Developmental Editing

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Developmental Editing (Substantive Editing) is an objective, professional analysis of your book.

Gain confidence. Get the independent feedback you want and need. This positive, helpful process helps you get perspective on your manuscript.


In my experience, I find that most new fiction and nonfiction authors make the deadly mistake of submitting their book for copy editing before it is ready for that.

  • A good copy editor will see all the problems in the structure and content of your book and tell you about them. However, at that point, you’ll have to pay for another expensive round of copy editing after you have made your revisions.
  • Sadly, a bad copy editor will ignore the obvious flaws in your manuscript, and you’ll publish your book, warts and all, to bad reviews.

You can’t depend on the opinion of your mom, friend or former teacher to give you objective input about your book. They all bring baggage that keeps them from offering you a clear, concise view of your writing. They may love you, but most lack the technical knowledge to know if a book is well-structured and if there is a market for it. You need an independent expert to evaluate your book before you advance to the next stage, which is copy editing.


What You Receive

  • A comprehensive analysis of your book structure and content.
  • A helpful evaluation of your writing style from an objective point of view.
  • A positive critique of specific elements you can change, if you wish, to make your book better.
  • A professional opinion about your book’s potential for commercial success including some preliminary market research.
  • I catch hidden issues, problems and blunders before you pay for copy editing.
  • No canned material or generic commentary—you get a personalized, objective appraisal of your book.
A standing offer. If you hire me to do your book copy editing later, I’ll deduct 30% of your developmental editing fee from your copy editing fee. Many authors overlook the value of developmental editing, so I’m willing to adjust my fee so you can gain the advantage of an objective analysis of your book before the copy editing stage.
Feedback about your first draft will help you perfect your book. See my philosophy about working with authors here. The goal is to help you create a book you will be proud to publish.

  • I read the first draft of your manuscript carefully and prepare a 5-15 page report based on the issues I see. The length of my report depends on the word count of your book and the number of issues I discover.
  • In addition, we’ll have an up to 30-minute telephone conversation (USA only) to discuss the report, answer questions or strategize about possible revisions for your second draft. Outside of the USA? We can use Skype.

See my credentials here.


Developmental Editing Fee

My fee for Developmental Editing is $395 for up to 30,000 words. Add $9 per thousand words beyond that. Word count is based on Microsoft Word statistics. Fees are not refundable for any reason since I expend the time and expertise to read your book to create your report.

  • Delivery time is based on my workload at the time I receive your book, but it is often 7-10 working days (M-F). I will meet the deadline we set together.
  • A completed first draft is strongly preferred. You may send a work-in-progress if it is well along, but your fee pays for a one-time evaluation, not an ongoing evaluation of your work-in-progress. Copy editing is not included.

Contact me and tell me briefly about your needs. I’ll respond promptly.

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