A professional editor can make all the difference for a book that sells.
Whether you’re self-publishing or interested in traditional publishing, professional editing is a necessary step in the preparation of a book. A good editor is not your best friend, the one who was an English major in college, it’s a professional editor who has years of experience helping bring authors’ voices forward clearly, who relies on the Chicago Manual of Style (the industry standard in book publishing), and who will get the essential questions answered before the manuscript is stamped “final.” Your book deserves readers and you deserve success.
I am a full-service editor with thirty-five years of experience with developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and editing anthologies. Before becoming an independent freelance editor in 2001 I was an editor for Ten Speed Press, Chronicle Books, Ortho Books, and Crown Publishing, editing travel books, cookbooks, self-help books, and more. Independently, I’ve edited hundreds of memoirs and other nonfiction manuscripts for writers, songwriters, lawyers, philosophers, professors, scientists, psychologists, retirees, and entrepreneurs. You can read about some of my clients here.
The types of editing I do:
Structural issues and completeness of content are the central focus of a developmental edit. Developmental editing considers the broader strokes of a book, important in its earlier stages. I provide detailed notes in the pages and in review notes with return of the manuscript.
With memoir, in developmental editing the first concern is the visibility of the main concept, or “spine” of the story. It’s from this core that all else comes. I look for the take-aways, the essential relatability, the universality in the personal story that’s needed. I consider story structure for its reflection of the author’s growth, otherwise known as the narrative arc. I address the elements that make a memoir a page turner: pacing, scene construction, character development, handling of time, and voice. Where it fits I suggest dialog to animate the narrative. I make notes in the manuscript about where these elements are working and where they are not, I suggest they be added. I work with completed manuscripts and manuscripts in progress, provide written notes, and include a follow-up 30-minute phone call in the fee.
With nonfiction, I consider the outline and structure of the book and make sure the voice and format is the most appropriate for the topic.
A developmental edit starts with a free 15-minute consultation.
Coaching can be helpful when you have a manuscript in development or have an idea or an outline to work from and can use guidance, feedback, and support. Be sure to check out my coaching services.
It’s time for a line edit when a manuscript is finished and ready for refinement before publication or before seeking an agent or traditional publisher.
I use Tracked Changes in Word to show the edits made and allow for your consideration of the edits before accepting them into the final manuscript. I edit for clarity, suggesting what can be omitted to keep the writing vivid. I note passive sentence structure and overlong sentences. I correct punctuation and spelling, mark inconsistencies in name spelling and capitalization issues, and query the author regarding facts that will require checking.
Requested rewriting, or what may be called light ghostwriting, is available for an additional fee.
Anthologies are books created from collected writings by various authors often on a particular topic. I have published two anthologies and besides editing can offer advice regarding the use of interview transcripts and consult on structure and content.
Developmental and line editing: I provide an estimate based on manuscript length (word count) after seeing the first ten pages and bill at an hourly rate. Half of the estimated fee is due to start with the balance due at completion.
For line editing I offer a sample edit of 2,000 words for $150 to be sure we’re the right fit.
Suzanne Sherman’s input has taken my memoir to a level I would never have attained without her. I keep being amazed at her ability to hone in on problem spots, restructure the chapters, identify the emotional heart of the story, and improve my overall writing. I have worked with other editors but none have come close to providing what Suzanne has contributed, and I am beyond grateful for her expertise, dedication, and encouragement. — Jason Blume, Hit songwriter and author of 6 Steps to Songwriting Success, Inside Songwriting, and This Business of Songwriting (Billboard Books)
I appreciate and admire Suzanne’s work and professionalism. I think she may be the finest editor I’ve ever encountered in my long career. — Lewis Vaughn, author of over 20 books, including Star Map: A Journey of Faith, Doubt, and Meaning
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Put out your best when you publish
and the best will come back to you.