Editing Services for Fiction Writers

Editing is such a broad term that nailing down what it does and why an author needs more than the proofread offered by the spell-check tools can be challenging.  To help in the understanding of editing and the services offered here, we have done our best to define the services that are offered under each type of editing, whether an author is looking for a simple proofread or something more comprehensive.

Sharon Mignerey brings more than 20 years of experience to editing, and she has been both an editor and the beneficiary of well-edited projects.  Her qualifications include:

  • Five plus years of teaching composition and rhetoric at the college level.
  • An MFA from Seton Hill University in Writing Popular Fiction
  • Twenty years of experience as a technical writer working on teams with subject matter experts.
  • Being an ardent student of the craft of writing and story-telling and a belief that craft makes talent shine.

If the work on your project is to be done by someone other than Sharon (which may happen to meet deadlines, depending on her workload), this will be communicated ahead of time and with the consent of the client.

Copy Editing

Copy editing is the function between a project that has been revised and polished as best an author knows how and having it ready for publication.  Copy editors are an essential partner for authors who want to independently publish their work and who do not have the benefit of a copy editor that is provided by a publishing house.  Copy editors check for the following:

  • The mechanics – grammar,  punctuation, and spelling
  • Clarifying sentence structure (breaking paragraph-long sentences into shorter ones).
  • Suggests changes for smooth syntax and sentence readability
  • Glaring inconsistencies (a secondary character whose name changes, a hero with blue eyes at the beginning of the story and brown ones later on, confusing choreography within a scene, and so on)
  • Dictionaries and Style Guides:
    • Merriam Webster (assumes US spelling)
    • Chicago Manual of Style

Required format:

  • 8 ½ x 11 paper size with 1 inch margins
  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman 12 font (or equivalent)
  • MS Word (editing will come back to you using the MS Word Review function with Track Changes)

Fees

New authors to the program will be asked to submit the first 25 pages for review before we commit to this project. 

  • The fee for review is $50.00, non-refundable, which will be applied to the copy-editing fee if we take on the project.
  • Turnaround time is typically 7 working days.
  • If a project is passed on, a 1 to 2 page review will be made with suggestions of things an author may want to consider.

The fee for copy editing is $.01 (1¢) per word, minimum $200.00 (20,000 word manuscript which would be a short-story).  Word count is based on the MS Word counter.

  • Half of the fee is due upon submission of the manuscript.
  • The remainder is due when the project is completed.

Turnaround time is typically 7 working days for every 20,000 words (an 80,000 word manuscript would have a 4-week turnaround).  This commitment may vary based on workload and will be adjusted to meet mutual expectations at the time the project is submitted.

Proofreading

Proofreading is the final polishing step before a project is submitted or put into production. This should not be considered a substitute for copy-editing, which is a more thorough and robust process.  Proofreaders check for:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

Required format:

  • 8 ½ x 11 paper size with 1 inch margins
  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman 12 font (or equivalent)
  • MS Word (editing will come back to you using the MS Word Review function with Track Changes)

Fees

The fee is $.01 (1¢) per every 5 words (approximately $.50 per page (assuming 250 words per page)), minimum $100.00.  Word count is based on the MS Word counter.

  • Half of the fee is due upon submission of the manuscript.
  • The remainder is due when the project is completed.

Turnaround time is typically 7 working days.  This commitment may vary based on workload and will be adjusted to meet mutual expectations at the time the project is submitted.

Review of Query Letter, Pitch, and Synopsis OR a Partial

These documents are typically geared toward an audience of editors and agents.  However, authors who are independently publishing may also find these useful in developing a marketing plan for a project. These documents are read with their intended audience in mind.   A review is a 2 to 4 page report (critique) of the project with specific suggestions.

To ensure we’re all on the same page, these items are defined as:

  • A query letter is a letter of no more than 1 1/2 pages that introduces a project to a reader that may stand on its own or be accompanied by a synopsis or a partial.
  • A pitch is a no-more-than two paragraph “sell” of the project that appears with the thumbnail of a cover on a bookseller’s website or on the back cover of a book.
  • A synopsis is a 5 to 10 pages document that covers the arc of a story, including the revelation of all secrets, from the opening page through the final resolution.  Agents use this as a primary selling tool to publishers.  Publishers use this to develop marketing tools and cover art.
  • A partial consists of the first three chapters (typically) of a manuscript and a synopsis.  The invitation to send a partial may be the result of a good query letter.

