Book Doctoring—Level 1 Edit* 

If the manuscript is incomplete, or if it is finished but isn’t working quite yet, you might be in need of book doctoring, which is a deep, developmental edit. Maybe the story sequence contains gaps or inconsistencies. Maybe scenes feel unclear, cluttered, or fragmentary. Maybe a main character’s motivation seems unrealistic, or maybe their character arc feels underdeveloped. Book doctoring can help!

Main areas of focus:

  • Big-picture editing, organizing, and drafting
  • Structural and thematic suggestions and drafting
  • Character arc/motivation suggestions and drafting
  • Reimagining of elements as needed to craft a well-developed story
  • Scene building and dialogue writing
  • Some grammar, punctuation, and syntax corrections and guidance
  • Some content revision and guidance to help the author achieve consistency and clarity in story, style, and voice

*This level of edit includes two one-hour virtual or phone consulting/coaching sessions. However, it may require up to five more one-on-one consulting/coaching sessions (discounted rate) prior to and during the editing work. The purpose of this is to provide me with information crucial to drafting elements you envision for your book. During these sessions, I will provide verbal and written guidance as the story elements are fleshed out. Once we have agreed on a path forward for the manuscript, I will read your draft and offer feedback and ideas, just like I would in a developmental edit. However, as a book doctor, I will help you draft and cut extraneous content, organize scenes and chapters, and create transitions where needed for story sequencing, character development, thematic layering, and manuscript cohesiveness.

Timeline: approximately 4-6 weeks, subject to availability

Developmental Edit—Level 2 Edit** 

If the manuscript has not yet undergone a professional developmental edit, or if the book has not undergone drafting edits and revision with the assistance of seasoned writers and editors, this type of editing may be what you need. A Developmental edit will help you get the book ready for a more in-depth copy/line edit.

Main areas of focus:

  • Some big-picture organizing and guidance 
  • Structural and thematic suggestions 
  • Character arc/motivation suggestions 
  • Editing and reorganizing suggestions 
  • Some grammar, punctuation, and syntax corrections and guidance 
  • Some content revision and guidance to help the author achieve consistency and clarity in story, style, and voice 

**I will offer supportive, clear, and detailed feedback on the essential elements of story, plot, dialogue, theme, tone, character, and structure along with guidance on how to proceed as you consider your next steps. This includes a one-hour phone consultation to review and clarify any of the feedback and questions you might have regarding my feedback. I can read your manuscript no matter what shape it’s in and provide a written assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript, including ideas for how to improve it for completion so you can feel confident about sending it to a line editor and/or a proofreader for the final cleanup.

Timeline: approximately 4-5 weeks, subject to availability

Copy/Line Edit—Level 3 Edit***

This is the most comprehensive, hands-on, line-by-line edit and should be performed at the sentence level after all story, scene, and character issues have been addressed. The manuscript should be spell-checked and somewhat polished at the beginning of this edit.

Provided that the manuscript has been through at least one round of developmental editing or book doctoring, and the manuscript is in great shape, your manuscript should be ready for this level of editing.

After a solid content edit, the manuscript should be nearly ready for book formatting, proofreading, and publication.

Main areas of focus:

  • Punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling corrections on a line-by-line, sentence-by-sentence level, to clean up the manuscript while tightening elements of scene, story, and character
  • Content rewriting, as needed to maintain consistency and to improve flow and clarity
  • Some transition and scene assistance where needed to address tension concerns and provide continuity and cohesiveness
  • Some fact-checking
  • Review of chapter numbering and grouping
  • Few if any structural and thematic suggestions
  • Few if any character arc/motivation suggestions
  • Few if any big-picture editing and reorganizing suggestions

***I will line edit your manuscript, perfecting every sentence, so you can feel confident about sending it to agents and publishers as you move into the next phase of authorship: publication! This is the final stage before proofreading, which I recommend as a way to catch any lingering errors. Having one more set of eyes on your book before you send it out is often a great idea.

Timeline: approximately 4-5 weeks, subject to availability

Manuscript Evaluation

Most writers secure a paid editor too soon. Editing is a time-consuming and expensive service, so why spend that money only to spend more and more as your book undergoes round after round? You may be better off getting an evaluation that tells you what you, as the writer, can do before you invest thousands on editing services.

If you have a completed manuscript but aren’t quite sure where it stands in regards to editing needs, a manuscript evaluation will help! All you need to do is provide me with an overview of the story, your goals for the book, and a few questions you have about the writing process. 

During an evaluation I will read the manuscript, commenting in Tracked Changes (Microsoft Word) along the way and providing feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the work. I will also provide guidance about structure, content development, character, theme, and genre. After the evaluation, you will have a much clearer idea about the readiness of the manuscript for editing and/or publication. From there, you will be able to make a confident decision about how you want to move forward. Maybe you need a developmental edit. Or maybe you are ready for a line edit. Wouldn’t you feel more secure having an experienced editor’s feedback? A manuscript evaluation is a great place to start.

Timeline: approximately 1-2 weeks, subject to availability

To inquire about proofreading services and editing pricing, email me today!

LeslieFerguson@LeslieFergusonAuthor.com