Whether you plan to submit to an agent or publisher or self-publish, you want your manuscript to have the competitive edge over the thousands of others in the submission stacks.
Writing, editing, and revising are equal partners in producing the best possible version of a manuscript. Solid editing strengthens the credibility of your work and heightens your opportunities, but given the hundreds of variables in the selection, a reputable editorial service does not guarantee success with a publisher or sales of self-published material. The majority of editing categories are the same for fiction and non-fiction. Those unique to nonfiction (NF) are tagged below.
Submissions Requirements: I accept hard copy and electronic submissions. All work must be formatted in Microsoft Word®, Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced with first line indent of 0.3, and 1-inch margins. Manuscripts submitted in other fonts/formats will be rejected.
Hard-copy Submissions: Single or double-sided pages are accepted. Editorial Notes are hand written on the manuscript and summarized in a written report. Clients are responsible for the payment of all postage costs to and from my office.
Electronic Submissions – Manuscripts may be sent as an e-mail attachment or on a thumb drive. Electronic submissions are edited with Microsoft Word® Track Changes unless other arrangements are made prior to initiating work. All changes or suggestions within the document are marked in color for easy recognition. Track Changes allows clients to accept or reject any suggestions more easily in the revision process. Unsolicited submissions are not opened.
Process: The general process to accept work for editing and writing includes:
1. A telephone consultation to ascertain expectations and explain editing and writing options. A submission of no less than the first 50 pages of lengthy manuscripts may be requested to fully determine the type and extent of work needed. A one time fee of $20 and all mailing costs to and from my office are required.
2. A second telephone consultation gives feedback on my findings after a review of the pages submitted. If I accept the work, the client receives a price quote based on the type and complexity of the work needed. If the client agrees to fees and submission requirements, I give an estimated completion date. For manuscripts of 75,000 pages or more, a signed agreement (statement of work) is required. This includes the terms for both the author and the editor.
3. If manuscripts are not accepted, or if the author chooses not to move forward with the project, I return all materials or shred them at the author’s request.
4. On completion of the full edit, the author receives a detailed written analysis of the work, including strengths and weaknesses with suggestions for improvement, using industry standards for written fiction and nonfiction work.
Fees: The cost of editing depends on many factors—the length of the manuscript and the amount of work required to bring it to industry standards. Fees are based on those standards, calculating the number of pages edited in an hour. Fees range from $20.00 – $60.00 an hour based on the complexity and length of the work. We will work with your cost constraints and budget when negotiating and will develop a reasonable payment schedule with you.
For manuscripts over 50 pages or 75,000 words or a fee of $100, 50% of the fee is due at the start of the project with the balance due at completion. In special circumstances, I may accept an upfront percentage of the fee and monthly payments for the rest. All payments to be made in check or cash or via pay pal.
Please complete the contact form with basic information and I will get back to you.
Substantive (or Structural) Editing: Intensive evaluation of sections, chapters, or the full manuscript looking at organization, tone, consistency, pacing, clarity, and closure. The standards for substantive editing use The Chicago Manual of Style and the manuscript genre’s conventions as benchmarks for the evaluation.
Substantive editing of a manuscript is a detailed, systematic edit. It includes a discussion of the feedback from any beta readers. I make notes throughout the manuscript, using the track changes tool in MS Word or pencil if working on a hard copy. I provide a detailed written report with the results of the evaluation and recommendations for needed changes. The substantive edit is an intensive look at the material. Our substantive editing process begins with a close read of the material, and by the time the edit is completed, it’s read no less than twice and usually three times.
Copious, detailed suggestions are incorporated into a typed summary document that typically ranges from 5-15 pages, depending on the manuscript length and findings. The notes include detailed instructions for revisions on a page-by-page basis, as well as preliminary comments about the major issues. On the electronic manuscript edits, detailed notes on those specific sentences to which I refer in my notes are included so the author can see exactly where the edits need to be made. Unless prior agreement is made to include ghostwriting the revisions needed (an extra fee), it is the writer’s decision and responsibility to incorporate the suggested edits into the manuscript.
The Substantive Editing Process
Incorporates all aspects of Heavy Copyediting (see below), unless otherwise requested
Checks appropriateness of material for target market
Suggests reformatting to communicate the message
Recommends rewrites and restructured text to fit the format and genre
Recommends moving paragraphs and sentences to improve pacing and information flow
Identifies inconsistent voice
Evaluates transitions from chapter to chapter, section to section, and closure of subplots
Examines understandable focus, development, organization, clarity, visual elements, consistent structure
Identifies gaps in content, inconsistencies in style
Deletes outdated content or content that does not achieve the desired focus or tone
Makes recommendations for style and general content of illustrations and diagrams (NF)
Checks for clear, concise, comprehensible wording without run-on sentences or fragments
Checks references for accuracy of links, etc. and ease in finding (NF)
Conveys authority and professionalism (NF)
Alters, if agreed in advance, content to meet the recommendations of publisher
Fractional edits are edits of a specific section of a manuscript, i.e. Chapters 1 – 5, for a specific writing art such as the opening hook for fiction or statement of purpose for non-fiction, or a complete manuscript look at chapter transitions. Fees are based on section length and the topic requested.
