Editing & Coaching

Editing is where the magic happens. During the editing process you’ll discover what you really want to be saying, and how to say it most effectively and cohesively. The structure falls into place, new ideas emerge, and mundane words become exquisite phrases. A skilled editor takes you to a level of writing you never imagined you could achieve.

It is, in a way, like watching an old Polaroid develop into an immersive, multi-sensory experience.

Editing is not a quick fix. The revision process takes a long time, a willingness to look at your blind spots, and a great deal of trust. That’s why it’s essential to find an editor who is a good fit for you.

There are many levels of editing, from big picture to tiny details. I specialize in developmental and substantive editing, the most creative and strategic levels of editing. 

Start Here: Free Consultation

Writing isn’t a one-size-fits all endeavor. Each person and project has unique needs that can be best served in different ways. I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation to discuss your project—where you are, what challenges you’re facing, your goals, budget and schedule. I’ll point you towards the next steps you can take.

All prices listed are USD.

Canadian residents, please contact me for rates.

Manuscript Evaluation

You’ve taken your manuscript as far as you can, and now you’re not sure what it needs. Does the structure support the story you’re telling? What are your natural writing strengths, and where could you use different techniques to make it stronger? What should you amp up or add (or conversely, delete or tone down)? 

Partial

For up to 5000 words (20 consecutive pages)

  • 2-3 pages of feedback
  • 30 minute phone call to discuss the manuscript and your next steps
  • Email access for a week following our call

Cost: $300 USD

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Full

For up to 60,000 words (240 pages)

  • 7-10 pages of feedback
  • 60 minute phone call to discuss the manuscript and your next steps
  • Email access for a month following our call

Cost: $1500 USD  ($250 for each additional 10,000 words)

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“I hired Sarah to give me objective feedback on a manuscript that was trying to be too many things—a self-help book, a family memoir and a personal memoir. I had gotten emotionally stuck with it and couldn’t find my way forward. I was also trying to cover a huge time period by jumping around chronologically, like the TV show, This Is Us.
During my free consultation with Sarah, I knew she was the person for me. She’s intuitive, knowledgeable, funny, whip-smart, thoughtful and genuine. Her evaluation was the same way. She sinks deep into your material until she finds what she’s looking for, and has a natural ability, then, to see what the material is trying to be.

My husband was skeptical about the cost. But after reading Sarah’s evaluation, he said, “Wow. I now see why she charges what she does.” What you get for your money is comprehensive, beautifully wrought and presented, and professionally invoiced. Her knowledge of authors and the business of the writing world is extensive, and the quotes, references, articles and links she has at her fingertips are a rich resource for any writer. I learned a lot, am still gleaning from her notes, and I’m so grateful for the pure joy it was to work with her. Sarah is a genuine manuscript whisperer. It’s a gift she has. Do not hesitate to work with her!”

Alisa Bair

Author, Grief is a Dancer

“I hired Sarah Chauncey to do a full manuscript evaluation on a large project I have spent the last six years on. I was too close to see it objectively, and I was really struggling to understand what sections were working, what weren’t, if the structure was sound, and whether the book might be of interest to the audience I was seeking.
I had spent six months trying to find someone who could help me with this, asking friends and colleagues, looking at workshops, and searching the internet. I knew I needed a professional but wasn’t sure even then if I’d get the feedback I was looking for. Then I found an essay in my in-box that Sarah had written. It was in a newsletter I get from another editor. Sarah’s words really spoke to me, so I went to her site, reached out and had an initial conversation to see if we would be a good match for each other.

The feedback I received from Sarah — the editorial letter, the markup, and our follow-up phone call — has been invaluable. It’s exactly what I needed. She delivered just what I asked for — what works, what doesn’t, and great points about the potential audience. But beyond that, she was able to see my idea through a fresh lens and she provided ideas for how I could move forward, what my book could be, and how I could get there. Sarah also provided some insight into my writing that I’d never seen before. She saw qualities of my writing that I’d never noticed and am now eager to focus on.

I would highly recommend Sarah for your writing project. She put her heart into my book and went above and beyond to give me the feedback I needed.”

Karen Scholl

Author, Playing by the Rules

Paid Consultation (60 minutes)

 

You’ve already had a free consultation, or maybe a manuscript evaluation. Now, you’d like to bounce some ideas, or have me review new pages. Or you’re stuck on one specific issue, or on a particular scene or chapter. You’ll receive a 60-minute consultation, and you can submit up to one chapter for discussion (please note, this does not include edits or written feedback). The initial consultation for new clients is $275 (USD); subsequent consultations, or consultations for existing clients, are $150.

