Help your manuscript reach its fullest potential.
Editing is a complex, multifaceted process. There are many types of editors, and (ironically) there’s no universal language to describe each stage. In general, editing goes from macro to micro; the macro stages (developmental, substantive/structural) are more creative, complex and time-consuming, while the micro (copy editing and proofreading) are more technical and straightforward. I focus on the creative side of editing, including making sure the structure is the best one to serve your manuscript, and that you’re using the most resonant storytelling techniques possible.
With editing, you can learn how to…
- Discover the perfect unfolding for your writing
- Find the ideal structure to serve your readers
- Use dialogue, characterization and scenes to bring your writing to life
- Create an experience for your readers
- Know when (& how) to show and when to tell
- Resonate deeply by bringing yourself into the story
- Learn how to pace the reader
- Use language that resonates with your readers
- Discover how to help your readers along their own Hero’s Journey
- Use sidebars, boxes and exercises to boost engagement
- Keep your the flow of narrative strong
- Clearly organize complex or nonlinear information
- Make sure your verbal microexpressions align with your message
You have a manuscript, but you’d like some feedback on it before you revise, submit or self-publish. Does the structure work? Are you focused on the right story, or is there more effective way to tell it? Is the manuscript telling the story that wants to be told? Are there discrepancies between the story you believe you’re telling and what’s coming across on the page? What are your natural writing strengths, and where might you want to improve? What should you amp up or add (or conversely, delete or tone down)? Are there recurring writing issues? How can you play to your strengths? I’ll answer all these and more.
How I do this: I’ll read through your manuscript (at least twice) and look at where the text is vs. where it wants to be. I’ll make note of technical writing issues, storylines that want to emerge, questions the reader might have, character development, storytelling techniques, sections where the text off on tangents, and more. I’ll also look at the relationship you’ve developed with your target reader and offer suggestions on how you might strengthen it.
What you’ll receive: A lengthy written assessment of the manuscript’s strengths and opportunities, both structural (storytelling) and technical (writing); one round of answers to any follow-up questions you have.
Cost: $500 for the first 100 pages; $3 per page thereafter (a page = 250 words)
Time frame: 2-4 weeks, depending on ms length
I hired Sarah to do a developmental edit on my 270-page memoir/manuscript, then substantive editing on two 5,000-word chapters. Looking at her website and reading her blog, I was quite impressed with her knowledge but more importantly felt a deep resonance with her. Her own life experiences also sold me. I wanted that wisdom to help me say what I needed to say in some difficult areas of my manuscript.
I chose Sarah out of 14 editors. However, it took me a while to commit to her because of her costs. Her prices were similar to editors with resumes of famous accomplishments, and I wondered why not take those track records instead. In the end, I had to listen to my gut (which was screaming so loud I could barely hear anything else anyway). It was her kind, patient and generous guidance that convinced me of her commitment and belief in my project that sealed the deal.
Sarah’s first edit hit me hard in a few ways that I never expected. It actually scared me. She challenged me to grow not only as a writer but as a person. That in turn made my writing all the more sincere and authentic, finding a deeper voice for the story. Her combination of humility and professionalism instantly sealed a trusting relationship which, to me, handing over my life to someone on paper, was extremely important. Her honesty and easygoing nature made her approachable for sometimes difficult territory to tread and she was very accessible by phone, email and Skype.
I gained access to not only a wealth of years of knowledge, love of the craft of writing and a high calibre mentor; I got access to a human being who has walked a very long road and does not walk ahead of you. She makes room for people to walk alongside her in awe of the mystery called life.Greg Dandeneau
You’ve finished a full manuscript—congratulations! That’s farther than most people ever get. I’ll go through and make sure the structure is the best one to support your narrative. Do your chapters and scenes flow intuitively? Are they structured well? Are there any breaks in continuity, or anything in the narrative that would take the reader out of the story? How are your characters presented, and what journeys do they take? Are there opportunities to go deeper, to show rather than tell, or to engage your reader more deeply? Where might you benefit from incorporating more dialogue and characterization? What might need to be added, cut, toned down or amped up? What issues—writing or subconscious—might be holding you back? Is the manuscript telling the story it really wants to be telling? I’ll also look at voice, tone, pacing, syntax and other verbal microexpressions, to make sure you’re creating the strongest possible relationship with your reader.
My rate is expensive because I go deeper than most editors (that style isn’t for everyone, I understand). I work on one substantive editing project at a time, and it gets my full attention and energy during the entire time I’m working with it. I get inside the manuscript and discover what it wants to be, then I give you all the insights I can to help you realize that vision. Clients have called me “intuitive” and a “seer” because I’ve noticed patterns they didn’t realize were evident on the page. To me, patterns are clear—but it takes time and presence to uncover what they are.
What I’ll Do: Review your manuscript thoroughly (at least three thorough reads), make extensive notes, provide a written feedback document (anywhere from 7-40 pages) with questions for you to consider. One client referred to this as a writing manual tailored to his specific issues. I’ll also provide hundreds of Markup comments to illustrate my observations and recommendations. I’ll meet with you to answer your questions about my feedback, and I’ll answer one round of questions about my feedback within a month following delivery of the edit.
What you’ll receive: Detailed feedback, both in an Editorial Feedback document and through extensive Markup; a follow-up call or meeting to discuss my feedback; one round of questions to clarify any aspect of my feedback (via email); a clear direction for your manuscript, along with guidance for how to make it happen; my unwavering support.
Cost: Up to 10,000 words: 20¢ per word; over 10,000 words: 10¢ per word (USD)
Time frame: 4-8 weeks, depending on length
Manuscript Chiro (conventionally known as “book doctoring”)
Getting your thoughts and ideas onto the page is a huge first step—congratulations! Taking it from rough draft to polished product, though, takes time, expertise and a balance of inspiration and elbow grease. Perhaps you don’t have the time, the training and/or the inclination to do the work of getting your project to the finish line. This service is a combination of structural editing, stylistic (line) editing and ghostwriting. Instead of simply recommending changes, I implement the changes myself, rewriting and polishing. Sometimes (rarely) I rewrite the manuscript wholesale. Of course, I don’t do this in a vacuum. It’s an ongoing collaboration: We’ll have calls, and I’ll send you drafts to review and incorporate your feedback; you’ll have a front row seat as your manuscript evolves into a burnished beacon of transformation.
What I’ll do: Review the existing draft as outlined in Manuscript Review, and then rewrite sentences, chapters or entire sections as necessary; consult with you regularly about the direction and changes; conduct additional research as necessary to bring the manuscript to its full potential (this might include relevant trends, recent research, etc.); recommend ways to break up the text in a way that’s engaging (for example, callout boxes, exercises or sidebars); deliver a revised draft and make up to two rounds of reasonable revisions on that draft.
What You’ll Receive: A manuscript that’s ready to submit or self-publish, along with insights that will strengthen your writing going forward. Also, encouragement. Lots of encouragement, and probably some laughter.
Cost: Depends on manuscript length. I’ll provide you with a detailed project quote after reading the existing manuscript.
Time frame: Also depends on ms length. A stand-alone chapter for a book may take only a month, while an 80,000-word book that needs substantial revisions could take up to nine months.