Editing

Fiction & Nonfiction

Whether you’re hoping to go indie, looking to query agents, or writing articles fo ezines, your manuscript/copy can always benefit from a second set of eyes. I’ve worked with published authors to writers starting their first drafts.

Editing can seem like a daunting process, but I’m here to help. I want you to succeed.

Stages of Editing (Chronological)
Book Maps
Beta Readers
Critiques
Developmental Edits
Line Edits
Copy Edits
Proofreads
Author Confidence Booster

Want a free consultation?
Books to help you Edit Yourself
Programs to help you edit
Testimonials

We can’t always see everything our readers will. Our minds know what we’re intending to put on the page and often fill in blank spaces or glaze over details readers might find confusing. That’s why editing, critiquing, and author networking are crucial before publication. The more feedback you get, the better your book will be.

There are always going to be “grammar police.” Not everyone was taught the same standards. That’s why there are books like the Chicago Manual of Style. Still, you’re going to find disagreements. That’s why when you work with traditional publishers, you’ll find they have their own standards. Some like more commas. Some like less.

Ex:
He lived, and he thrived.
He lived and he thrived.
Both are correct because the industry* standard is two sentences of three words or more must be separated by a comma and coordinating conjunction. With two-word sentences, it’s the publisher’s preference.

I like to use polysyndeton, asyndeton, and fragments to emphasize a scene or fulfill a rhythm I’m creating. Not everyone knows that these are stylistic choices, not grammar mistakes. You want to write for the general reading level of your audience but remain aware that someone will always find something they don’t like. Why? Because creative endeavors like book writing are subject to the user’s experience. And every person has their own ideas about what is right based on how they grew up, what books they’ve read before yours, and what they’re exposed to these days. This is why it’s important to make your book the best it can be, to minimize the chances someone from the grammar police will give you a bad review and rating.

Not all of these editing stages are done by every author. Once you get experienced, you may find you don’t need to do Book Maps anymore. You may choose to do only Beta Reads, Critiques, or Developmental Edits. You may skip Copy Edits and elect to do only a proofread.

At the beginning of your author career, it’s best to do all of them, just to learn what they resolve. It will teach you a lot about your writing.

Book Maps 

Before or after the book is written to track goals of the plot, characters, and events. This is a good thing to do if you’re unsure about the effectiveness of your suspense, action, and emotion.

Steps:

  1. As you read through the work, write down the main things that happen in each chapter
    1. Events
    2. Character revelations, new appearances/disappearances, critical changes
    3. Initial hook of chapter & the cliffhanger or resolution at the end
  2. Create a graph (by chapter) displaying tension of plot events and severity of character changes within the work
  3. Step back and look at how strong/intense each chapter is and if the story has its highs and lows in places which fit the successful story structure for your genre (hint: most of them start low to mid range tension and climb (with minor highs and lows in between) into the last few chapters where the story “climaxes” then drops during the concluding chapters

My Services:
Book Map Planning – I’ll work with you to set up an outline (based on your goals and genre) for your book and help you lay out your plot and character progression. (Good for first time authors)
$25 (1-hour session)
Book Map Assessment – We’ll talk about the map you’ve already created for your book and make sure you’re going to reach your goals and fulfill common genre expectations
$25 (1-hour session)

Beta Readers

What are they? Where do you find them? These readers get a copy of your book before the line edits and copy edits are done. You want the book to be clear enough that they don’t get stopped up by fragmented sentences of unfinished ideas. But you don’t want to fully edit until after you’ve had another set of eyes on your work to pick out bigger problems like plot holes and weak characters.

They are useful for catching things you don’t, like a scene you might see fully in your mind, but haven’t described enough for them to see it vividly. They might discover a character disappeared and was left out for the rest of the book and you realize you either forgot to include them or missed adding the reason they disappeared.

Feedback from beta readers is often generic. For example, they might say: there’s a scene missing. (The book jumps too fast from scene A to B.)

As much as you think you’ve caught everything, even after 100 drafts, trust me when I say this (because I speak from experience): a reader will always find something your eyes have glazed over. I’ve read tons of books with plot holes and endings that were cut short without a second book to answer questions.

