The first thing I need to say is that I love lists. They impose order onto chaos. Therefore, my emails will contain a list, whenever I can manage it.
Thing-2: I work nights, whenever possible, which means you’re most likely to hear from me between 2pm and 2am EST.
I take your book and read it, preferably in one sitting. I make notes for myself as I’m reading, and then, I sleep on it.
The next day, I will assemble an email from those notes, detailing any issues I found with pacing, character, plot, etc.
In this round, I don’t often leave comments in the manuscript, though sometimes I do, with a note “see letter” or “Per letter, this is an example of xyz.”
This round does NOT use Track Changes. It gets too messy!
After you’ve addressed the issues from that letter, at whatever pace you need, I’ll take the manuscript again. This time, I’m reading to see how well the changes fit into the story, whether or not they’ve created issues anywhere else, and I will trim extraneous words*, as well as marking spelling, grammar, commas, and other ‘nitpicks’.
This round does use Track Changes, and…yes, it does look pretty messy…
Often, I will ask to see a book again after this round, to clean up any further issues, to make sure we haven’t orphaned any sentences or paragraphs in the previous rounds. Sometimes, I simply want to check my own work, or look at a specific scene or issue to make sure we’ve done all we can.
At this point, I will recommend you find a proofreader to go over the book one more time for errors that we might have missed. Things like ‘an’ instead of ‘and’, which spell check might not catch, but which will affect the reader experience.
This is where it’s important for me to note that my suggestions are that– suggestions. This is YOUR book, always. If you feel a change isn’t right for the story, tell me. We’ll find another way to address the issue. Edits are never supposed to make you feel bad. The best edits will make you eager to dive in, because you see the problem and you know how to fix it, and it’s going to make things BETTER. If that’s not the case, talk to me. Editing is a conversation, first and foremost.
— a list which will expand over time…
- if you’re not familiar with Track Changes, I have a handy little document to introduce you to the most important features we’ll be using.
- I do not invoice until Round 2.
- I will do “Round One” only — that is, a story-level analysis of a book–for a fee (see rates). This will not catch any spelling, grammatical, or other errors, and is merely an analysis of the story itself with a specific focus on structure and character arc.
- My superpower is to trim words. This can’t be overstated. I will make your book shorter.
- Edits are a dialogue. Always. I’m happy to talk them out, bounce around ideas, whatever you need. Always.