I work with you to determine which editorial services you’ll need based on the quality of your writing, your target audience, your goals, and your budget. Here’s what I have to offer:
- The Comprehensive Edit
There are various types of editing, and most manuscripts require some combination of these types, so much of the time I’m doing what I like to call the comprehensive edit. However, I’m flexible. If all you can afford is a light copy edit, then that’s what I’ll do (and sometimes that’s all that’s needed anyway). The comprehensive edit comprises the following types of editing:
Copy editing is editing for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other aspects of style that must be kept consistent. Style in this context means things like whether a certain word is always capitalized, or whether numbers are written as numerals or as words. I make decisions about these aspects of style by referring to the appropriate editors’ style guides, and I adhere rigorously to these decisions throughout the manuscript. Copy editing also includes keeping facts internally consistent.
Stylistic editing focuses on smoothing the language to improve clarity and to remove unwanted elements such as redundancy, wordiness, awkwardness, ambiguity, and incomprehensible jargon. My aim is to artfully create cleaner, clearer, more elegant sentences that say precisely what you mean them to say.
Structural (Substantive) Editing
The types of detailed line editing described above are vital, but you can’t afford to lose the forest for the trees, which is where structural (or substantive) editing comes in. It concerns the big picture. I consider how the content of your manuscript is organized and suggest structural improvements where needed.
- The Manuscript Evaluation
A manuscript evaluation before any actual editing occurs is highly recommended. You may opt for one if you’ve had very little feedback about your work from knowledgeable people (writing instructors, other writers, or simply people whose opinion you trust), if you don’t feel ready to commit to a comprehensive edit, or if you’re simply asking yourself, “Seriously now, is my book really any good?”
With the goal of helping you make your writing the best it can be, I’ll deliver a report that offers you practical, no-nonsense advice (as well as praise for what you’re doing well). Primarily, I’ll address the broad issues. In a work of fiction, for example, I’ll look at plot structure, character development, and dialogue, among other things. From the evaluation you’ll learn how to improve your manuscript, and you’ll receive an easy-to-follow plan for going forward.
I’ll proofread your manuscript after it has been formatted for printing. Proofreading is the last opportunity to catch niggling little errors on PDFs or proofs before your work goes to press. I always advise that you never skimp on it, as it can save you a lot of embarrassment down the road when those niggling little errors get noticed.
- Author Services
If you’re submitting a book to an agent or publisher, you’ll need a query letter at a bare minimum, and sometimes a synopsis/chapter summary as well. If you’re a self-publishing author, you’ll require a compelling back-cover blurb and biography. Perhaps you’ve already taken a stab at writing some of these materials but would like some assistance. If so, I can give them anything from a gentle polish to a major rewrite. And if you want me to write them from scratch, I’m more than happy to help. Just ask for my support with these extras.