Often writers will choose one or the other, beta readers or critique swaps. If you’re a new writer, I recommend both. Get beta readers on board early so you can get overall feedback, before taking the plunge with more constructive and targeted feedback with critiques.

Where can you find beta readers?

Beta reader Facebook groups
Story Origin’s Beta Reader feature
Twitter hashtags: #betareader #critiquepartner #cpswap

My Services:
Beta Read
– General feedback provided in a final summary letter, tackling plot, characterization, worldbuilding, and more.
$0.002/word
(ex: 50,000 word book = $100)
Minimum charge: $15

Critiques 

This choice is best when you’re working with an initial draft of your manuscript. You’ll receive (general) critical feedback on developmental concerns without paying the developmental price. These are often done with other authors in similar genres.

Steps:

  1. Read through the work and make in-text comments covering topics:
    1. Character arcs
    2. Plot holes
    3. Consistency
    4. Copyediting/terminology concerns
  2. When possible or necessary, summarize a chapter’s pros and cons at the end, and again at the very end of the book including:
    1. What worked and what didn’t
    2. Anything that was missing
    3. What stood out to you most
    4. If it’s a series, how it relates to and fits with the series details and trends of narrative voice (does it fit the brand of the series?)
  3. A final summary critique sheet can be really helpful when doing swaps.

You can view here: Sample Critique Sheet This is a document I created to provide the most feedback on a manuscript in the smallest amount of space.

It can still be overwhelming. I always encourage writers to read through the completed sheet first because it contains more general concerns (developmental), and then look through the details of the in-text notes. It doesn’t make sense to use your precious time to edit details of a section only to decide to cut it later.

My Services:
Sample Critique
– First five pages or Chapter 1, get in-depth text commenting and overall summary
(FREE)
Full Critique – In-text comments on above topics, final summary letter with filled out Critique Sheet.
$0.003/word
(ex: 50,000 word book = $150)

Minimum charge: $20

Developmental Edits 

Making a story comprehensible, inspiring, entertaining and without holes is critical for reader enjoyment.

This is the heavy edit of:

  1. Inciting Incidents
  2. Character design and arcs
  3. Worldbuilding
  4. Backstory/History
  5. Plotlines
  6. Conflict and tension
  7. Timeline
  8. POV and perspectives
  9. Chapter breaks and transitions

Steps:

  1. Read through the work and make comments on:
    1. Each action of characters and if it contributes to their arc
    2. Does the character’s voice seem to be consistent? Is each character learning and growing or experiencing changes which will lead to their ultimate realization/aha moment?
    3. Consistency of world rules, terminology, events, vehicle/ship/building layouts, EVERYTHING
    4. Do the founding principles that have contributed to the situation line up with the current happenings?
    5. Plot holes, subplots and if they help or hurt the story
    6. Does each chapter follow a hook, catch, and release conflict and tension pattern? And does it contribute to the overall plot?
    7. Does the timeline make sense, agree with itself in terms of events, and does it support the story?
    8. Is the POV consistent? Are the perspecives?
    9. Do the chapters break in useful places: event changes, time shifts, perspective switches, etc.?
  2. If you do in-line edits of someone else’s or (or your own) make sure you have Track Changes turned on
  3. Fill out a summary critique sheet (link above)
  4. Make an even more general summary to consolidate the most critical, overarching, things to tackle

Full DE Edit – In-depth in-text comments on above topics, chapter summaries, final summary letter with filled-out Critique Sheet.
$0.025/word
(ex: 50,000 word book = $1,250)
Minimum charge: $30

Line Editing

Packing a punch with every line and continually advancing the story are important components of keeping your readers hooked. This type of editing will address the arrangement of the lines for the flow of the story and may include a handful of developmental or copy editing concerns.

