Let’s Talk About Developing Your Book
Get detailed feedback on your manuscript with a developmental edit. It’s a unique examination of your story and its inner workings, all intended to help you take early or stalled drafts to publishable quality.
Enter your details here to speak to an editor today.
Developmental editing costs $0.03-$0.06 per word ($300 minimum)
What You Can Expect From A Developmental Edit
After telling us the goals you’d like to achieve, you’ll be matched with an editor who has experience in your chosen genre. They’ll begin a developmental edit of your work, which involves:
- Multiple readings of your manuscript,
- Identifying the key elements of your story and how they can be strengthened,
- Identifying possible avenues for development and how they could be approached,
- Annotating your manuscript with actionable advice and suggestions,
- Compiling an editor’s report, providing clear advice on multiple avenues of possible improvement.
Tailored to your goals and your manuscript, the report is a unique examination of your story and its inner workings, all intended to help you take early or stalled drafts to publishable quality.
Advice may include:
- Adjusting the tense or point of view of narration,
- Cutting filler description or non-essential events,
- Developing, dropping, or amalgamating lifeless characters,
- Spacing events to heighten reader investment and prevent fatigue,
- Ensuring dialogue feels natural, and that each character has a distinct voice,
- Creating a narrative ‘skeleton’ to avoid plot holes and tricky redrafting,
- Connecting story events to create a more cohesive narrative,
- Crafting intriguing openings and satisfying endings,
- Suggesting possible directions for the story or workarounds for problem areas.
To get a better idea of what the editor’s report looks like, please click on the ‘What will my report look like?’ question below.
The developmental editing process is a malleable relationship between editor and author, heavily dependent on what the author wants to achieve and the level of input they want from their editor. The aim is to provide you with a range of possibilities and, most importantly, a full understanding of the expert advice you’ve received.
A 45-minute consultation is included in the fee, giving you the chance to ask questions and seek any clarifications about the report and manuscript notes. Consultation can be carried out by phone, Skype or email, depending on what suits you.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR DEVELOPMENTAL EDIT?
What stage should my manuscript be at for developmental editing?
Developmental editing is about finding the best form of a story. That means it’s useful at any stage of a manuscript’s life, from the first draft to the twentieth.
Of course, the earlier you get in contact the easier advice will be to implement. It also helps to begin a developmental edit early because the narrative is less ‘fixed’ and a wider range of possibilities can be considered.
Does my manuscript need to be in a particular format for the edit?
Yes. Please submit your manuscript as a single Word file (.doc or .docx). Do not submit your manuscript as individual chapters. The font should be size 12 with double line spacing, and it should be formatted as Times New Roman or Courier.
Please note that if submission guidelines are not followed, a nominal formatting fee may be necessary to prepare your manuscript for editing.
What about copyright?
Copyright protection is a common worry for authors, which is why we’re happy to guarantee that your work won’t be shared with any third parties. Your editor will use your work solely for editorial purposes, and is bound by a Non-Disclosure Agreement which is available to all clients prior to the commencement of any work.
You retain all rights to your work at all times, including to changes suggested by your editor.
Can I choose my own editor?
Based on the information you provide about your story and goals, we’ll suggest an editor with the best combination of skills and experience for you. If, however, you’d like to work with a Standout Books editor you already know, whether from a previous service or through our blog, then we’ll be happy to organize the developmental edit with that in mind. You are never under any obligation to work with a particular editor.
Will the editor change my story?
Both the manuscript notes and the report provide supplementary advice on your manuscript, adding to your options rather than making choices on your behalf.
Your editor won’t make any lasting changes to content or structure without your permission, and any slight changes they do make can be accepted, rejected or altered afterwards using Microsoft Word’s ‘Track Changes’ feature.
What isn’t covered by a developmental edit?
Our developmental editing service is intended to provide an overview of your manuscript and offer paths for improvement, meaning there will be minimal alterations to the manuscript itself. Your editor will highlight any overarching issues with presentation – grammar, spelling, typography, etc. – but won’t adjust such things on an instance-by-instance basis.
Minor changes such as rephrasing problem passages or correcting errors in punctuation will be carried out to some degree, but as examples of suggested author behavior rather than as an exhaustive proofread of the document.
What if I don’t agree with the advice?
Every point your editor makes will include examples from the text and the reasoning behind their advice. The intent is to give you everything you need to make your own informed choices, and editors will never pressure you to follow their advice.
What will my report look like?
Your report will be a Word document of approximately 10-13 pages, depending on the story. It will be broken down into easy-reference sections such as ‘Plot’, ‘Characterization’ and ‘Writing Style’, with further sub-headings to ensure clarity and ease of use.
If there’s a form of presentation that you’d find especially helpful then just let your editor know and they’ll be happy to oblige.
What does ‘further consultation’ involve?
Many authors wish to keep in contact with their editors after a developmental edit, whether it’s for in-depth consultation on the changes they make, or just to troubleshoot smaller issues involved in the writing, publication, and marketing of a book.
Ongoing consultation is treated as a separate service to the developmental edit. Your editor will be able to give you more information on the various services available, as well as the deadlines and charges for your particular needs.
How long will it take?
Deadlines vary according to the length and complexity of each manuscript, but on average it will take 3-4 weeks to perform a developmental edit on a manuscript of around 70,000 words.
How much will it cost?
Developmental editing is charged on a per-word basis, and minimum fees apply. The per-word charge is judged according to the needs of the manuscript and the level of development required. Total charges are agreed prior to the beginning of the edit.
50% of the total fee will be due at the beginning of the editing process, with the remainder due upon completion of the edit.
Can I have a trial edit?
Of course you can. A trial edit is a great way for you to see the kind of feedback you can expect during a developmental edit. It will also help you understand what the editing process involves and how your manuscript can benefit from it. For more information, please get in touch with us.
What should I do to get started?
To get things moving you can contact us via our contact form below. This will begin the discussion about what you want from the service, and will start the process of finding the right editor for you. Once you have an editor, and price and deadline have been agreed, you’ll be asked to sign our standard client contract, clarifying what you can expect from the edit and from us as a company.
After that, all you have to do is wait while an editor begins the process of providing unbeatable advice on your manuscript.
Do you offer anything more in-depth?
If you want direct changes made to your manuscript, including your choice of light to heavy error correction and sentence restructuring, then our other editing services are for you.
Could I contact one of your previous authors for a reference?
We’re happy for potential clients to find out more about us from those with prior experience. Just let us know this is something you’d like and we’ll pass on the details of authors willing to discuss their own edits.