Developmental Editing | Content Development
Content Editing | Structure and Style
- Plot and Character Development
- Writing Dialogue
There's a story here somewhere ...
Writing a book takes far more effort and knowledge than just sitting down and letting your thoughts run free and your fingers fly over a keyboard. The professional world of publishing has its own guidelines and requirements. Without meeting the requirements of a particular publishing house and/or acquisitions editor, you may waste your time and postage on fruitless submissions.
Acquisitions editors and publishers buy books that fit into their lines and share similarities with other works they publish; however, they often are attracted to a new twist to existing fiction or new ideas along the familiar lines of nonfiction books. Contrary as it may sound, editors look for similar words with a difference—but not too different from what's selling for them now. If you're self-publishing, a developmental editor who specializes in fiction or nonfiction can review your drafts to make sure there are no big-picture issues that will result in negative reviews.
Our published authors and professional book editors can help you develop or revise your copy to fit publisher and editorial requirements. If your manuscript isn't written, though you have an idea for a story, you may benefit from ghostwriting or rewriting portions. If your manuscript is complete, but it doesn't seem to fit the guidelines of the particular publishing house you've chosen, or if you have the interest of an agent who suggests fine-tuning of your manuscript before acceptance, or if you're just not happy with the manuscript you've produced, our writers and editors are available to offer you substantive editing, content development, and revision assistance.
This level of editing focuses on the theme, the characters, and the story line itself. It also may involve recommending rewrites to parts of the story that don't strengthen the whole. Published authors often learn to revise their own work to a great extent, yet a good content editor may still find ways to improve the form and content of their work.
If your manuscript is nonfiction, a developmental editor will help you with presentation, clarity, headings, documentation, and indexing.
No writer ever finds it easy to have someone else adjust even a word or comma of his or her creation. When it comes to cutting paragraphs and rewriting sentences and sections, most writers wince. All published writers learn that once a manuscript is bought, many changes will be made to suit the editor, and the editor has the right to make such changes, even when the writer doesn't agree with them.
Learning to accept suggestions from others about your work is part of becoming a professional writer—a published author. If you aren't yet comfortable with considering suggestions for changes, this particular level of service is not for you.
If you want your fiction or nonfiction book to go before literary agents and acquisition editors with the best chance of being read and considered seriously—and you are open to other opinions about your work—we'll be glad to help you accomplish that goal.
Remember, we will offer you many suggestions for revision and content development, but the final decision is always yours.
Our Developmental Editors
Judge: Indie Book Awards
Developmental Content Editing, Writing Assistance, Query Letters, Book Proposals, Submissions to Literary Agents and Publishers
BETH BRUNO is a columnist, author, and book editor. Hundreds of her articles have been published in print and online, and her first book, Wild Tulips, came out in 2001 and went into a second printing in 2002. Beth's proximity to New York and her position as President of the CT Authors and Publishers Association give her unique access to literary agents and publishers in and around New York City. Several of the authors whose manuscripts she has edited have been published in the mainstream, thanks to her referrals on their behalf.
Beth’s editing interests are eclectic and include a delicious mix of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and children’s works. Among the 350+ manuscripts she has edited, she has a special affinity for: mystery/suspense, women’s fiction, memoir, psychology topics, romance, self-help, how-to, and both fiction and nonfiction for young adult (YA) readers.
In addition to editing, Beth serves as a judge for the Indie Book Awards, an excellent contest for authors who self-publish. Winners receive cash prizes, publicity, and introduction to literary agents and publishers.
"I want to thank Beth for the spectacular job she did editing my book, which has just been published. When Beth first*** received the manuscript, she understood what was missing and recognized the changes needed to improve the flow, characterization, plot, etc., of my novel. She had a keen eye for small details. Beth was also always very available to discuss suggestions, and she quickly came up with alternatives to solve the problems we encountered along the way. She guided me through the particulars of my novel to the final polished product. The result: A published book." Oscar Medina
Manuscript Evaluations, Critiques, Organizational and Developmental Editing, Line Editing, Writing Assistance, Ghostwriting
CARLY CANTOR is a publishing industry veteran who has worked in-house at a New York publisher as an acquisitions editor and is a two-time published author (history books). Most recently, she has worked as an independent consultant and project editor for Random House and Prentice Hall. She also represents authors as an agent with a well-established NYC agency. Her extensive experience includes critiquing, organizational and development editing, and line editing of fiction and nonfiction projects. She is a meticulous hands-on editor who "becomes one" with every project, paying close attention to both the big picture and the small details.