Required format:

  • 8 ½ x 11 paper size with 1 inch margins
  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman 12 font (or equivalent)
  • MS Word (editing will come back to you using the MS Word Review function with Track Changes)

Fees

  • $125.00 for the synopsis, query letter, and pitch, inclusive.  No discount if pitch or query letter is not submitted.
  • $200.00 for the synopsis, query letter, pitch and the first 30 pages or the first three chapters, whichever is less.  As before, there is no discount if one of the elements is not submitted.
      • Half of the fee is due upon submission of the manuscript.
      • The remainder is due when the project is completed.

Turnaround time is typically 10 working days.This commitment may vary based on workload and will be adjusted to meet mutual expectations at the time the project is submitted.

Manuscript Review

A manuscript review can be helpful for an author who wants a discerning set of eyes on a project to help determine whether it is ready for submission or final production.  Authors are encouraged to remember that opinions — all opinions — are subjective.  Stories abound of publishers who passed on projects that were purchased by another publisher and that became huge best-selling books.  We do our best to match manuscript reviews to editors (who may be someone other than Sharon and who will be disclosed at the beginning so clients can have high confidence in the review) who read widely in the targeted genre and have a good understanding of it.  The review consists of a detailed critique of the manuscript that is between 4 and 6 pages long and offers specific suggestions across:

  • Scene structure
  • Plot and story structure
  • Character development
  • Overall impressions of the story

 Required format:

  • 8 ½ x 11 paper size with 1 inch margins
  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman 12 font (or equivalent)
  • MS Word OR a PDF file

 Fees

  • The fee for manuscript review is $250, which consists of a 4 to 6 page critique that offers specific suggestions.
  • If an author would like a sense of what a copy-edit entails, a review can be accompanied by a copy edit of the first 15 pages of the  manuscript for a fee of $300.  Note:  $150 of this fee would be applied toward the copy-editing fee if that service is hired within 30 days of the review.
    • Half of the fee is due upon submission of the manuscript.
    • The remainder is due when the project is completed.

Turnaround time is typically 10 working days.  This commitment may vary based on workload and will be adjusted to meet mutual expectations at the time the project is submitted.

Development Editing

Developmental editing comes under the broad heading of writing coach or book doctor.  The time commitment for both the editor and the author is significant and requires a good collaboration between the two to ensure the author’s goals toward becoming a better writer and story-teller are understood and the goals had for the writing project are understood.  Please note that editors make no guarantee or other warranty that a project will be purchased by a publisher nor is their any any guarantee any aspect of a project’s financial potential.   A developmental editor does bring to a project an understanding of the targeted genre and its expected tropes along with an in-depth understanding of story structure, scene structure, character development, and so on.  The goal is to help and author develop the best skills possible to write the story of the author’s vision, not the editors.

Developmental editing looks at:

  • Plot development, including plot holes, gaps, and inconsistencies
  • Character development, including character growth and motivation
  • Scene structure, including pace and tension
  • Overall story structure
  • When applicable, suitability for targeted genre (mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, horror)
  • Writing style

Before a project of this magnitude is undertaken, a review of an author’s work and a telephone conversation is required.

Required format:

  • 8 ½ x 11 paper size with 1 inch margins
  • Double-spaced
  • Times New Roman 12 font (or equivalent)
  • MS Word OR a PDF file

 Fees

  • The fee for developmental editing is by quotation after a review of the first 50 pages.  Expect the minimum cost to be $2,500.
  • Review fee is $150, non-refundable, which will be applied to fee for the project.
  • The review includes a a telephone conversation and letter of explanation for the quote if the project is taken on.  If the decision is made to pass on the project, the review includes a telephone conversation and a 3 to 6 page critique of the reviewed pages with specific suggestions.
    • The review fee is due at the time of submission.
    • The schedule for developmental editing fees will be part of the quote.

Turnaround time for the review is typically 10 working days.  This commitment may vary based on workload and will be adjusted to meet mutual expectations at the time the project is submitted.

 Request more information

Please fill out the following form with your name and email address.  Be sure to let me know which service you are interested in.  I will send you back an email with additional information.

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