What do you edit?

Fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, self-help. All lengths.

For other types of writing, drop me a line. Let’s talk

How does it work?

You email me a sample of your writing, from somewhere right around the middle of the manuscript. Not the beginning (because you’ve probably worked really hard on that) and not the end (because you may have either rushed for the finish or polished it for a final shine); neither is likely to be representative of the bulk of your work. 

I like about 5,000 words for a novelette/novella/novel-length work (anything above 40,000 or so words); if your work is shorter, about 10% of the overall length.

I read it carefully and decide what sort of edit you are likely to need. Based on my hourly rate and my assessment of what’s required and how long it will take, I make a proposal. You decide whether you’re interested in pursuing the edit, whether you’d like to move ahead but with a modified scope, or whether you’d rather not go ahead.

Sometimes it’s not all that straight-forward to get a good sense of the type of edit you are looking for. In that case, I may do a sample edit on 500 words and we can figure out how to make my vision of what’s required align with your vision of what you want done.

Once we agree on the scope of work, we sign a little contract that clearly outlines the deliverables, the date of completion, and the price.

As the work progresses, especially if it’s a longer manuscript or I am unsure how you want something handled (these are your words, after all, and your story), I may check in with you for clarification.

Typically, after I return the edited work to you and you have had some time to go over my changes and/or suggestions, we will meet via video conference for a debriefing session in which you can ask me any follow-up questions or have me address any unresolved issues.

What sorts of edits are there?

Different editors use different terminology or approaches; here’s what I do.

Manuscript Review

The most eagle-eyed overall assessment I can provide is a manuscript review. It involves reading your manuscript and taking note of such things as narrative arc, story tension, character development, and plot (as relevant, depending on your genre). The deliverable is a document discussing overall issues followed by a chapter-by-chapter analysis and suggestions for changes or improvements. I do not mark up your document or comment directly in your text.

Copy Edit

Also called a light copy edit. This is a word-by-word check for grammar, spelling, word choice, and punctuation. If you wish me to copyedit your manuscript only, I will assume that the sentence structure and prose progression are exactly how you, the author, want them. If your command of grammar, spelling, and punctuation is good, this will be a quick and inexpensive edit. 

Line Edit

Sometimes referred to as an extended, or heavy, copy edit. This is where things start going into a grey zone, and why I require a sample of your work before giving you a quote. 

In a line edit, I will still check for the same things as in a copy edit. But I will also zoom out a bit to look for word echo, flabby dialog, unnecessary chit-chat, missing or unnecessary dialog tags, excessive internalization, muddled stimulus-response progressions, and so forth, and generally tighten up the prose. These things I will generally fix in the manuscript (using Word’s Track Changes option; you can always revert to the original if you disagree with my edits.)

I may zoom out even more and address thematic redundancies, characters acting out of character, plot holes, and the like. I will look for continuity errors; for example, if your heroine’s friend with the baby-blues suddenly appears with melting brown eyes, you better have a scene in there showing her putting in contact lenses! These sorts of things, however, I will not fix in the manuscript. I will point out the issues via margin comments, but they are yours to deal with as you see fit.

Developmental Edit

This is a collaborative undertaking that is a lot like coaching. It starts with me reading your work and getting to know you and the vision you have for your project, then working closely with you to help you bring that vision to fruition. You might consider it an iterative hybrid between a heavy line edit and a manuscript review; I will do this type of work only on an hourly fee basis.


This is a final read-through of a pre-first edition copy of a book; it is meant to confirm that a book is accurate, without error, and ready to be published. Proofreading should uncover any last minor issues. With due diligence done ahead, there won’t be many, but the reading must be done with extreme care and focus.

How much will my edit cost?

That depends entirely on how much time it takes. I charge a fixed rate of $25 per hour, but if you are like most people, you’d rather be quoted a price for the whole job. That’s why I need a sample of your work up front.

A developmental edit of a 100,000-word manuscript will usually cost somewhere between $800 and $1,300. Very light copy edits may come in at under the low end of that range; substantial line edits can exceed $1,800. Best thing is to get in touch and let’s talk. 

How long will it take?

I strive for a quick turnaround time, but delivery dates are dependent not only on how long your particular edit will take but also how busy I happen to be. When we sign a contract, it will include a start date and a delivery date. If it looks like I won’t be able to finish by the delivery date, I will let you know in plenty of time. If you are in a rush for your project to be done, please let me know ahead of time and I’ll try to accommodate you, within reason. (Other clients want their work done on time, too!)

Can you find me an agent?

Sadly, no.

Can you find me a publisher?

Again, sadly, no.

Can you format my manuscript?

No. I am strictly a words person; I don’t get involved with formatting, either for print or for e-publication.

Can I come back for another round?

Of course! It’s better for some time to pass between edits so I avoid mentally “filling in the gaps” from having read your manuscript before, but I am always delighted to revisit a work.