She has often worked with academics, psychologists, and medical doctors on high-level material in the social or life sciences and has helped them make their writing more accessible to a trade audience. One thrilled client, a doctor, said of her, "She is a consummate wordsmith, with the facility of not only understanding and integrating scientific and technical material but also illuminating arcane and otherwise opaque descriptions. She expertly shapes the structure of a presentation for better narrative flow, simplifying complex material to make it reader-friendly."
Carly also edits fiction, with an understanding of the importance of subtlety and nuance. She approaches fiction with an appreciation for how the brain works and for the idea that a reader likes to pick up clues and figure some things out for himself rather than be told everything directly about how characters are thinking and feeling. One novelist client said, "I have been guided by a number of different editors throughout my career. Without any hesitation, I can say that [she] is the best editor I have ever worked with."
Before STACEY DONOVAN became a professional editor more than 20 years ago, she worked in a literary agency where she learned how to say no more often than yes, and include reasons why. A stint in advertising followed, teaching her to tell it short and sweet, meet deadlines, and most important: never give up.
Donovan is a ten-time published book author of both fiction and non-fiction. She has edited or ghostwritten dozens of published books for her clients. Two became New York Times Bestsellers, and another nominated for Best First Novel by International Thriller Writers. She is experienced in many genres: Contemporary/Mainstream; Caper/Detective; Erotica; Gay/Lesbian; Literary Fiction; Mystery; Psychological Thriller; Suspense; Women's Fiction; Young Adult; Memoir/Autobiography; Creative Nonfiction.
- Detailed critique/evaluation of your manuscript
- Developmental/structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript
- Complete revision of your manuscript
- Collaborate with you in a mentoring capacity as you edit your manuscript
- Collaborate with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication
- Determine with you which literary agent would be suitable for representation
- Determine with you whether to pursue mainstream, small, or self-publishing
- Consultation on your initial and/or ongoing Social Media strategy
Donovan is a writing coach, mentor, collaborator and ghostwriter. She has published dozens of non-fiction articles on design and art, and specialized in celebrity interviews with experts in their field. She is also a Publishing and Social Media strategist.
ANA HOWARD is the author of seven well-reviewed and award-winning children’s novels and has helped many others with their manuscripts, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels. After working in public schools for many years, she has now been a part of the publishing industry for fifteen years and provides a creative and supportive environment. She is passionate about children’s literature and offers the following services:
• Developmental, substantive and content editing
• Formatting and guidance on the submission process
• Query letters and synopses
• Advice for self-publishing authors
Publishing Credits Include:
- Water at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart)
- A Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- Nowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- The Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction (Viking Penguin)
- Under a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Call Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
- Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
She has seen one of her novels made into film (for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions on CBS) and has won numerous literary awards. She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of other writers and/or editors.
"My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six for years. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called 'a gripping read'. Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their Best of 2011. I would recommend Ana Howard's services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless." —Clark T. Carlton
JOHN DAVID KUDRICK (BA in Theology / MA in Journalism—Professional Writing: Fiction).
You're sitting at your computer, smiling, feeling an incredible sense of satisfaction in your heart. After more hours than you can count, you've finally finished your novel – a story from deep within your soul that you want to share with the world.
But then the questions start hitting your mind: Is it the very best that it can be? Will anyone even want to read it? What should I do with it now?
With nearly twenty years of experience as an editor, John David understands the gamut of feelings that comes with getting your novel from your hard drive and into print. That's why he'd love to partner with you in getting your novel to the next level …
- Manuscript Critique – With a detailed evaluation document and annotated comments/suggestions throughout your manuscript, find out how you can make your good book even better.
- Content Editing – Guidance and hands-on editorial help in reorganizing and revising your story to make it even more powerful and engaging. Includes two rounds of editorial review.
- Copyediting – Line-by-line editing to take care of grammar, word usage, tone, format, and more. Includes two rounds of editorial review.
- Proofreading – A final polish to clean up typos, inconsistencies, misspellings, and punctuation problems. Includes two rounds of editorial review.
- Ghostwriting – Crafting of a book-length manuscript using existing material from author. Also includes a follow-up copyedit. (NOTE: Ghostwriting available for Christian living/spirituality book projects only.)
Paranormal romance | psychic/supernatural phenomena | science fiction | fantasy | speculative fiction | western romance | young adult
KELLY LYNNE is the proud "auntie" to over 50 published novels, novellas and short stories, which have sold to Kensington Publishing, Carina Press, Cerridwen Press, Awe-Struck Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Wings ePress, Bradley Publishing, and The Wild Rose Press as well as author self-published titles. These books have gone on to earn high praise from reviewers and readers, as well as multiple awards and contest wins. As an editor for The Wild Rose Press, she edited contemporary western and light paranormal romances, with heat ratings from sweet to spicy. Outside of romance, her fiction fortes include sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, young adult, and stories of psychic or supernatural phenomena.