This type of editing assesses:

  1. Narrator’s voice
  2. Rhythm
  3. Pacing
  4. Precision of language
  5. Conciseness of the writing
  6. Adverb use
  7. Transitions for flow
  8. Dialogue and tags

Steps:

  1. Read the work and check every line of your manuscript for:
    1. consistency and effectiveness of narrator’s voice
    2. Does the rhythm of each line ebb and flow in a musical pattern, or is it jarring?
    3. Does the pacing flow smoothly and transition unnoticeably or is some of the writing stilted and telling one moment then massively descriptive in the next paragraph?
    4. Is the language precise? It was a vehicle. vs. It was an old, weathered truck your grandfather would’ve driven on the farm, pale blue paint flaking off the bed rails. SPECIFICITY
    5. Conciseness of the writing: The cart was yellow and sat atop four wheels. vs. It was a yellow wagon.
    6. He really wasn’t completely sure if he could possibly take the job. vs. He wasn’t sure if he could take the job.
    7. Does each line and paragraph shift smoothly into the next? Are transitional phrases included?
    8. Are the dialogue patterns for each character consistent? Are dialogue tags missing or overused?
  2. If you do in-line edits of someone else’s or (or your own) make sure you have Track Changes turned on
  3. Make an even more general summary to consolidate the most critical, overarching, things to tackle

Full LE Edit – In-text comments and track changes on above topics, chapter summaries, final summary letter with filled out Critique Sheet.
$0.03/word
(ex: 50,000 word book = $1,500)
Minimum charge: $25

Copyediting

Not the best with commas or understanding subject-verb agreements? How about dangling modifiers? This level of editing will fix those things. Readers are more likely to notice misspelled words, too many commas, and run-on sentences than a minor subplot hole. This stage of editing is crucial for getting your book to that professional-quality level. Do you know what a dangling modifier is? (This is a common error.)

What this covers:

  1. Spelling
  2. Punctuation
  3. Grammar
  4. Repetition & Redundancies if Line Edits have missed any
  5. Vague or Abstract Wording
  6. Homonyms

This one is more mechanical and involves far less subjective decision-making.

If you do in-line edits of someone else’s or (or your own) make sure you have Track Changes turned on.

Full CE Edit – In-text comments and track changes on above topics, chapter summaries, final summary letter with filled out Critique Sheet.
$0.02/word
(ex: 50,000 word book = $1,000)
Minimum charge: $20

Proofreads

If your work has been through developmental, line, and copyedits and you want a back-up set of eyes for reassurance, this is the choice for you.

Steps:

  1. Read through the book and check for:
    1. Errors in grammar and mechanics that were missed
    2. Consistency of terms, names, descriptions, plot, characters, etc.
    3. Repetitions and redundancies
    4. Formatting, book design – any chopped off pages or paragraphs, pages with one line, image positioning, footnotes

My Services:
Full Proofread
– In-text comments and track changes, summary letter
$0.005/word
(ex: 50,000 book = $250)
Minimum charge: $20

Author Confidence Booster

Feeling discouraged? Not sure if you should quit or keep going? Need someone to point out the good stuff without the bad, just so you know what to focus on building? Perhaps your peers or family aren’t being supportive. It can be difficult to be a writer for so many reasons.

What do I get with an ACB?
I’ll read your book and only give you positive feedback. (This is a complimentary service with any editing package (DE, LE, CE). But if you just need to be lifted up to keep going, you can purchase this separately.

Send me your book. I’ll read it and fill out an Author Confidence Booster sheet I created, which I’ll send to you when I’m done. This isn’t just simply what I like. I will point out the techniques and skills you possess and excel at. I know getting edits and critiques can be daunting and often make people feel like quitting. My hope is this will combat that negativity.

$0.002/word
(ex: 50,000 word book = 100)

Rush Orders

If you’re desperate for editing and need it in under two weeks, the cost will go up 50%. Why so much? Because I will have to move other projects around, and work longer and later hours to get it done.

Please be aware, I don’t check business email on weekends. This time is for my family.

Consultation

If you don’t know which stage you’re at in your writing or where to start with the editing process, just send me a message. I know authorship can be frustrating. I love helping others. I love stories of all genres. And I want everyone to be proud of their work.

Why are your prices lower than most editors?

My prices are my own because that’s what I think my time is worth. But I’m also not a full-time editor. I have books I want to publish and covers to design.

How long will my book take?
That depends on how long your book is, what your experience is as a writer, and how complex your writing is. I’ll do quality work in as efficient a manner as possible so you and I can get on to publishing!

I currently work with Word (.doc/.docx) and Google Docs. Just be sure to permit me “suggesting” or “editing” mode if using Google. I can take paper manuscripts.