One-on-one Coaching

Editing focuses on making the manuscript better. With one-on-one coaching, the manuscript shines and you hone your voice, discover your strengths, and become a timeless storyteller.

Writing is not a standardized process. Although there are universal skills and techniques, no two stories are alike because no two people are alike. Whether you want to write a memoir about a specific period in your life, bring a groundbreaking concept to life with evocative storytelling, or learn how to use your writing time more effectively, coaching is about you and your goals.

Hiring a nonfiction writing coach is like having a personal trainer for your writing. I can see your strengths, and I can see which muscles would benefit from attention. By strengthening those muscles, you strengthen your overall body (of work). Sometimes I can even see emotional or cognitive patterns that give rise to particular issues, and once you learn to see them, the issues resolve.

A little bit of feedback goes a long way. In just a few pages, I can identify issues and patterns that will transform your writing. Every time you learn a new way of approaching a scene, or release an old pattern, you’re learning something that will serve you for as long as you write.

I’m a cheerleader and champion for my clients, and I work with a very limited number at a time, in order to give each one my deepest attention. Clients who have worked with me for at least three months receive a 20% discount on editing packages.

Coaching is for you if any of the following are true:

  • You have a project you’ve been working on but can’t seem to make progress
  • You have an idea for a book but aren’t sure where to begin
  • There’s a specific area of your writing you’d like to strengthen
  • You want to maximize creative flow while minimizing screen time
  • You seek an accountability partner to help keep you on track towards your goals

And if you thrive on:

  • Personalized attention and support
  • Direct and comprehensive feedback
  • Learning by doing
  • Working independently, rather than in a group
  • Going at your own pace

Basic Package

  What you’ll receive each month:

  • One 60-minute phone or Skype call to discuss breakthroughs, challenges and next steps
  • A follow-up email that includes reading suggestions, assignments and encouragement
  • A comprehensive edit of up to 2500 words (10 consecutive pages) per month
  • Five emails per months to answer questions

Cost: $450 USD per month 

Six-month package: $2400 (save $50/month)

Intensive Package

What you’ll receive each month:

  • Two 60-minute phone or Skype calls to discuss breakthroughs, challenges and next steps
  • A comprehensive edit of up to 5,000 words (20 consecutive pages) per month
  • Weekly emails to provide encouragement and support, along with reading recommendations, writing exercises, or ideas to strengthen your writing process
  • 10 emails per month to answer questions

Cost: $790 USD per month

Six-month package: $4,200 (save $90/month)

 

“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

Author, A Thousand Deaths for Love

 Developmental Editing

You have a draft, yet you’re not sure what it needs to become a polished manuscript. In a developmental edit, I’ll help you find which story you’re telling, and guide you towards telling it in the most compelling way. Do your chapters and scenes flow intuitively? Are they structured well? Are there any breaks in continuity, or anything in the narrative that works against your story? If you have multiple narratives or time periods, how effectively are they braided? Are there opportunities to go deeper, to show rather than tell, or to incorporate 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? I’ll also look at voice, tone, pacing, syntax and other verbal microexpressions.

I work with only one developmental editing client at a time. My approach with developmental editing goes deeper than the surface rules of structure and storytelling. My process includes both logic (the rules) and intuition (the issues that show up beneath the words). I dive deep into what’s working, and what’s holding you back. I give you the toolkit—and a tailored writing handbook—to get where you want to go.

What I’ll Do: Review your manuscript thoroughly (at least three thorough reads), make extensive notes, provide a written feedback document (anywhere from 10-40 pages) with questions for you to consider. I’ll also provide Markup comments throughout your manuscript, to illustrate my observations and recommendations. I’ll meet with you to answer your questions about my feedback, and you’ll have unlimited email access to me for one month following the edit. If you’d like to continue working with me, you’ll receive a 20% discount off my coaching packages.

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 month of unlimited email access to clarify any aspect of my feedback; a clear direction for your manuscript, along with guidance for how to make it happen; my unwavering support.

This is for you if any of the following are true:

  • You have a completed nonfiction manuscript draft 
  • You want to give your writing the best chance possible
  • You aren’t sure which story you’re telling
  • You’re not sure how to improve your storytelling
  • You want deeper-than-usual editing and an editor’s focused attention
  • You seek thorough and honest feedback

Cost: 8 cents per word (this works out to $20 USD per 250-word page, or just under $5,000 USD for a 60,000 word manuscript)

If you’re interested in developmental editing, please click here to book a free 30-minute consultation

My gift book for cat lovers, P.S. I Love You More Than Tuna, is now available for pre-order!Learn more
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