Editorial Services for Manuscript Revision and Polishing
I’m trained to analyze, revise, and polish all aspects of your story, from the big picture perspective to the scene and sentence level. My aim is to improve your story and give you the tools to make every story better.
Tell me about your editorial services?
Editing makes your manuscript the best it can be by revising content, fixing errors, and ensuring that the story matches publishing standards and your storytelling intention. Revision is a crucial part of the writing process, yet it can be a daunting and confusing task for many writers. This is where professional editing comes in.
An idea evolves in several stages before becoming a book. The initial stages select, develop, and shape the idea, plot, characters, and structure: they deal with content. After settling on the content, the following stages in book development address language: refining word choice and polishing sentences.
The many terms given to editorial services may be confusing but become more apparent after considering their purpose and focus: content or language. Overlap exists, but if you know where your manuscript is along its publishing lifecycle, it becomes easier to choose the right type of editing.
I offer several forms of content and language editing on completed manuscripts to fit your needs before the agent query or book design phase. My editorial services:
Professional Beta Reading
Professional beta reading by an editor is a significant step beyond that of your friends, family, and writing group. Editors are trained in writing craft and story structure and understand when a story is and is not working. Beta reading can be helpful in the early drafting phase when you’re just figuring out your story’s content, characters, and structure. This type of editing gives feedback—typically one to two pages— but does not provide or recommend changes. Price: 0.5 cents per word.
Professional beta reading is for you if:
- You want reader-level feedback from a professional editor
- You’ve received confusing feedback from other beta readers
- You aren’t sure if you’ve nailed your intended genre
- You want to gauge if some sections are overwriting or underwritten
- You want to know how certain sections or plot directions impact reader engagement
Professional beta reading delivers:
- Reader-level impressions addressing genre conventions
- Notes highlighting areas that grab or lose reader attention or that may be confusing or unbelievable
- A summary report: one to two pages
Manuscript evaluations give feedback about the story’s overall strengths and weaknesses. The report—typically three to ten pages—addresses character development, plot, structure, dialogue, narrative flow, and the ending. A significant step up from a beta reading, a manuscript evaluation identifies where your story is and isn’t working and suggests an editorial direction, such as a developmental edit, line editing, or copyediting. Manuscript evaluations do not provide in-text comments and do not correct or revise your writing. Price: 1 cent per word.
Manuscript evaluation is for you if:
- You want feedback on plot, structure, POV, and pacing
- You’ve received confusing feedback and are uncertain about what to revise
- You aren’t sure if you’ve nailed your intended genre
- You want insight into how and why some sections are not working
- You want to know if your manuscript is ready for developmental, line or copyediting.
Manuscript evaluation delivers:
- Editor-level impressions and recommendations by a professional familiar with all elements of story design
- Notes highlighting areas of repetition, confusion, waning attention, or disbelief
- Notes identifying common writing craft problems and suggested improvements
- A three to ten-page editorial summary report with suggested next steps
Developmental editing is also called content, substantive, or structural editing. This is the most in-depth of the content edits and focuses on the overall story looking for pacing, a cohesive structure, and consistent characters—a unified execution of all story elements. The developmental editor may suggest deletion, relocation, or embellishment of some story sections to achieve a more effective and compelling overall story. Price: 2.5 cents per word.
Developmental editing is for you if:
- You want an in-depth editorial analysis of the overall story
- You wrote a fast draft and know the overall story needs some work
- This manuscript is the first book you’ve ever written
- Readers noted multiple sections of slow pacing and confusion
- You want to ensure your manuscript adheres to genre conventions
- You want to solve problems with plot holes, character development, confusing dialogue, and pacing.
- You’ve received submission rejections and want professional input to guide your next steps.
Developmental editing delivers:
- Manuscript mark-up with insightful in-line notes pinpointing areas of concern
- Extensive editor comments and queries
- A detailed story map of all the manuscript’s scenes
- A comprehensive editorial report, typically ten to twenty pages in length
Line editing, also known as heavy copyediting or stylistic editing, revises the manuscript’s paragraphs and sentences so they are well-written, clear, and flow smoothly into the next. Line editors address awkward sentences, point-of-view errors, repetitive words, inconsistent verb tenses, and confusing narrative logic. Line editors strive to maintain the author’s voice and the tone and mood of the story and, therefore, may query the writer often either inside the manuscript via comments or outside via email or other communication. Line edits are very detailed and usually require several passes through the document. Some writers like to package copyediting with line editing to add correction of mechanical errors (see below.) The editing letter is usually two to five pages long. Price: 2.5 cents per word.
