The final step in preparing your manuscript for publication is formatting. This takes place after proofreading and applies to both print books and eBooks. If you’re self-publishing, or publishing through a house that requires you to provide a ready-to-publish manuscript, you’ll need a professional. Formatting requires design skills, typesetting knowledge and specialized software. Doing your own formatting (especially in Word) can result in the “amateur” look that deters potential readers and reviewers. Additionally, eBooks need to be optimized across platforms. What looks good on one reading device may not look good on another. An expert can ensure your book looks professional on every device.
Cover art can convey the essence of a book and grab readers’ attention. While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we all do—so a great cover makes a difference. A professional graphic designer can help your book stand out.
Who to contact
I recommend Jessica Sun Lee for all your book design needs, from formatting to cover art and beyond. She can also create a fantastic website for you. Click here to learn more.
Your book at its best
This page describes my book editing services for fiction authors. If you’re looking for business editing instead, click here.
Are you writing literary fiction or genre fiction? Do you have a semi-autobiographical family story or an all-out fantasy epic? Is your novel scary, exciting, funny, sexy or bleak? Are you writing a compelling memoir or a brilliant self-help book? I love every kind of book, and am well versed in just about every genre. (All I do is read. And edit.)
If you’re planning to self-publish, I’ll use my gift for the written word and my finely honed sense of narrative structure to make your work the best it can be. As I guide you through the editing process, I’ll respectfully point out your book’s strengths and weaknesses, giving you clear recommendations to strengthen your story and improve your manuscript.
I work in Microsoft Word using Track Changes, so you should be familiar with using that program.
My basic book editing services are described below. If you’re looking for a service that isn’t listed, please get in touch. You can find more information about packages, rates and exactly what you’ll get here.
The right start
What your book will need depends on your strengths as a writer. Because early feedback can be vital to keeping you focused and on track, I offer two affordable sample packages, each with a different focus.
If you’ve never worked with an editor before and are unsure about the process, this is a good way to see the type of feedback an editor provides so you can determine if my services are right for you. And if you do select me for a full developmental or line edit of your manuscript after testing out “The right start,” I’ll deduct the cost of this service from your final bill. Find out more here.
1) “The right start” developmental edit+
I’ll review your detailed novel synopsis/plot summary and 10 pages of your book. For an average-length novel of 60,000 to 80,000 words, the maximum length of your synopsis should be eight double-spaced pages. My developmental feedback will address your plot, story arc and themes, and my line edits will call out any obvious writing issues so you’ll know what needs work.
2) “The right start” combined edit
I’ll line edit, copy edit and proofread 10 pages of your book. You’ll get a good feel for the editing process at the paragraph, sentence and word levels. (This package does not include any developmental editing or evaluation of your plot, themes, etc.)
Whole manuscript review (developmental editing)
You’ve poured your heart and soul into your work—not to mention countless hours. Now it’s time for a fresh pair of eyes and an impartial review to analyze how well your book comes together. Are there plot holes? Character inconsistencies? Confusion? I’ll take an objective look at your story, plot, characters and themes. A developmental edit is not a line or copy edit. It’s all about assessing your structure, content direction and vision.
Polishing your prose (line editing)
Small changes count. Going line by line, I’ll tighten your writing to make it shine and flow smoothly. I’ll untangle confusing paragraphs and sentences, remove needless word padding, fix awkward dialogue and much more. I’ll tweak and polish your prose as needed to ensure that YOUR voice is coming through the way you intend.
Final copy edit and proofreading
Copy editing rechecks your work at the sentence level, and proofreading takes it down to the word level. They are the final steps in preparing your manuscript for layout and publication, and take place after you have addressed issues uncovered in a developmental edit and/or a line edit. If your novel has already been edited by someone else, I can copy edit and proofread it to catch grammatical and spelling errors, inconsistencies (e.g., calling a character by the wrong name) and problems such as misplaced or omitted words.
I don’t recommend using the same person for line editing and copy editing/proofreading. A line editor will have already worked closely with your manuscript, and a copy editor/proofreader works best when they are coming to a manuscript with totally fresh eyes. If I have edited your novel, I can refer you to my highly skilled associate for proofreading.