Copyediting is a separate step—one of those that you may consider hiring editor to produce after a Substantive Edit. It is a cleanup edit to prepare for submission with queries or publication. It focuses on line-edits, consistency or correctness of spelling and usage, checks cross-references, or enforces parallelism in running text. Each level of copyediting adds specificity to the edit.
Light Copyediting (baseline editing): Content has met the substantive requirements for characterization, point of view consistency, setting development, plot organization, sub-plot resolution, tension, pacing, transitions from scene to scene and chapter to chapter, and so forth. Now your manuscript needs attention and correction for basic English punctuation, grammar, spelling, and tense, as well as typographical errors. This is light copyediting in a nutshell:
Corrects faulty spelling, grammar such as split infinitives and punctuation
Corrects typos, misnumbering, mislabeling
Corrects word usage (such as imminent for eminent)
Checks cross-referenced materials for accuracy (for example, “As Table 10-4 shows…”)
Checks for proper sequencing (such as alphabetical order) in lists
Flagging inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization
Uses the track changes or other tools to typemark the manuscript
Medium Copyediting: Includes all tasks for light copyediting in addition to more complex tasks, which is one reason to consider a second pair of eyes on the document (i.e. second editor)
Recommends text changes and heading revisions to achieve parallel structure
Flags inappropriate figures of speech, subject-verb disagreement
Ensures key terms are handled consistently
Ensures vocabulary lists and the index meet criteria specified by the publisher
Ensures previews, summaries, and end-of-chapter questions accurately reflect content
Tracks the continuity of plot, setting, and character traits, querying the discrepancies
Recommends changes as needed from passive voice to active voice
Flags ambiguous or incorrect statements
Heavy Copyediting: Includes all tasks for light and medium copyediting. A bare step below Substantive Editing.
Eliminates wordiness, triteness, cliches, and inappropriate jargon.
Smooths transitions and move sentences to improve readability
Assigns new levels to headings to achieve logical structure (NF)
Suggests additions and deletions, noting them at the sentence and paragraph level to improve the plot, pacing, transitions, character development, and settings
Ensures consistency in style, voice, and point of view
The key differences between heavy and medium copyediting are the levels of judgment and rewriting involved. In a heavy copyedit, the editor improves the flow of text and not simply ensures correct usage and grammar; suggests recasts and not simply flagging problems, and may enforce a uniform level, tone, and focus as specified by the publisher.
Copyediting – Digital Media: Same as heavy copyediting plus: Length, formatting, keyword density, and SEO appropriateness
Proofreading – Basic: Similar to basic copyediting but with a lighter touch. Final check of grammar, punctuation, and typos before printing.
Checks copy for conformity to type specifications, ensures attractive typography by checking margins, word spacing, repetitive word breaks, etc.
Proofreading – Heavy: Document almost ready to print, needs organizational and structural work.
Includes basic proofreading, subject and verb agreement, cross references within the body of the manuscript, crosschecking text to tables, format consistency (numbering, headings, lettering, etc.), and rearranging paragraphs as needed.
Proofreading Galleys: Ensures manuscript adheres to required style, marks typeset copy word for word against a printed manuscript, identifies deviations for correction, and queries editorial errors.
Unless requested, I do not change incorrect punctuation, add punctuation to delineate a restrictive clause – unless the change is needed to prevent confusion, change secondary spellings, existing footnotes, or end note systems.
Developmental Coaching – Study the overall idea and formatting of a new document or book outline.
Includes frequent phone calls, emails, and/or meetings to discuss plotting, character development, etc. Written reports summarizing our planning sessions with recommendations and scheduling of work are maintained.
Ghostwriting 1 – Information in the form of notes is available – plot outline, character profiles, etc. from the client – and needs organization. This includes items under developmental coaching. Editor writes a percentage of the manuscript as agreed prior to initiating work.
Ghostwriting 2 – Extensive time in phone discussions and meetings, review of a developmental idea from the client, drafting outlines, collecting research materials as needed, and full document is written by the editor with submission to the client for discussion and development in entirety.
Non-fiction – Client provides background information, facts, names, locations, and all relevant information to create the materials. Frequent phone consultation is required to accurately reflect the tone of voice, structure, intent, and content. Additional research requires an extra fee.
Fiction – Client provides an outline of the manuscript and other background information, list of character names and settings, plot intention, and all relevant information to create a manuscript. Frequent phone consultation is required to accurately reflect tone and point of view, structure, intent, and other standard fiction requirements.
Digital Media – Assist client to develop monthly themes, article topics, formatting, calls-to-action. Develops annual calendar for blog posts, newsletters, and e-mail blasts as appropriate.
Client provides background information, facts, names, locations, images (jpeg), and all relevant information to create posts and client lists. Writes copy for static information on websites and blogs, such as About, Bios, etc.
Blog & Website posts, articles, tab content
Using pre-designed templates and creating templates, I format newsletters, pamphlets, flyers, manuals (including table of contents).
Handwritten manuscripts are transcribed verbatim.
Still not sure exactly what you need, complete the form below and I’ll return your email.