I work on both fiction and non-fiction. I have a particular affection for and deep experience in science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, YA, and contemporary romance. I also have a lot of experience with literary, historical, and mainstream fiction. I’ve edited a wide variety of non-fiction as well, but lean toward history.
I offer two basic services, developmental editing and line editing.
Developmental editing: If you’ve written a novel and you don’t think it’s as good as it can be, I will read your manuscript and write you an editorial letter, a long and thorough explanation of what’s working and what isn’t, and general suggestions about how to fix it. It will probably address plot, characters, structure, themes, pacing–all the macro issues. I follow that by citing specific instances of these problems and specific solutions, as well as specific instances of less general issues–a problem with a given scene, for example, or some bit of narrative logic that’s breaking down, or a drift in perspective. If there are issues of style that need to be addressed, bad prose habits you might have fallen into, I would discuss them as well, giving you examples, telling you what the problem is, and what you need to do to improve. (NB: These days, I tend to provide most of the notes and comments in the manuscript using Track Changes, with more general comments in the accompanying email. If you don’t use Track Changes, let me know, and I will use traditional editorial technology.)
Line editing: When you feel your book is largely in the shape you want it to be–the plot works, the characters are fully realized, all the scenery and furniture is in place–I would do the line editing. Line editing is actual hands-on editing: fixing sections that aren’t working, moving passages as necessary, cutting things that aren’t helping, reworking sentences that could be doing their job better. Most first drafts benefit from some trimming, and it often takes an outside eye to see what’s essential and what’s excess. While I’m doing this, I’ll also take care of the copy editing: grammar, usage, spelling; issues on that level. Again, this process is done in Track Changes, but if you prefer, I can take an actual red pencil to your actual manuscript.
Ideally, a book will go through both of these stages, but lately, I’ve found many authors are looking for a combination of these two things. Working in Track Changes, I’ll go through the book doing the line editing, as above, but will also give notes on plot and character, or any other relevant global issues that need attention. While this isn’t the most efficient approach (you’ll probably be writing new material that now needs line editing, or you might be getting rid of material that we’ve put time into reworking), it’s a popular approach, and fine with me.
I’m also available to work with you on an ongoing basis as you write your book, if that’s what you think will help you most.
For developmental editing I charge between 1.5 and 5 cents a word, depending on the manuscript. Line editing tends to take me more time, so I charge a bit more; between 3 and 8 cents a word. For short stories, essays, and other works under 25,000 words, the word rate will be somewhat higher. When I’ve had a chance to look at your book and see how much work is involved, I’ll be able to give you a specific price. I’m open to some negotiation, and if you already know what your budget for editing is, it’s helpful and saves time if you let me know from the start.
If you are outside the US, payment is handled through Paypal, and you cover all cross-border and currency-conversion fees. If there’s some reason to talk rather than email, I’m available on Skype.