Following are the writing services that I offer.
People are frequently confused by the many different editing forms and the fees they command. Here is a brief explanation.
Line Editing: Literally, going through a manuscript line by line and fixing errors in punctuation, grammar, spelling, and syntax.
(Syntax: the way in which words are put together to form phrases or clauses.)
Revision Editing: Same as line editing, plus: rewriting sentences and paragraphs, rearranging phrases, clauses, paragraphs, and/or sections, and making additions or deletions as editor deems necessary.
Developmental Editing: Taking revision a step further, this is usually done in consultation with the writer. Developmental editing can include adding, deleting or changing a character, plot, or entire sections of the manuscript. It can mean moving chapters around, or making significant alterations to scenes and/or dialog. It can be quite extensive. Sometimes the editor will make suggestions to the writer, who will then make the changes (or not if in disagreement). If both parties agree, the editor usually goes ahead and makes the changes. Developmental Editing is what professional editors do most often. When I take on a manuscript, I prefer to be given carte blanche on developmental editing, with author consultation and approval.
There are even more types of editors, such as Acquisition Editors in publishing houses, or Desk Editors at large newspapers, but they’re irrelevant to the work I do as a freelancer. I suspect we’ll be seeing more editorial functions evolve along with the Internet.
Writing / Ghostwriting
In order for editing to take place, we obviously need an existing manuscript, no matter what shape it’s in. However, there are some people in this world — quite a few, actually — who simply cannot or will not write one single word. That’s where I come in.
I work in almost every conceivable genre: novels; full-length books of non-fiction; feature stories; memoirs; short fiction; blog posts; catalog descriptions; academic articles; and business materials such as brochures, press releases, and e-books. Sometimes I get credit as the writer or co-writer (“as told to” or “with”); sometimes I work anonymously as a ghostwriter (and sign a confidentiality agreement.)
The Internet has given rise to a surge in entrepreneurship and motivational speaking, which in turn has given rise to an increased demand for ghostwriters. Entrepreneurs with specialties in high finance, nutrition, fitness, and dog training — to name just a few — are finding they need a book, or even several, to use as promotional tools. Just as I know little about entrepreneurship, these professionals frequently don’t know how to write a book, and hire professionals like me to do the job.
I’ve written books on topics like online niche dating; ethnic-based cooking and dieting; self-promotion; teaching kids about money; meeting millionaires for business or pleasure, and drama as a form of therapy (to name just a few). The entrepreneurs for whom I wrote these books were too busy running their businesses to do the writing themselves. It’s common sense: People whose writing skills are at best mediocre are wise to use their time doing what they do best, and pay someone skilled at writing to do that job.
Autobiographies, Family Histories and Memoirs
Everyone has a story to tell. It can be your family history, your entire life story, or a portion of your life that’s dramatic or unusual (you climbed Mt. Everest; your premature baby survived against all odds). These books frequently become best- sellers, even those about sad or difficult experiences—in fact, if handled right these can be inspiring, and everybody wants to be inspired.
Because the Internet enables us to do quick and thorough research, it’s sparked an explosion of interest in family roots and genealogy. More people than ever want to learn their family’s stories while the people who remember them are still around, and tell them to others. Sometimes this is just for family interest; other times for wide circulation. No matter what the purpose, compiling a family history is a complicated project that involves conducting and organizing research; tracking down and identifying old photos; interviewing people; and, of course, writing.
We writers joke about people who’ve never written a word but imagine they can easily produce a book, people who say “When I have time I’m going to write this story…” But time is not the only thing a writer needs, something that lay people only realize when they finally sit down in front of a blank page or a computer. Writing a book requires a skill set that not everyone has learned or developed. This is common sense: no matter what your profession, you need specific skills to perform it. If you’re a carpenter, you’re a wizard with hammer and nails. If you’re a surgeon, you perform miracles with a scalpel. As a writer, I know how to organize a large amount of material into a coherent, interesting narrative. And it takes me much less time than it takes someone who’s doing it for the first time: my first time was more than 30 years ago.
Allow me to listen to your story, read your notes, discuss your ideas with you, and then turn it all into the book you’ve been imagining you’ll write someday. Why not make someday now?
Editorial analysis is invaluable for any author. Even if a writer is also an experienced editor, as am I, an objective eye is absolutely essential to evaluate a finished manuscript. Wearing my editorial hat, I read it at least twice, and deliver a detailed report citing its strengths as well as weaknesses. I offer specific recommendations for improving anything that isn’t working.
Manuscript evaluation is a tender pursuit. Whereas I’m a hard-core editor when preparing articles for publication, when it comes to the process of writing fiction or creative nonfiction I’m more inclined to be gentle, knowing that harsh, insensitive criticism can damage rather than improve a piece of writing. As I wrote in Every Writer Deserves an Editor:
I’ve been on the writing side of this process enough to know the benefits of good editing. I almost always enjoy being edited: it‘s a real privilege just to have someone pay that much attention to my work…In a world where writing is so often ignored or trivialized, such attention is deeply satisfying…I still remember my best editors and how they helped me develop as a writer.
If you’re thinking of hiring me to evaluate a manuscript, please email first with the following information: genre, length, and your specific concerns. I’ll let you know when I can do an editorial analysis and estimate how much it will cost.
Mentorship / Tutoring
While teaching creative writing classes in San Francisco, I developed a system for working with students one-on-one outside the parameters of the classroom. Using email and occasional in-person meetings, I helped those who wanted to write but lacked knowledge of the craft and/or confidence in their abilities. Some students worked with me on a specific project, such as a novel; others practiced my exercises and assignments, using my feedback to hone their skills. Having undergone this same process as a writer, I know how to guide writers to overcome the internal barriers that can prevent us from using and developing our creative instincts.
To contact me about any of the above services, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Edit Where Edit’s Due: A Guest Post by Stephanie of Saltwater Publishing (catherineryanhoward.com)
- Editing – Personally and Professionally (genesedavis.com)
- More Literary and Manuscript Editing Services « the dog ate my novel