Empathic about the "feel" of a story, Kelly provides suggestions so that authors may revise with their own style in mind, preserving the individual voice, while alerting authors to current trends in publishable styles. Developmental fiction editing requires an emotional investment in the work - an investment of time and effort that Kelly is happy to make.
Kelly has published over 100 non-fiction articles, two short stories, and a novel. She knows the hoops authors are expected to jump through and helps authors polish their submission packets. Query letters, synopses and professional quality formatting are as important as a well-polished manuscript.
Specialties: style-sheet to track continuity, character traits, and plot aspects | critique of story plot, character believability and setting | weeding out clichés, redundancies, wordiness, triteness and vague generalizations
Developmental editing, substantive editing, line editing, manuscript evaluation, publishing consultation
Fiction and nonfiction: literary, historical, mystery/suspense, adult, young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, erotica, humor, and new age/spirituality
ANDREA ROBB spent over a decade as an acquiring editor at Penguin Random House, working on key titles for Knopf, Doubleday, Pantheon, Vintage and Anchor Books. Prior to that, she was on the editorial team at The Book of the Month Club, where she evaluated hundreds of titles for club inclusion.
Notable fiction projects that Andrea has edited have included Jennifer McMahon's NY Times bestselling novels The Winter People, The Night Sister, and Burntown; the NY Times bestselling Veronica Mars mystery series; the Harvard Lampoon's NY Times bestselling parody Nightlight; the translations of Paulo Coelho's internationally bestselling novels The Spy, Adultery, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Aleph; Whiting Award-winner Melanie Sumner's How to Write a Novel; and Latifah Salom's debut suspense novel, The Cake House.
Nonfiction projects include blogger and comedian Samantha Irby's We Are Never Meeting in Real Life; Vela magazine founder Sarah Menkedick's debut essay collection Homing Instincts; multiple anthologies in the bestselling Foxfire series on Appalachian history and culture; the political travel guide The Nation Guide to the Nation; and new editions of Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey's Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction.
In addition to her editing work, Andrea has worked with over one hundred bestselling and award-winning authors to tailor their copy and paperback packaging for the softcover audience, often developing new materials such as reading group guides, introductions, and glossaries.
Authors she's worked with in this capacity have included Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), Anne Rice (Prince Lestat), Chris Bohjalian (The Sandcastle Girls), Lisa Unger (Heartbroken), Karen Russell (Vampires in the Lemon Grove), Joby Warrick (The Triple Agent), Kate Alcott (The Dressmaker), Ariel Lawhon (Flight of Dreams), Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians), Stephen Harrigan (The Gates of the Alamo), Alex Kava (Hotwire), J. Courtney Sullivan (Maine), Jennifer Close (Girls in White Dresses), Peter Heller (The Dog Stars), and Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven).
Via a penname, Andrea is also the author of a successful young adult novel with HarperTEEN that was chosen as a selection of the Scholastic Book Club, and has written text for popular television tie-in projects published by Insight Editions.
CAROLINE T. has been editing popular fiction for 20 years and has 200+ novels under her belt. Her ability to see the big picture, combined with an in-depth knowledge of today’s publishing market, makes her an invaluable partner in the editing and publishing process.
Editor of New York Times Best-Sellers
A former in-house editor at Pocket Books—a division of Simon & Schuster, the premiere New York City publisher of commercial and trade fiction—an outside editor for Harper Collins/Avon, and a reader for The Literary Guild and The Rhapsody Book Club, Caroline’s particular expertise is historical and contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and romantic suspense. Carla Neggers, Karen Robards and Andrea Kane—three New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling authors—had books edited by Caroline. She also specializes in suspense thrillers, crime fiction, amateur sleuths, sagas, inspirational romance, westerns, urban fantasy and African-American popular fiction. She holds workshops on the writer’s conference circuit and speaks at numerous venues to help advance the cause of popular fiction for women.
Known for her accessibility, Caroline is available to answer any questions a client may have; from a simple inquiry regarding point of view switching, to a larger issue regarding career path. She is a hands-on editor, likes to put her blue pen to work, and enjoys brainstorming with writers. She is a mentor, a guide and a source of vast knowledge on the subject of popular fiction. Caroline offers content and developmental editing with commentary; minor line-editing if necessary, submission help, and career consulting.