What is a developmental edit?
A developmental edit is a deep dive into the manuscript. It is a focus on style, structure, and content. It is the equivalent of having a writing workshop solely focused on your work. A good developmental editor can look at your novel and pinpoint where dialogue is falling flat, where plot is going stagnant, and ramp up characterization. This is a full length tour into scene-work, tension, artistic style and what needs to change for your novel. With a good book editor, a developmental edit walks a writer through a full draft. It is a close read that gazes at the big picture. Paragraph and page structure are examined, as well as broader examination of the intangibles: themes, subtext, and impression. At the end of a developmental edit you should have a changed piece of work in your hands, and a clearly outlined map on where to go from there.
How long does it take?
This isn't a process to be rushed. While a good book editor examines the craft mechanics, anyone who says they can turn a book around in a week should raise an eyebrow. Anywhere from 3-8 weeks can be expected from independent manuscript editorial services. With my clients, we touch base and review the first 50% of the manuscript half way through, and then outline a path of action. While preparing the feedback critique for the next half of the book, you should be digesting/hard at work on your revision of the first half. While this will not be reviewed as a close read, I often urge clients to claim a deadline for a revision that I check in on when our work is done.
I just want someone to fix all the grammar and typos before I send this out. How much does that cost?
Proof and line-reading services are widely available online and I can give recommendations to strong proofreaders. I do not offer proof or line only services. I'm interested in the art and working with you on the craft of your narrative. When undergoing a full developmental edit I will be pointing out where sentence structure and jagged edges of bad grammar come up, but our focus is on bringing fiery life to your story.
If I hire you to edit my book, will you represent it if you like it enough?
Unfortunately no. That is a conflict of interest. When you have agents offering to represent work they are paid to develop, that is the path to bad practices. We can talk about the right agents that may be a good fit for your work, or editors that would be interested in your style. We can also work on the proper querying tactics to help you, but there is no golden guarantee for editorial clients to gain representation. Your work will speak for itself on the proper stage, we are just here to make sure your performance is ready.
How much does it cost?
A full developmental edit costs $0.015 per word, or one and a half cents per word. You should send along your draft in Courier or Palotino font double-spaced. So if you have an 80,000 word manuscript, your total charge would be $1,200.00. The only other fee would be a printing fee if applicable. Payment is due at the beginning of the agreement. This is to insure the writer is dedicated to a very serious process, and to make sure the editor stays objective and doesn't mince words.
What are your credentials?
I am a literary agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates, and have been a publishing professional for three years. I am a writer who became an agent, which is apparently not the norm. I hold both a BA and MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing, and have been in vetted writing workshops for over a decade. As a literary agent, I've read thousands of manuscripts and queries, and worked with dozens of authors to get their books sold. As an editor I've found my ability to encompass both a writing and agent background gives me a unique perspective on editing books.
Do you outsource any editing work?
I do not. All work is done by me personally. A developmental edit is an in-depth process, and we'll be getting to know each other quite well during a few phone conversations.
What genres do you work on?
While in the publishing world, I focus mainly on Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative fiction from a publishing standpoint, below are my genres I've worked with a number of writers in.
- Literary Fiction
- Science Fiction
- Historical Fiction
- Young Adult
Do you recommend any other editors? How do I make sure I'm picking the right editor?
I don't accept every inquiry I receive for editorial projects. At the end of the day, I'm here to help writers, and sometimes that means pointing them towards someone who will connect with their work in a specialized way. There are a lot of bad editors out there who work off of kick-backs, don't have the right experience, and frankly are not doing a good job. These are folks I recommend.
Patrick J. LoBrutto - A name that has worked with the best in the business with decades of experience. From Stephen King to Dune, I have seen some of the best submissions come through his tutelage. He covers all genres, and in my opinion you can't go wrong.
Elizabeth Kracht - An associate and mentor of mine in Kimberley Cameron & Associates. Simply amazing. The best non-fiction, memoir, and commercial fiction editor I've come across. The work and depth she takes clients to is unmatched.
Michael Garrett - While I have never met or had correspondence with this editor, I've seen fantastic submissions as an agent from writers who have worked with him. Seems to be a high-caliber editor with a great track record.
So how does it work?
You can tell me about your project here. For query and synopsis critiques, I offer a fast turnaround and give detailed notes after editing your work.
For novel coaching, we discuss your project, your process, and set aggressive deadlines that I hold you to. You owe a certain amount of words per month, and I read them as we move forward through an entire first draft. This is for writers who haven't finished a book yet. Month-to-month, its a set amount of sessions and accountability. We keep in touch via email, and the occasional phone call.
For a developmental edit, you tell me about your project. If it seems like a good fit, we set a time to speak and you can learn about my process and focus, and what to expect out of the endeavor. If we agree on a timeline, we move forward. You will email your manuscript in a certain format, as well as pay a $35 print fee. I will read your book around 4 times. After the first read-through, I go back with an editorial eye after recording my initial impressions. From there I give detailed notes on what is working and not working in the manuscript. When it is complete, we have a conversation after I send the editorial letter (5-10 pages in length) that outlines certain variables of what needs to be worked on. We have a candid conversation, going in depth about your work, and ideas about it. I give you my honest appraisal and advice, and then at the end of the call I send along your manuscript with mark-up in digital format. These notes show physically where the tone, posture, plot, or characterization of the story is performing sub-par, or where there is reader confusion. After this edit, you should have a clear map on how to tackle your next draft, or you may be ready for querying and representation.
For those residing in the SF Bay Area, we can meet in person for your final review.
Standard turnaround time is 22 days.