How will you charge me?

After your free sample critique, we’ll discuss your next steps. I completely understand if you want time to revise again before sending your book my way. When you’re ready, we’ll take the total word count of your book and use the per word prices above to calculate the total cost.

I require half of that total upfront. When the book is done, I’ll bill you for what’s left.

Invoices are sent via PayPal.

Genres I’m most familiar with:

Fiction
Science Fiction (Alien Invasion/Colonization/Cyberpunk/Space Marine/Military/Galactic Empire/Dystopian/Supernatural/Thriller/Techno-thriller)
Fantasy (Urban/Paranormal)
Romance (Christian/Clean/Sweet/Steamy/Holiday/Paranormal/Western/Small Town)
Women’s Fiction
Inspirational Fiction
Mystery
Thrillers
Children’s

Non-fiction
Fitness
Nutrition
Self-help
DIY
Medical
Self-publishing

Contact Form:

My Training:

I have taken classes from the Writers’ League of Texas, Editorial Freelancers Association, and Writers’ Digest University (copyediting certificate). I’ve also published ten novels, thirteen novellas, a few short stories in science fiction & fantasy, sweet romance, steamy paranormal romance, and a children’s book. I am familiar with Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play (ebook & audio), and Amazon KDP. I’ve worked in Word and Google Docs. I’m a prior personal trainer, experienced with special conditions.

There’s just nothing better than holding your finished book, cover and all, in hand for the first time. I want you to know that joy, pride, and relief too.

I wish you the best. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

***

Amy is the self-published author of 25+ titles (under various pseudonyms), a trained editor, and an author supporter. She holds two Bachelor’s Degrees from Oregon State University (Interior Design, Exercise Sport Science), is a veteran, and worked for several years as a personal trainer. Now, she writes, edits, formats, designs covers, publishes, markets her own books, and helps other authors do the same.

Looking for Books to Help You Edit Yourself?

Self-Editing for Fiction Authors

Developmental Editing

The Artful Edit

Best Punctuation Book, Period.

Intuitive Editing

Programs to help you edit:

ProWriting Aid

This breaks down everything in colorful blocks, from redundancies to repetition and diction. Said “know” way too many times in the last 500 words? This program will highlight them all.

Grammarly

This program will help you tone your writing to be clear and concise. It catches grammar mistakes as well as dangling modifiers and has a great thesaurus feature if you use a particular word too often.

Testimonials

L. A. Barton

[Amy] is encouraging, mindful, and great to work with. I particularly enjoy her “critique questions” document as it got me thinking about each moving part of my novel. Her feedback has been an integral part of moving forward with the next draft of my novel and I’d be more than happy to have her eyes on my work again.

Writer, Speaker

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J. Aichinger

I am a first time indie author, who was lucky enough to be offered a free review of my first book and a critique of my second by [Amy]. Having had a number of negative experiences with people reading my drafts, I was naturally a little nervous of giving anyone the chance to see my unfinished work. I am glad to say that working with [Amy] has turned that view around.

Quite simply, it was a joy to work with [Amy]. She was both professional and knowledgeable, while at the same time personal and friendly. Within days of having received my work she had moved up her schedule to support my first book’s release, published a review on that book and provided a number of useful tips to publishing and gaining exposure that I was unaware of.

[Amy]’s review was thorough, insightful and honest in both the triumphs and flaws of my work. Unlike many reviews it was not simply a paragraph indicating a like or dislike of the story, but an in-depth analysis that informed without giving away anything of the plot. It left me, the author, wanting to know more about what she had read.

Shortly afterwards [Amy] surprised and delighted me yet again with her critique of my second, unpublished, book. Having read on from the first in the series, it was an astonishingly tight turnaround. I received a full 9 pages of notes on both the positive aspects of my story so far, as well as its potential areas of improvement. Every sentence of the feedback was valuable and meaningful without a wasted word.

What really made [Amy]’s review special was the clear passion she holds for good writing and her transparency of her thoughts on a piece. A competent reviewer will tell you what needs to be improved; [Amy] will take you into the mind of your reader.

C. Badders

[Amy] gave probably one of the best critiques of my first novel. From line editing sentences to overall story editing she’s a great choice for editing your work.