dimensional and compelling? Are all the story questions answered and resolved, all loose ends tied up? Are there holes in logic, consistency, or sense?
- Are the stakes high enough to keep readers invested? Consistent? Urgent?
You’ll receive two separate documents: your manuscript with suggested changes and embedded comments and queries using Track Changes, and a separate—and very extensive—written editorial letter: the big-picture comments about the overall structure and form of the manuscript. The letter offers an overview of the areas where you might polish, develop, or clarify the story and, in conjunction with the specific embedded notes, serves as a very clear “blueprint” for you in approaching revisions. This type of edit also encompasses moderate line edits for polishing the prose itself.
I offer single- and multiple-pass edits.
- Single-pass rates range from 3.5 to 5.0 cents per word (.035 to .050), depending on the services you request and the amount of work required and agreed upon (exact quote settled before work begins).
- Slightly higher rates can be quoted for up to two subsequent editorial passes of author revisions on a contracted manuscript (determined prior to contracting, in a firm quote).
Similar to the above as far as considering the big-picture elements of the manuscript, but encompassing an editorial letter only. Without the embedded notes this is a less in-depth and granular editorial pass than the full developmental edit, but still a thorough evaluation of a manuscript's overall strengths and possible weaknesses that may be well suited for authors looking to get objective, experienced editorial feedback for revisions, or prior to publication or submission.
Rates: Variable flat rate depending on manuscript length and scope of work; firm quote provided upon sample edit.
A line edit addresses sentence by sentence the author’s style, consistency, tone, echoed words/phrases, awkward or clunky narrative or dialogue, organization, syntax, extraneous words, word choice, etc. Areas that need clarification, tightening, or other improvement are queried in embedded electronic comments for the author to address. This is a more technical edit that focuses on your prose itself. It generally does not include the big-picture story feedback of a full developmental edit, and while it will often address many grammatical and spelling issues, it’s not a full copy edit.
Rates: 2.5 to 3.0 cents/word.
Whether you’re just beginning your first draft from an outline or idea, or editing and revising a finished draft, making sure your story elements are in place and as strong and developed as possible before diving in is a great way to focus your story and streamline your writing/revising.
With finished drafts or WIPs, I will read the first three chapters (up to 50 pages), and a detailed synopsis of your story and/or outline (up to 7 pages). Via phone or Skype for Business, we’ll talk out the story and make sure you’re hitting all the right notes—that your character development is strong and each protagonist's arc is defined and clear; that your story structure is solid and moves the plot forward with all threads pulled together and no loose ends; that stakes and tension are high, and more.
I’ll also read your revised opening pages and/or outline after our consultation and your revisions, and conduct a follow-up call to discuss any remaining areas that might benefit from more development or polish, and make sure you have a game plan for moving forward with the rest of the manuscript. If we’re consulting prior to your beginning to write a first draft, we’ll follow up the initial consultation with another evaluation of your revised outline/synopsis.
At the end of our consultation, you’ll have a crystal-clear road map for how to get the story in your head vividly and compellingly onto the page.
- With opening-chapter read, plus synopsis: $1,200
- With outline/synopsis only: $500
First Chapter(s) Critique
If you’re submitting to agents, making sure your opening chapter(s) are as strong, polished, and impactful as possible can set your manuscript apart from the slush pile. This is similar to the full developmental edit of a complete manuscript, but focused on these crucial opening chapters that can help you grab an agent’s attention and interest and have her asking for more.
Rates: 3.5 to 4.5 cents per word; exact quote offered before work begins.
Most agents require a synopsis with author queries, yet they can be harder to write than the story itself. (What to include? What to leave out? How to make it not sound like the world’s dullest book report?) I’ll help you streamline the synopsis to the crucial story elements, clearly convey those elements—like character arcs, plot development and resolution, tension, and stakes—and bring your unique voice and style to the synopsis so it’s as engaging to agents as the story itself. I can also help you create different versions of the synopsis so you have several for various agents’ length requirements.
Rates vary depending on the scope of work; quote provided in advance.
To help us decide whether I’m a good fit for your manuscript, for developmental edits I offer new clients a sample edit of up to 1,000 words, along with a firm quote. Please send an excerpt from a midpoint of the manuscript (for full-length edits) in industry-standard format (double-space, one-inch margins, Times New Roman or Courier font) to me here.
Working with an Editor
If you aren't sure whether you're ready for a professional edit, or how to find a good editor for you and your manuscript if you are, I created a Google doc here [RAE: please add hyperlink to the word "here" that may be helpful.If you're curious about the editing process and want to have a taste of what it's like before you commit to it, author Marla Miller decided to present a glimpse into our work together in this video of the two of us discussing the process.
Agent Pitch Session Crafting/Coaching
When you finally have the chance to get face-to-face with an agent, you've generally got just a few minutes to "hook" him or her with your story—and with you as a client. In addition to experience in the publishing world, I’ll bring my years of experience as a former actor, journalist, and TV/radio personality to help you craft the perfect blend of story pitch, presentation, and personal connection.
This is an in-depth consultation conducted via Skype and email, as well as phone if necessary. Using a synopsis and some sample pages from your manuscript, we’ll first distill your story into a crystal-clear, compelling “log line” (your “elevator pitch”) to draw an agent immediately in. Then we’ll create the “tell me more”: the elaboration that conveys your story, shows an agent you have all the right story elements in place (strong characters, cohesive plot, high stakes, satisfying arcs, and—crucially—voice), and lets the agent see who you are as a person, an author—and her perfect client.
Rates vary depending on scope of work; quote provided in advance.