You have a book draft. You’ve revised it yourself. Maybe a few friends or family members have read it. You aren’t yet ready for the fine-grained sandpaper. First, you want to know if it “works.” For a manuscript evaluation (or manuscript critique), I will read your manuscript with a critical eye, from the perspective of an experienced and careful reader, and provide you with a big-picture view of the book. I offer detailed feedback on the things you have done well and provide you with clear guidance about where and how you can improve those areas that aren’t as strong. In a manuscript evaluation, I touch on points such as plot, pacing, point of view/head-hopping, character, dialogue, imagery/description, transitions, and genre-specific aspects where appropriate (for instance, is your science plausible in a sci-fi manuscript, or does your romance lack a happily-ever-after?). Most of the feedback will be in an accompanying report, generally 10–15 pages, with a fair number of comments directly in the manuscript to point out specific examples. The idea here is to give you, the writer, the tools you need to improve your own manuscript.
line (or stylistic) editing
Line editing is a great tool for authors and writers who have some experience writing or whose manuscripts have already received a professional developmental edit. Or a publisher might have suggested that you are close but need a stronger organizational structure or sentence-level review of the text. If you feel like you’ve got the basics down, your manuscript might be ready for line editing. This stage of editing addresses lapses in tense or voice, improves pacing and dialogue, and corrects many of the usual errors that you don’t have time to think about when you’re creating fascinating characters, world-building a unique fantasy setting, or even telling your own life story. Line editing might include rearranging small amounts of text as well, to improve flow and organization. The most apparent difference between a manuscript evaluation and a line edit is that here, I will be working directly on your manuscript, suggesting changes and making corrections to the text rather than discussing them in a separate report.
Copyediting (sometimes “copy editing”) is a catch-all term for many writers, but when you work with me, it describes the correction of grammatical and spelling errors, problems with syntax (the arrangement of phrases and sentences) and punctuation, minor lapses of voice and tense, and other mechanical problems. Copyediting won’t fix a book with plot issues or flawed characterization, but if you’ve already had help with the big picture (whether mine or that of another experienced editor) and now you want a clean, correct manuscript without distracting typos, poor word choices, and misplaced commas, this is the right service for you.
Proofreading is a very different service than the other three I offer, primarily because it refers to marking up a manuscript that has already been edited and formatted. Unlike editing, proofreading addresses what the reader will see, not just what they will read. When I proofread your book, it will likely be in a PDF file rather than a Word document, and mine won’t be the first editorial eyes on it. Proofreading provides a final check against typos, missing spaces, and faulty formatting. Did you intend for text messages between characters to be centered and bold? Do all of the chapter titles match the table of contents and the headers? Are there any awkward word breaks at the end of a line? This step is usually the last one before publishing a book, and it is an invaluable way to catch errors that have slipped through copyediting or have been introduced during earlier revisions. I can mark up your PDF with either traditional proofreader’s marks or the built-in annotations that Adobe provides, and I’m happy to coach authors about how to work with these tools so nothing is overlooked.
fiction (especially historical, women’s, Christian, literary), memoir, academic and trade nonfiction (especially history, religion, literature, philosophy, gender studies, Italian culture)
Prices for editorial services notoriously range from very low to very high. The amount you can expect to pay will depend on a number of factors: the experience and education of your editor, the starting point and particular needs of your manuscript, and how soon you would like the work to be completed. Quality editing and proofreading are not cheap (see this blog post for an accurate and detailed explanation of the costs of editing), but they bring a noticeable value to your work. Poor or absent editing is often one of the primary complaints of readers’ reviews, and since the barrier to entry for traditional publishing is high, a manuscript that has been assisted by a skilled editor can give you the best chance of getting seen. I am committed to providing reasonable, fair rates and to pricing each project appropriately after an evaluation of the manuscript. I can also tailor my services to your budget if you indicate what you are willing to spend on editorial work.
When we agree on the services to be provided, I will outline all of the details in a simple agreement/contract. I require a nonrefundable deposit of 50% of the total estimated cost before work can begin. This reserves time for your manuscript on my schedule. If you must delay the project for any reason, every effort will be made to reschedule, though my calendar is often booked months in advance. All remaining fees are due immediately upon return of the work. I confer with clients by email for the most part. Phone conversations must be scheduled in advance and may incur additional fees.