Services for Authors

I am a professional editor, researcher and writer, and provide a variety of editorial and other literary services to authors and businesses. I pride myself in giving a good final work product using the skills I have honed over a long and varied working career. If you would like to view my resume for details on my experience, click here.

The fees listed on this page are ballpark figures only. They are not cut in stone as each individual project is different. I prefer to stick as closely as possible to these charges, but will consider other offers depending on the project and the time and level of work required.

The prices I charge for these services are well within the average price range suggested by the Editorial Freelancers Association, of which I am a member. My fees are negotiable (within reason), but are based on a number of factors, including (but not limited to):

1) What you want done to your manuscript;
2) The amount and complexity of the work I see as necessary to make the book sellable and profitable; and
3) Your budget limitations.

That last factor can be a huge problem for most authors. New and self-published authors looking for an editors can experience serious sticker shock when searching for an editor. My advice to newbies who think they can’t afford my listed prices is to contact me. Depending on what your manuscript needs and what your budget is, I can usually find a way to work with you.

Having been on the other side of the editorial table, I understand how constrained a first-time author’s budget is. I am sure you know that putting in the time, energy and cost of a good edit will improve your royalties in the long run. It’s hard for a new, as yet unpublished (and probably broke) author to invest hard-earned money in an edit on a book that may or may not sell well. But let’s face it, you get what you pay for.

If you are interested in discussing any of the below listed services, scroll to the contact form at the bottom of the page and send me some info on your project.


Sample Manuscript Evaluation & Critique

Free to new clients21674861-2F4F-47EB-905F-DC60C3C08BA5
During an evaluation on a sample of your manuscript (no more than the first three chapters), I will read and assess your manuscript with careful attention to detail, then provide you with a written critique. My evaluation will include comments regarding some, or all, of the following:

♦ Punctuation ♦ Spelling ♦ Grammar ♦ Syntax ♦ Flow ♦ Style ♦ Structure ♦ Plot ♦ Structure ♦ Dialogue ♦ Characterization ♦ POV (Point of View) ♦ Pacing

If my evaluation is based on a sample of the work, I will require a detailed outline of the story or book to accompany the sample manuscript.

If you would prefer that I evaluate and critique an entire manuscript, please refer to the section on Book Review/Critique for pricing. If after receiving my complete manuscript evaluation you decide you would like me to edit your work, any costs incurred for the initial evaluation will be deducted from the editorial costs.

I value every writer’s creative process, so my critique will include praise and encouragement, but I do not pull punches. If I see something that needs work, I will tell you what I believe it needs. My job as an editor is not to simply stroke your ego. It is to make your work absolute perfection.

Book review/Critique

$25/hr8E89D3ED-2F2C-4656-870B-726FF681EB35
In contrast to a shorter evaluation/critique on a sample of a work, this is a more thorough read-through and evaluation from a reader’s perspective as well as an editor’s skilled knowledge. The former is a basic yet detailed review of how well the story reads, what I liked and disliked about the story, characters, plotting, etc. In the critique, however, I will include the same things I would in the sample evaluation, as well as  things that I might change (if I were the author) because those items might not please a certain type of audience, could cause people to want their money back, or give it a bad review, both of which could cost sales. While it is not necessary to provide me with an outline in addition to the manuscript, I may request one if I find it would be helpful in determining whether your work achieves the exact goals you had when you began writing it.

As the first level of a developmental or copy edit, this critique is a tool to point out quickly fixable problem areas in order to help the author understand what things might need more work before it is ready for general consumption by readers. This type of evaluation is done before a substantive or structural edit, and will save the author money by directing his/her own editorial skills toward fixing those problems before the editor starts their work.

Or the evaluation can be simply a review to be used at publication to attract readers. If you would like a short book review posted on Amazon or iBooks, I have been known to provide this for the cost of the book and a nominal fee of $25. If you intend to use the review on Goodreads or other reviewing sites, portions of which many authors use as cover copy, or if you want it to help you direct your own rewrite, you will need to communicate to me exactly what specific things you are wanting to hear in the review. This will help me focus my work efficiently.

Transcription

$20/hr313B4177-8CF8-49AD-A874-1C554526856B
If you can’t type or do not have access to a computer, don’t let that stop you from writing. Some of the most prolific and highest-paid authors of the last century dictated their work to secretaries or assistants, or wrote their work out by hand using paper and pen. Most authors who started writing prior to the computer age (am I dating myself here?) began their writing careers with the latter method. I certainly did.