Line editing is for you if:
- The manuscript’s structure and plot are set
- You’ve reconciled the developmental or story editor recommendations
- You plan on traditional publishing, and you’re nearly ready to query editors
- English is not your first language, and you want to make sure sentence logic works
- You’re self-publishing
Line editing services provide:
- A copy of your manuscript marked up in MS Word format with corrections, comments, and queries
- A clean copy of your manuscript with all corrections accepted for demonstration
- A comprehensive editorial report, typically ten to twenty pages in length
Copyediting polishes a revised manuscript at the word and sentence level. Unlike line editing, copyediting focuses on correcting errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, called mechanical errors, and ensures the style adheres to publishing industry standards laid out in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) or other style guides on request. Copyeditors can also fact-check content to ensure that the information is accurate and consistent.
If you are self-publishing, copyediting is the last step before book design. Writers pursuing traditional publishing often arrange a final polish with copyediting before submitting to an agent. Correcting these errors can elevate your writing presentation to professional quality.
Most copyeditors produce a two to five-page feedback letter and a style sheet indicating their editing choices. The writer may use this to create or add to their Story Bible. Price: 2 cents per word.
Copyediting is for you if:
- Your completed draft has no further structural or major sentence level changes
- You want a final edit to find and correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and style
- You want to make sure your line edit reconciliation introduced no additional errors
- You’re ready to start querying agents
- You’re self-publishing and ready to send the manuscript to a book formatter
- You want to add an extra level of polish to a short story evaluation to prep for submission
Our copyediting services provide:
- A manuscript copy marked up with corrections, comments, and queries
- A clean copy of your manuscript with all corrections accepted for demonstration.
- A style sheet showing all editing choices
- An editorial summary letter, typically two to five pages in length
(customized pricing on request):
- The Content package: Manuscript Evaluation + Developmental Edit.
- The Polisher package: Line Edit + Copyedit
- The Self-publishing Premium package: Developmental Edit + Line Edit + Copyediting
Fictionary Story Edit
A story edit using Fictionary Story Edit software is a specialized developmental edit with unique visual evaluation and revision tools. For details, go to Fictionary.co. Price: 2.8 cents per word.
A Fictionary Story Edit is for you if:
- You’ve completed a draft and are ready for in-depth revisions
- You want a developmental edit that’s easy to understand and visualize
- You want visual feedback in the form of charts, graphs, and diagrams.
- You want a high-level focus on scene elements
- You want an editing product designed to help you level up your independent writing and revision skills
- You want to produce a full, customizable and filterable global story map
Short-length story evaluations.
I perform evaluations on short stories, novelettes, and novellas. This service combines a beta read and a manuscript evaluation to give reader-level feedback and professional-level direction. Price: 1 cent per word
A short story evaluation is for you if:
- You want feedback on your completed short-length story from a professional editor
- You’re not sure where to start your revisions
- Your submissions have been rejected, and you want some insight as to why
- You want simple short story structure tools to improve your story
- You’ve revised your story significantly to fit a new market and want feedback.
Authenticity reading is also known as sensitivity reading. Modern authors increasingly turn to readers with specific life and professional experience to gauge authentic representation. A professional authenticity reader can address cultural inaccuracies, representation issues, bias, stereotypes, or problematic language. My areas of experience include BIPOC, LGBTQ+, exploited youth issues, medical technology, chronic illness, physical disability, and health care professionals. Price: 0.5 cents per word.
An authenticity read is for you if:
- Your story contains characters with life experiences far different from yours
- You’ve received negative feedback about potential unintended bias
- You want feedback about accurately representing characters who identify as BIPOC or LGBTQ+.
- You want to ensure you accurately represent medical terminology and procedures, especially pediatrics, Neonatal ICU, delivery room, public health, and infectious diseases.
- You want to know if you’ve fairly and correctly represented some characters with chronic illnesses, physical disabilities, and mental health conditions.
