Manuscript Editorial Services

Manuscript Editorial Services

On this page, you will find information on editorial and author services for manuscripts. Starting prices are offered for standard-length projects for your reference. Note that these prices are estimates. Factors such as the technical or in-depth nature of your material, research needs, editorial schedule and deadlines, as well as your specific word count, affect the final project quote. Please contact me for a fee specific to your project. Click here for a description of the services (below).

All projects are subject to the Fine Print (Terms & Conditions).


Starting price for 100 pg MS*

Starting price for 300 pg MS**

Developmental/Content Edit $910 $2700
Line Edit $750 $2190
Copyedit $550 $1600
Proofread $420 $1260
Copyedit/Proofread Combo $870 $2600
Manuscript Evaluation/Critique $275 $650
Post-Layout Proofread Only*** $300 $850
Development Work/Writing Coaching Monthly fee starting at $600/month
Ghostwriting Additional factors influence the pricing of ghostwriting projects. Contact me to discuss your ghostwriting needs, and for pricing.
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*Average length for a non-technical, self-published work of nonfiction, at the industry standard 250 words/page.
**Average length for a book-length work of fiction (novel), or memoir, at 250 words/page.
***The standard proofread includes two passes, one before and one after the manuscript is set into layout (either print or digital). This option is one pass, post-layout only.

Description of services:

Developmental/Content Edit

The developmental edit deals with the manuscript’s overall structure and content. It takes place before any copyediting, because it concerns itself with the coherence and organization of the manuscript (MS) and its appropriateness and appeal to the book’s chosen audience. This is the 30,000-foot view of the work: the big picture. If you want your book to have maximum impact and you are interested in a professional review, consider this option. The developmental edit considers questions such as:

For fiction:
Is the beginning interesting enough to grab the reader and is the ending satisfying (this is not the same as closure)? Are the characters weak or poorly drawn? Do they speak alike? Are they three-dimensional individuals? Is the plot credible or exciting (consider genre)?

Do scenes lack emotion or portray melodrama? Do the descriptions set the stage, take over the work, or are they missing? Are there errors or inconsistencies in point of view? Are there inconsistencies in usage of tense or voice? Is the protagonist sympathetic and compelling? Is the outcome of all conflicts predictable? Is the antagonist too weak, too evil, or not motivated enough to be believable? Is there enough rising tension throughout the story/chapters to hold interest?

For nonfiction:
Are the ideas presented clearly and are they logically developed? What is the basis of the author’s expertise and is the author credible in the topic? Is the book appropriate in tone, style, and format for its intended audience? Is it consistent in its approach? Is the length of the manuscript appropriate?

What is the overall structure? Are the chapters and sections organized in a way that is clear and compelling? Are any chapters repetitious, out of place, or unnecessary? Are any passages unclear or confusing? Are organizing strategies such as headings, subheadings, transitions, and quotes used effectively? Do tables, charts, or graphics support and clarify the text?

Does the manuscript use a lot of jargon? What is the overall purpose or takeaway of the manuscript and does it achieve these goals? Is the work complete or does it require further information? Are sources missing?

A developmental edit is a conversation between the author and the editor about big points of theme and clarity. It provides another angle on your literary challenges and concerns, and delivers outside expertise. None of us see our text clearly after working on it for a long time. Let me be your second set of eyes.

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Line Edit

The line edit goes through your MS, as its name suggests, line by line. When most people talk about “editing,” the line edit is part of what they have in mind (the other two parts are copyediting and proofreading). The line edit is where we make your sentences pretty: clarity, readability, word choice, style, voice, and so on. Big picture questions about structure have already been addressed (see the Developmental Edit) and now we focus on how to deliver on those big picture questions in a compelling way—the craft of writing. Every word should be there for a reason.

Most of the time, the line edit and the copyedit go hand in hand (see below).

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Copyediting focuses on consistent language and presentation, and like the Line Edit comes after any developmental editing or big-picture revisions. The copyedit ensures the work is strong and clear from a technical point of view. It typically goes along with a line edit (see above): where the line focuses on the poetry of your writing, copyediting focuses on rules.

English gives us many choices we often don’t think about, including the use of hyphenation, the spelling out of number words, header and table formatting, and more. When done well, the average reader may not notice it’s there, but everyone notices when it’s missing.

Copyediting includes:

  • Word choice and repetition
  • Lapses in logic or sequential slip-ups
  • Front and back matter
  • Spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Stylistic and formatting consistency: chapter headings, capitalization, hyphenation, abbreviation, use of proper names, paragraph indentation, font, font size, margins, captions, citations, tables, graphics, bulleted lists, and more

A good copyedit can make the difference between a work whose impact is “ho-hum” and a text that sizzles. See the difference between the copyedit and the proofread here.

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Proofreading deals only with presentation. I cannot stress this enough. A proofread is not an edit and has almost nothing in common with an edit (though an edit may tangentially look at spelling). Proofreading does not deal with the content, whether it’s logically organized, cohesive, or interesting to read. Proofreading doesn’t care if the work is repetitious or filled with jargon and inconsistencies. Proofreading focuses on accuracy. It cares about:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Errant formatting—e.g., widow or orphan lines or phrases
  • Text that has been converted to a different file format with all formatting intact

That’s it.