I was lucky enough to begin my working life in the decade when personal computers revolutionized the methods author used to research and write their novels or nonfiction books. And a good portion of my early work years were spent typing the written work of others on typewriters or IBM (LAN) keyboards before moving into the age of Apple or Windows. In addition, much of the typing I did for others during my regular working life was originally dictated onto cassette tapes by attorneys and law enforcement personnel for transcription into printed court documents.

I can transcribe from either voice recording or handwritten copy if you have used either of these methods to create your book.

Also, if you have a hard copy (printed) manuscript that was typed in the pre-digital age (i.e., on typewriter or word processor, before PCs and floppy disks), I can scan and clean up the document, providing you with a clean digital copy that you can work with on a PC or tablet.

Developmental Edit

$50-$60/hr4F374923-6E85-4538-AD18-78159D204608
This type of edit may be needed for a first time author or a first draft of a novel. It can (and probably will) include a substantive and/or structural copy edit. I provide a basic read through evaluation and make suggestions on organization, edits, characters, point POV changes and other problems that might be holding the story back.

In addition, I perform fact checking and historical research on real facts, places and people mentioned in the manuscript. I am also happy to work with the author on a story rewrite, if that is what they wish me to do (see the section on Ghostwriting/Copy Writing).

Developmental editing can also include coordinating and supervising your entire project from rough concept to market-ready product, incorporating input from consultants, designers, and marketing experts, to reviewers and other writers, where necessary.

This is the most intense type of edit and requires a really good working relationship between the author and editor.

Note:  Often, a copy edit and developmental edit will overlap during an editing project, especially when a work has many historical, legal or scientific facts that must be checked. When that happens, I will often split the difference in the hourly costs.

Substantive/Structural Copy Edit

$30-$40/hr40657897-2051-4F7C-8DDB-0BCE717C97D0
This is the workhorse of the editor’s repertoire and is the level of editing most commonly needed.

Ideally, your written work should captivate your reader’s imagination and engage his or her mind fully, without causing frustration or undue backtracking for clarification. Substantive editing requires heavy editing, whether structural, stylistic, or copy editing, and is typically a combination of the three. Structural editing focuses on logical organization and flow of content to render your document clear, concise, and easy to read at the sentence, paragraph, and chapter levels. A structural edit will ensure your arguments make sense, your plot develops in a compelling fashion, and your information is conveyed accurately and logically.

Some editors perform this type of edit in several stages, focusing on each item to be reviewed, one at a time, completing each level of review before moving on to the next. I tend to look at the entire project as a whole, combining the various aspects of editing at the same time. It helps me to keep focused on the final product.

This type of edit includes a detailed review and editing of grammar, spelling and punctuation. In addition, I’ll concentrate on things that work or don’t work in terms of story, flow and readability. I’ll check and standardize grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style. Critical at this level is a thorough check for consistency of style choices, mechanics, and facts. It may include fact-checking, marking heading levels, approximating placement of art, and notifying the book designer of any unusual production requirements. It also may include providing or editing cover copy and front and back matter, as well as spot-checking references and listed websites.

I will consult with you in every instance where I feel an important change is required. I generally perform a copy edit using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes function, which has the option of viewing the edited text in a variety of formats. This can help the author understand what I have changed and why, but they don’t necessarily have to look at the TC coding to see what has changed. I often use Track Changes to post comments in order to communicate directly with the author on specific sections of edited text — or on any particular items I feel need a discussion between myself and the author to occur before finalizing that particular edit. While communication between the author and editor is critical in keeping the edit on track, it can also be distracting and frustrating when either the editor or author is unavailable to communicate at any given time. By including the comments in the edited file, any questions that come up during the editing process (and these can be many) can save both the author and the editor a great deal of time that would otherwise be spent on phone/email conversations.

Track Changes also enables the author to have the final word on whether or not a specific edit is incorporated in the final work. If you have not used the Track Changes function in Word, don’t worry. I can easily talk you through the process over the phone or provide you with step-by-step written instructions, whichever works best for you.

I find that using Track Changes really helps maintain good communication between the author and editor, and it is a critical function for me to keep track of the stylistic changes and standards I use for the entire work.

Fact Checking/Research

$40-$50/hrlaw_school
As mentioned in other sections on this page, in the course of performing an edit, I will also check the accuracy of facts and quotations, your referenced (original) sources and/or other sources, usually using the Internet. Fact-checking is an important editorial task in both nonfiction and fiction, requiring an editor who instinctively knows when facts may be incorrect or whether the presentation may be misleading to a reader. This step can be critical for an author whose written words can have impact on their readership. Sometimes this impact can be extremely negative and controversial, and may even result in a lawsuit.

