Customized Writing Services
Manuscript and Project Evaluation Services
My "Big-Picture Manuscript Evaluation" service will tell you how close your manuscript is to being publishable-and what you need to do to take it the rest of the way. My "Project Evaluation" service will let you know, early on, if your project is likely to lead to a publishable manuscript.
Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs.
Big Picture Manuscript Evaluation [M1]
Finally, the day you've long been waiting for has arrived. You've finished the first draft of your novel or non-fiction book. If you're like many of my previous clients, you've made a series of feverish phone calls, looking for an editor. There are just two problems with this approach. First, it is hellishly expensive to get a complete book edited, at least if you want to get the job done right. The last time I checked, Canadian Editors' Association rates ranged from about $25 an hour to $100 or even more. (For your information, mine are somewhere near the middle of that range).
Editing is by its very nature extremely labour-intensive work-picky and detail-oriented. If any so-called editor tells you he or she isn't into details, that person is either lying, or is not a true editor. In my experience, the average, moderately-well written novel of 250 pages or so takes seven to ten days to edit. If you do the math, using the hourly rates I just quoted, you will quickly see that the fee is likely to be well up in the four-digit range. That's a lot more than most writers can, or in my view should, spend.
Secondly, while a complete edit will lead to a better book in most cases, it's not necessarily the best and certainly not the most economical or time-efficient way to deal with problems of structure, tone, characterization, or even diction. The conventional edit is all about details. In the process, big-picture problems like those just mentioned can easily get lost in the shuffle.
What to do, then? Over the years, I've developed a quicker, more humane, and much more cost-effective approach to the problem. I will read your book carefully, taking note of its strengths as well as its weaknesses. I'll make a few brief notes on grammar, punctuation, and the like, but I won't even attempt to comment on detail on these matters. Then, I will prepare a fairly brief (2-4 page) comment outlining the book's strengths and weaknesses, and telling you how close I think the book is to being ready for publication and what you need to do to get it ready for publication.
No, this service doesn't amount to a complete edit. But most writers I've worked with have found that it gives them most of the tools they need to do their own editing job-and to do it more quickly and easily than they would have done had I not read their book. That's why my "big picture evaluation" has become the service I provide most frequently. Quite simply, this approach works, and it doesn't break the bank.
$200 for first 20,000 words and $150 for each additional 20,000 words, with a $200 minimum fee. I'm willing to do a second evaluation of your edited version for half the initial fee. Those using this service also receive a 10% discount on all workshops for the next two years.
Initial Project Evaluation [M2]
On numerous occasions, I've received frantic requests for editorial assistance from writers whose entire projects were fundamentally misconceived. No editor can 'repair' a book-length manuscript whose problem is that it's a 3000-word magazine article that's been blown up to book length by means of endless repetition. It's also just about impossible to 'fix' a non-fiction manuscript whose scope is so hopelessly broad that nothing about the subject can be treated in more than a superficial way, or a novel whose author has little real understanding of or sympathy for his or her characters.
Cases like those just mentioned represent a terrible waste of time and energy for the authors in question, and are also extremely discouraging.
Particularly if you are a new writer, or a writer new to a particular genre, it makes sense to have a seasoned professional look over your project proposal, table of contents, and a sample chapter or two, to make sure that your project is technically and logistically feasible before you spend the hundreds of hours required to produce a complete manuscript.
As a project evaluator, I'm nurturing but also realistic. Where possible, if the format you propose for your project won't work, I'll try to come up with some other format that will. And I won't keep you waiting for a response. In most cases, you will get that response within a week-often within 48 hours.
Hourly rates, with a minimum fee of $100.
Conceptualizing the Book-Length Project [M3]
In some ways, writing a book is fundamentally different from writing shorter pieces. Structure becomes a much greater concern. So, too, do the scope of the project and the intended audience. And developing and maintaining an appropriate writing schedule are critical, if you expect to finish the project within a reasonable length of time.
Other important concerns include the following:
Whether we're working one-on-one in a coaching situation, or in a workshop setting, we'll cover the above issues and more. By the end of our time together, you should have a pretty good idea of just what it takes to write a book.
While writers at all levels of experience can probably benefit from this service, it is particularly suited to less experienced writers contemplating their first book.
Hourly rates for individual and small-group sessions, with a minimum fee of $100. Workshops (up to 10 participants): $300 per half-day, or $550 for a full day, plus all expenses. Somewhat higher rates charged if there are more than ten participants. All workshop participants receive a free evaluation of a book outline or project proposal, if submitted within one year of the workshop.
Quick Query Service [M4]
Sometimes, a single paragraph can be standing in the way of completing an entire book or short story. You know something's wrong with that paragraph, but you can't figure out quite what to do to fix it. At other times, you may be troubled by a simple problem in usage-a rule that you've simply forgotten, or one that your sixth-grade teacher didn't make as clear as she could have.
Arranging for a full edit to address problems of this sort is a bit like chartering a battleship for a day's fishing on the lake. My new "Quick Query" service is designed to address such problems speedily and inexpensively. For $50, I will read over your problematic prose (maximum 1000 words, please) and send you a brief answer to your question. Alternatively, I will answer up to three (3) specific queries on grammar, usage, sentence structure and the like, the caveat being that you must make all three queries at the same time.
Normally (assuming I am in town and free to check my e-mail), I will answer your query on the same day, or at worst within 48 hours.
This service is suited both to new writers and to experienced ones for whom, on occasion, time may be a more important consideration than money.