Proofreading is the last step in the review process before the work goes to print or is digitally published. A proofread is absolutely crucial to your work. A book that looks like a mess, and is filled with typos and formatting problems, immediately destroys the author’s credibility as well as reader interest. No edit can replace a final proofread.

If you contact me for a proofread-only, I will ask whether you’ve had any other editorial work done. I typically do not proofread a document that has had no other editorial review. For book manuscripts, I offer a “sandwich” review: once before the work is placed into layout, and once after layout and immediately before publication. The first review minimizes errors that go into the layout, which can be costly and time-consuming to fix. The second confirms that the file conversion is clean

Make sure your manuscript looks as good as it is. Have it proofread.

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Manuscript Evaluation/Critique

A manuscript evaluation or critique is a full, high-level assessment of your work in progress. The evaluation includes a comprehensive report on the strengths of the MS and areas that could be improved, plus a sample edit of up to the first 50 pages, based on length of the full MS. The most important function of the manuscript evaluation is that it provides you with valuable feedback at an affordable cost. If you are keeping an eye on the budget and want to confirm what type of editing services you need, for example, an evaluation may be for you. This review allows you to get professional insight without the financial commitment of a full edit. You may opt for a critique at any stage of your manuscript’s revision process.

While an evaluation is not an edit, it does clarify potential pitfalls and opportunities for the MS, and provides direction on next steps. Both may benefit you as you revise your MS, or prior to the start of any professional editing. What kind of shape is your manuscript actually in? This is the question the evaluation seeks to answer.

An evaluation/critique reviews:

  • Strengths of the work
  • Problems (if any) of presentation and formatting
  • Editorial issues (if any)
  • Problems (if any) of concept, structure, content, style, and documentation (this last for nonfiction)
  • Practical suggestions for fixes
  • Recommendations for next steps, including editorial recommendations

You receive a full written report (approximately 2000 words) on these details. Recommendations are made on an individual, no-obligation basis. Editorial work is contracted for separately. All manuscripts submitted for evaluation and critique should be accompanied by a synopsis (for fiction) or table of contents and chapter summaries (for nonfiction) of the entire project.

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Development Work/Writing Coaching

Do you have a great book idea and are nervous about how to get started? Would you like ongoing guidance as you write? Unlike a traditional developmental edit, where we are working with a full manuscript, development work or writing coaching is more concept-oriented in nature. A typical arrangement includes weekly “touches” by email that look at the manuscript in-progress, and bi-monthly phone calls to discuss ongoing concerns or the evolution of the manuscript.

Development work/writing coaching covers questions the developmental edit and the manuscript evaluation/critique are interested in as well, but as part of the writing process:

  • What is your concept?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What is the overall structure of the book?
  • How can you develop your ideas/storyline?
  • What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
  • And: What strategies can you put in place to help you meet your writing goals?

Development work is a flexible arrangement suited for writers who want to keep an editor “in their back pocket” to address questions as they arise. It’s also a great way to build accountability into your writing process and ensure you meet your deadlines, whether self-imposed or external. If you have a book idea and you want collaborative editorial support, this is a great option for you.

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You may have the idea, but for whatever reason—lack of time, perceived lack of writing expertise—you prefer someone else to write your manuscript. In a traditional ghostwriting arrangement, the ghostwriter (ghost for short) is un-credited: only the author’s name appears on the byline. If you are looking for a ghost, consider the following:

  • How much writing do you want your ghost to provide vis-à-vis your own writing?
  • How long is the MS (word count)?
  • How much research is involved in your project and who will conduct the research?
  • Will your ghost need to work with outside parties, such as an illustrator or publisher?

The term “ghostwriting,” much like “editing,” describes a continuum. For instance, the amount of writing the ghost does varies. The three basic options are:

  • The ghost writes the entire MS from scratch. In this scenario, you provide information and direction to the ghost, but the ghost does all the writing. The ghost will probably need to interview you or review other materials, whether written or recorded.
  • The ghost writes the MS based on your notes or partially written chapters. You’ve already sketched out your ideas and how they hang together. Or, you’ve started the draft, and want the ghost to finish it.
  • The ghost provides a professional rewrite of your draft. You’ve finished a draft, and want a professional revision of your work.

When you contract for ghostwriting, the contract will outline the answers to these details and more, including deadlines and information pertaining to revisions. A ghostwriting arrangement is a personal affair; the parties need to feel they work well together and understand each other. For this reason, make sure you are comfortable working with your ghost. If you like, we can arrange a sample chapter (paid) before embarking on a full contract.

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Author Website (Writing or Editing)

This hardly needs saying, but if you are a professional writer or wish to sell professional copies of your book, you need a web presence. The standard 5-page site covers your basic needs: it introduces you to your audience, allows them to see samples of your work, provides a way for your readers to contact you, and contains information about what else you do, if writing is not your sole or primary career. It should also contain links to your social media presence, if any, and a way for your readers to purchase your book, whether directly through your site or via an outside source, such as Amazon.

When readers or potential readers are curious about who you are, this is their first stop online. Don’t be without this valuable way to connect with your audience! This service includes the initial creation of your website or, if you already have a website you would like to update, a full revision as per your needs.

All projects are subject to the Fine Print (Terms & Conditions).

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Thoughts, questions, comments, suggestions, and blarney (bonus points for wit):