Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of editing do you do exactly?

I am a developmental editor. Unlike copy editors-who take a manuscript that has already been developed and subject it to a much more technical process focusing on elements such as spelling, grammar, punctuation and formal style-developmental editors are more concerned with the big picture. We look at many elements including voice, setting, narrative structure, and pace to see how it all comes together. Like a doctor diagnosing a patient, developmental editors need to figure out how to help a manuscript reach its full potential, while keeping the author’s own voice and vision intact.

Why do I need a freelance editor?

While it is always a good idea to share your writing with writing groups and other unbiased readers, there is tremendous value in getting a professional and objective opinion from someone with real industry experience. Agents and editors don’t always have the time to take on a manuscript with big problems. Therefore, many of my clients come to me before they start submitting their work to agents. Other clients have already submitted manuscripts and received nicely worded but vague rejections in return or plan to independently publish and want to present the best work they possibly can. I can help you pinpoint where there may be problems as well as offer suggestions to improve and polish your work.

There’s no guarantee working with me will get you traditionally published-that’s something no freelance editor can guarantee-but I can help you produce a much more commercial manuscript. Plus, the techniques that you learn from working with me will stay with you over your entire writing career.

What kind of material do you work on?

My specialty is crime fiction, but I have experience working on a wide range of commercial fiction. Please feel free to email me a short synopsis of your project and I’ll let you know if I can help.

How long is this going to take?

It usually takes me about one month to get back to an author with an editorial letter, although that depends on how many projects I have in my queue. I will always do my best to fit in a rush project so please email me and I’ll let you know what I can do for you.

How much is this going to cost?

My fee is based on a sliding scale, depending on word count and extent of help needed. I read your entire manuscript, send you an overall email with my thoughts, and mark the manuscript up with specific notes. You can essentially use all of this as a map to revise from. I am available for a couple of phone calls to discuss and brainstorm as you revise from my letter. If you want me to edit future drafts of your manuscript, that would require additional negotiation. I will also read your query letter for that project and work with you as you pursue publication, either traditionally or independently. Please email me for further discussion and specific rates.

How does your query letter and synopsis critique service work?

A query letter is the first thing an agent or editor reads when they receive a project, and it totally shapes their opinion of your work. If you’re lucky, they’ll move on to the synopsis and then the next five pages. It is very important to make sure your query letter is clear, concise, and puts you and your manuscript in the best light possible. I have read thousands of submission packages over the course of my publishing career and can tell you exactly what kind of impression yours is making. The price of $250 includes an initial critique of your query letter, synopsis and first five pages as well as a second critique of your package after you implement my suggestions. I will review only your query or synopsis for $100 and that also includes a second critique of your revision. I am available for questions and recommendations as you start searching for a literary agent, although I do not make direct connections.

Can you tell us a little more about the phone consultation service that you offer?

Often an author finishes writing their book only to realize that was the easiest part. Publishing can be a very confusing business. I worked for over ten years as an in-house editor at two of the top publishing houses, and during a 1-hour phone call I will answer all of your questions about the publishing process and share my own advice. I can also help if you plan to publish independently. I charge $65 per 1-hour phone call. Please email me for more details or to schedule a phone consultation.