If you’re a new writer, you might not be sure of what you need. That’s okay, I’m here to help you. Here’s a guide to some of the services I offer.
I get it. Writing is hard, and sitting on your own trying to be a ‘great writer’, based on books or blogs you’re reading can be a lonely enterprise. I’ve been learning to write my whole life, and editing other people’s work for over 20 years, and I still discover new skills every day. I recommend you start with my Story Editing Masterclass, which covers how to write a cohesive story. Then begin writing. Once you have completed a few drafts of your short story or book, contact me. We can discuss writing techniques via phone or video chat in weekly or monthly sessions. I can set exercises for you, and check on your progress as you go.
When you first approach an editor you may not know how much work your manuscript needs. In this case it might be a good idea to get a manuscript assessment. A manuscript assessment provides you with a starting point. It may answer some of your questions about what needs to be done next. ‘Am I ready to send this to a publisher?’ ‘How many more drafts should I do?’ are the sorts of questions that can be answered by a good editor providing a manuscript assessment.
Depending on the work needed I’ll provide you with a five to 15 page report outlining the steps you need to take. An assessment can cost between $800 to $1500 (AUD) depending on the quality of your work and the word count.
When an editor receives a manuscript for publication one of the first things they may do is read the manuscript and make sure all the events make sense in the context of the book. This is called structural editing. Sometimes events will need to be moved to more logical positions. At other times themes may be strengthened or tension may be added to the manuscript if it is structured in a different manner. A good structural editor may be able to see a solution where an author — who is very close to a work — may not. Prices for structural editing depend on the quality and size of the manuscript.
Your manuscript may need development (this is usually identified during an assessment). In fiction this might include strengthening themes, characterisations, and the links between plot and other elements of the book etc. In non-fiction it might include developing better explanatory text, supporting evidence, identifying the need for illustrations, graphs, historical details, and appendices etc. Prices for developmental editing depend on the quality and size of the manuscript.
Copy editing is a line-by-line detailed examination of your work. During a copy edit we check for mistakes in grammar, correct timelines, consistency in characterisations, style, and consistency of voice. This is a complex process and usually takes place when a book has been through many drafts. Prices for copy editing depend on the quality and size of the manuscript.
Often a book is proofread after copy editing and before it goes to press. This is usually a much quicker edit than a copy edit. Proofreading can also mean comparing one copy of a manuscript to another. When corrections are made to a manuscript by the typesetter the editor will often check that those corrections have been taken in correctly. Prices for proofreading depend on the quality and size of the manuscript.
Where to next?
So you think you know what services you need, or now you’re thoroughly confused! Drop me a line and let me know what you think you may need. Or leave it up to me and I’ll make a suggestion based on your sample text. Attach a sample of your work that is representative of the style and quality of the whole (not the most perfect piece of writing, but not the worst either). I recommend two chapters, one from the beginning of the book and one from the middle. Include a table of contents listing your chapters, and mention anything that might take time, like lots of footnotes, an extensive bibliography or hundreds of photos with captions.