'First drafts are shit.'
– Ernest Hemingway (yes, really!)
It can be hard to work out what level of editorial support you need. Here are details of the three levels of service I offer, but if you're still uncertain, feel free to drop me an email and we'll talk it over.
1. Manuscript critique
If you're stuck on your novel, or you're not feeling confident that it's ready to be unleashed on the world, this is a good place to start. I'll read your manuscript carefully and write you an editorial letter, five to twelve pages long, that takes an in-depth look at your novel, with a view to making it the best it can possibly be.
The report will include an analysis of structure and characters, a look at the book's strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement. I won't be grading your writing as if it were homework; I'll be coming up with fresh ideas to bolster what you've already got. The idea is for you to come away inspired and energised, ready to create.
- £399 for a short novel (50,000-90,000 words)
- £449 for a medium-length novel (90,000-110,000 words)
- £499 for a long novel (110,000-130,000)
I offer a 30% discount on a second reading & report on an amended draft.
An author writes...
Her report was extensive, detailed, and concise, and not only highlighted issues, but offered considered solutions to those issues; practical things I could do to improve my manuscript. If you wish to know what needs fixing with your work, and how to fix it, then I would recommend Carrie without hesitation.
2. Full developmental edit
If you plan to self-publish, your book will benefit from a full developmental edit. You'll receive an appraisal as detailed above, but I'll also go through your manuscript carefully and edit the text to eliminate the problems I've identified. For example, if a key scene isn't suspenseful enough, I can rework it so as to step up the tension. If you have a gaping plot hole, I'll find a way to fill it. If your dialogue is sloppy, I'll tighten it up. By the end, not only will your novel be immeasurably improved, but you'll be a better writer, too.
Of course, the edits I make are only suggestions: I use Word's Track Changes feature and Comments boxes, so you can choose to accept or reject the alterations. The book remains in your own unique voice. If there's something you really do need to change, such as a libel issue, I'll make you aware of that. (There are certain things that are guaranteed to annoy reviewers on Amazon - and you know how nasty they can be!)
Please note that this is not a copy-edit: I won't be fixing spelling, grammar, punctuation or any small technical issues like that. This is about building a fresh, strong, enthralling story.
Prices: It's hard to give a cast-iron rate for developmental editing, as so much depends on the manuscript, but generally my rates range from £900 (short novel) to £1,600 (long novel). Please email me if you'd like a more specific quote. The process of developmental editing takes about three weeks.
Another author writes...
Carrie gave huge encouragement, and not only highlighted potential problems, but gave wonderful suggestions of how to fix them. As a result, the final work is immeasurably stronger.
When you feel you've done all the rewrites and revisions you can, it's time to have your manuscript copy-edited. This is a sentence-level edit where I check all your spellings and grammar, punctuation, flow, pacing, factual errors, consistency, and so on. If you're submitting to literary agents or publishers, you'll benefit from having a clean, copy-edited manuscript; some agents automatically reject works as soon as they spot a few mistakes. If you're self-publishing, this step is essential. Amazon reviewers can be very pernickety.
You'll benefit from my expertise as a fiction editor, because I will pick up on issues such as overuse of filter words, 'crutch' words, ineffectual dialogue tags, POV (point of view) problems, repetitive sentence structure, and many other novelistic bad habits. The copy-editing service also includes fact-checking and a bit of larger-scale error-checking, so if you've got, say, a 15-year gap in a character's chronology, I'll let you know.
It's difficult to say how many pages can be copy-edited in an hour, because it all depends on the state of the text. If you're not sure, you can send me the total word count plus a sample page and I'll send the page back copy-edited, for free, with an estimate.
Proofreading is a specialised skill that involves checking text which has already been copy-edited and typeset. It's not something I'm trained in, but you can find a qualified proofreader on the SfEP directory.
If you give me your manuscript with a view to getting a report on it, or having it edited, and I find it's not in good enough shape for such a service, then I reserve the right to charge a reading fee of £75. In this case, I would read the whole text carefully and send you a detailed letter explaining where the problems lie, perhaps suggesting some steps you might take to fix them.