Editorial Services Process
Step 1 - Your Initial Consultation
We’ll have a free 30-minute call where you will have my undivided attention. Tell me about your story. Ask me anything about editing and book coaching services. This is your opportunity to tell me about your plans and dreams for this story and to decide which editing services are best for you. If necessary, we can arrange a sample edit.
Step 2 - Welcome Aboard!
Welcome aboard! You’ve settled on an editorial service or package. You’ll complete a detailed questionnaire. For content edits, I need to know more about the story’s overall concept, previous reviews, and publishing goals. For language edits, we'll discuss your desired level of editing, intended audience, and publishing platform. You’re given access to your personal Author Portal and Google Drive folder and asked to upload your manuscript (.doc or .docx format), blurb, synopsis, story bible, and related notes.
Step 3 - Manuscript processing
I read the entire manuscript and use Microsoft Word’s track changes and comments to mark any changes, notes, and queries. I'll start to fill out your story map for developmental edits and Fictionary story edits and style sheet for copy edits. You may receive queries mid-project that will require your response before I can proceed. If you’ve purchased any add-ons (such as authenticity reading report or Scrivener set-up) or packages, I’ll continue with those.
Step 4 - Deliverables Distribution
I will prepare your final documents. All editing projects include an editorial report; the length varies with the project's complexity. Developmental edits story maps are in Excel spreadsheet format. Fictionary story maps, character lists, and 38 story element visuals are set up in the Fictionary software’s platform. Copyedits include a style sheet in MS Word format.
Step 5 - Final Meeting
We meet to discuss the edits and your next steps. All documents and meeting recordings will remain in your Author Portal and Google Drive. I am available to answer any questions. Your project is now back in your hands and ready for your further attention. The process should energize and excite you because your manuscript is one step closer to publication.
your questions answered
Frequently Asked Questions:
01. What is the difference between a manuscript evaluation and a Story Grid diagnostic?
Both are manuscript evaluations, but the SG Diagnostic adds tools from the Story Grid methodology, including genre analysis, an Editor’s Six Core Questions analysis, and a Spreadsheet of your first five scenes.
02. How do I decide between book coaching and content editing?
Both shape and revise big picture issues, but the major differences are in the status of draft completion and in who is doing the work. With book coaching, the manuscript needn’t be complete, and the writer is the one adding words to the story. With content (and language) edits, the manuscript draft is complete, and the editor makes comments or suggests changes.
03. What do you need from me before we get started?
You’ll need a completed draft. I’ll ask you to complete a story-related questionnaire and share your story blurb, synopsis, notes, outline, or character lists. This will help me determine how well the story you drafted aligns with your plans. It also gives me a sense of your authorial style and the character’s manner of speech.
04. What’s the difference between line editing and copyediting?
These two language editing services address sentence-level writing with different focuses. Line editing is more about revising for impact, pacing, and clarity. Copyediting corrects the mechanics of sentence-level writing: punctuation, spelling, etc. There is some overlap such that many writers, especially self-publishers like to combine the two.
05. What about proofreading?
Proofreading and copyediting are often confused but are pretty different. Copyediting is done on a revised manuscript draft either on paper or in word processor document format. Proofreading is performed on pages designed into book format as the last step before becoming a physical book or ebook. I do not offer proofreading services.
06. What is Fictionary?
Fictionary is a web-based story editing software created by a writer/editor to help writers and professional editors perform developmental edits. The process goes like this: I import the manuscript into the software scene-by-scene, analyze each scene for 38 story elements involving plot, character, and setting, reconcile the character list, and add notes and in-line comments. Once complete, the software AI generates charts, graphs, and tables, offering an array of perspectives from which to view your story. With a graph of plot points, character tracking, and a detailed, filterable story map, the view of your overall story becomes clear from multiple angles. The writer receives .docx file manuscript copies, an editorial letter summarizing the global and scene-by-scene issues, and access to their own initial Fictionary account. The writer views the analysis and can begin their revisions in Fictionary or review and continue revisions in the mode of their choosing. For more information, go to https://fictionary.co/.
07. How do I know if your services are right for me?
Take a look at my menu of services and suggested readiness. Choosing an editor for your book is a deeply personal endeavor. One that requires trust. I aim to earn your trust by treating your words, your goals, and you with respect and objectivity. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your project and get your questions answered.