Comprehensive Manuscript Editing

What is comprehensive manuscript editing?

Many book editors and editing services break editing into a menu of options from which you must choose and pay individually.

As a developmental book editor, my job is to help you bring your full manuscript up to the highest professional and marketable standard that we can achieve. Dividing editing into pieces and making you choose which you will receive does not serve that end. My approach is to provide, for one price, comprehensive manuscript editing, which includes all of the following kinds of work:

Editor Lisa Dale Norton's writing desk at her cabin in the Sandhills. Author of the bestselling book Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir, Norton is an expert at editing and teaching memoir writing. Her desk is covered with notecards, papers, mementoes and a collection of quartz rocks found on rambles which she uses to anchor her papers. Norton is the author of the literary memoir Hawk Flies Above: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills compared to the writing of Annie Dillard. Both Norton's books are published by St. Martin's Press, New York.

Line Editing—ferrets out craft problems, like inconsistencies in tone, clichés, deficient descriptions, too much telling instead of showing, passive verb choices, dialogue that doesn’t work, imagery that scuttles the atmosphere of your project, and many more elements that go into making a manuscript ready for publishers.

Developmental Editing—locates deeper story problems and helps you develop the writing to fix them. Story arc/structure problems, and character development are common examples. Theme, tone and voice issues often need attention.

Copy editing—aligns your manuscript with the style publishers use. I employ The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam Webster, as do most book publishers. I know the rules and make sure your manuscript follows them.

Proofreading—perfects pages that are ready to go to the printer. Most writers are not at this stage, but you may be if you are self-publishing. It’s about punctuation, paragraph indents, word spacing, italics, typefaces, and the like.

How does all this editing work for my project?

Depending on where you are in the development of your manuscript, each of the above forms of editing will come into play to greater and lesser degrees.

For example, if the manuscript you deliver to me has multiple line editing and copy editing problems, and on top of that there are large structural issues, or conceptual/thematic issues at play in the material—and these larger issues are going to require rewriting—I will not minutely copy edit every single page. To do so would be redundant because you will be rewriting those pages.

While I will do much close editing on the pages of such a manuscript, that editing exists as a way to teach you the correct approach. For example, if you always use the wrong word, or incorrect punctuation, or passive verb constructions, I will note, correct, and explain several times—expecting you to learn from these lessons. Consequently, I may not correct the word, punctuation, or verb construction every single time it appears (especially as I reach the latter pages of the manuscript).

If on the other hand, you deliver to me a clean, smart, well-honed manuscript, with a studied understanding and execution of story goal, and few structural issues, I will closely copy edit every single page, because you will be doing very little or no revision.

My task is to work with you, as the author. You have strengths as a writer. It’s my job to identify those strengths and help you capitalize on them. I will make corrections and ask questions and clarify craft concepts on your pages. You will be responsible for interacting with those comments and deciding which are right for your goals with your project. This is the essence of developmental editing: we develop together a better, more engaging, and marketable product.

Once your edited manuscript and my Editorial Report have been returned to you, we schedule a phone consultation during which we discuss your questions and concerns. When you are ready to begin your revision, you will enter into your digital document the changes you find appropriate.

I will remain available to help as you move your manuscript toward a publishable piece of writing.

How do I begin working with you?

To begin working with me as a client, send an e-mail with your questions. Click here to contact me.

The next step will be to send your manuscript as an e-mail attachment in Word to lisadalenorton@gmail.com. I’ll put together an invoice for you so you can see what your fees will be.

What happens next?

I format, print, and edit your manuscript writing comments on your pages so you will have a guide for revision, and growth as a writer. Your manuscript is returned digitally (if under 20 pages), or via the post office, along with an Editorial Report that identifies what works and what doesn’t work in the manuscript. I explain why problems exist and show you how to fix them. Once you’ve received your manuscript and studied my Report, we schedule your consultation and connect by phone, or Skype, to discuss the material, and plan strategies for project development and completion.

Fees

Comprehensive Manuscript Editing: $12/page. Returning clients receive a discount to $10/page. (A page is measured by the industry standard of 250 words/page.)

Consultation: A one-hour consultation is built into the Comprehensive Manuscript Editing package. It is billed at $150. This consultation takes place after I have returned your edited manuscript and my Editorial Report, and you have had time to go over everything and prepare for the consultation.

Office expenses: Printing and copying of manuscripts at $.17/page, and the cost of return mailing. (Short manuscripts—under 20 pages—can be returned digitally.) Standard mailing fee is $10.00. Larger manuscripts incur higher fees.

Billing: New clients pay one-half of the total editing fee at the beginning of the editorial process. The remainder is due upon delivery of the completed manuscript. Payment is via PayPal where you have the option to use credit and debit cards. On-going clients may pay with check.

Payment plans are available. Inquire.

 

Ask your questions: click here.