Even though I may not know the facts themselves, many years of editing and various types of research (not to mention the law firms I have worked for) have taught me to know when and what to check, and how and where to look things up.

While this is almost always included in any developmental or copy edit I perform for an author, I do offer separate research services to anyone in need of them. I am not a scientist, but I have edited many science-based papers in the past and can do research to check current scientific trends.  In addition, have had paralegal training and I am an experienced genealogist with approximately 40 years of historical  and legal research experience behind me. These experiences have given me a unique ability to find and analyze any potential problem areas in a manuscript or other forms of written copy.

Indexing

$45-$55/hr
For a nonfiction book, a thoughtfully prepared index can really improve the sales of your book. Preparing a comprehensive, logical index is best done by an indexing specialist with indexing software — which I don’t currently have. This is work I would normally outsource to a specialist. Your indexer will create an alphabetical list of names, places, subjects, and concepts that appear in your work. Working in consultation with you and your book designer, he or she will produce an index of appropriate content and length.

However, I can prepare an index for any document that will be in its final form when it leaves my machine (i.e., a protected Word document or PDF). By this I mean that pages will not be scaled as is usually done on ebooks (which changes page numbers and text size depending on the type and settings of the device on which the book is read). Under typical book publication, an index is based on the final form of the book and will not usually change prior to hard bound or soft bound publication.

Any index I would currently produce would likely be on a business or legal document that will not be subsequently processed through a publisher. I may eventually offer this service when time permits and I am able to invest in the necessary software.

Proofreading

$25/hr
I offer this service to authors with a manuscript that has already been edited and which is more or less ready for publication. This is the absolute last phase of editing and should be done right before the manuscript goes to publication. This is NOT another edit.

A skilled proofreader should not look at the heavy duty construction of the story, but focus strictly on grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and typesetting. A proofread is basically a last run through to find anything missed on the other edits that have been performed on the manuscript. It may also includes any last minute formatting changes and is the most nit-picky part of the editing process.

I have an excellent eye for detail, but if I have performed a copy edit or developmental edit on your manuscript, I highly recommend getting another editor to do the proofreading on it. By the time I have gone through a couple of substantive and/or structural edits on a manuscript, I will be too familiar with the text to do it proper justice as a proofreader. It is really important that the proofread be performed by someone who is highly skilled, but they should also be able to look at the manuscript with completely fresh eyes. They need to catch whatever the editor – and the author – did not.

Ghostwriting and Copy Writing

$50/hr
I am a writer in my own right, so I am always happy to provide this service to an author whenever we have identified some problem areas in a manuscript that may need additional text or extensive rewriting to improve the flow of the book or storyline.

I also provide ghostwriting services to authors who have a great story to tell, but no time to devote to writing it. I specialize in historical fiction and non-fiction, including memoir, autobiographies and family histories; however, I also enjoy writing speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction and paranormal).

I am also available to write and edit copy for businesses that want their website(s) updated, publications revamped, or new documentation created. I have extensive experience writing for governmental and legal/law enforcement offices, as well as manufacturers, engineering offices, trucking and transportation businesses.

Audiobook Narration

$35/hour (or a percentage of royalties)
Audiobooks are opening up a huge new audience for today’s storytellers. In an age when people find their time increasingly constrained by work and other activities (especially time wasted while commuting or at the gym), many people are reverting to the age-old form of communication and entertainment — oral storytelling.

I have recently started listening to audiobooks myself and have enjoyed listening to books so much, I have decided to offer the service to my clients. Since I have a background in drama, and I enjoy reading stories to my grandchildren and to children at my local library. So it seemed like a no brainer to extend this enjoyment to others.

I now have a studio set up in my home, which can save a lot on studio costs. At the present time, I record using ACX software and am listed with Amazon’s Audible narrators. ACX is the standard for audiobooks, so any books I narrate can also be used with other audiobook formats.

I charge based on the hours actually spent recording of the complete, published book, not the final runtime of the recording. This is an industry standard. Normally, my preference is to charge a standard hourly rate; however, I will consider a percentage of the royalties on certain books.

Book Formatting & Online Publication

$25-$35/hr
For those who are not computer savvy or who do not have the time to invest in these services, I can also provide formatting and typesetting of the manuscript for digital upload, as well as book cover design, setting up an author page with ebook/audiobook sellers (such as Amazon’s Kindle Publishing, Apple’s iBooks, Smashwords, and other online formats). I can also help you with on-demand print sites as well as with small presses in your local area, to provide a well-rounded final product for your readers.