Developmental Fiction Editing Service
1) OUTLINE ASSESSMENT: Starting at $200
Of all the services we offer, outline assessments are the best value for money and sadly, the most under-utilized. From analysing if the character arcs are clear, to ensuring the structure is solid and the story is engaging, professional feedback on your synopsis can save a huge amount of editing and re-writing down the line. The fee for assessment varies depending on the length of the outline provided. Some writers choose to submit a few pages of bullet points, others will send a 50-page scene-breakdown complete with character profiles and potential sequels. In general, the more information you can include, the better. Simply send your outline through, and we will offer an estimate before we get started.
(a.k.a Beta Reading & Editorial Letter)
Cate will read your manuscript and provide a 15 – 30 page intensive report that covers all the key strengths and weaknesses in your story, as well as important scene-specific insights. Is your protagonist engaging; are we emotionally invested in their journey? Does the opening premise hook the reader, and maintain intrigue and anticipation throughout? In addition to highlighting weak spots, Cate will outline solutions and explain how they can be implemented effectively.
Any beta reader can tell you if they like your story, and the better ones will explore why something isn’t working. But the last thing a writer needs is a long list of issues and no clear way forward. A professional editor will offer solid story fixes, leaving you inspired rather than overwhelmed.
(a.k.a Content Editing & Structural Editing)
As you can see from the range of terms above, ‘developmental editing’ is a broad brush. In traditional publishing, the services above refer to slightly different processes, but in indie publishing, many of these are combined to cut down the number of individual edits and spare a writer’s budget. My process involves carefully reading every line of the manuscript and inserting comments that highlight what is and isn’t working in each scene. These focus on 47+ different storytelling criteria, including but not limited to:
- STYLE: Moments of confusion, repetition, sentence structure, action, description, interior monologue, exposition, dialogue, tone, inconsistent tenses, grammar, punctuation, word usage, and “showing versus telling“.
- CHARACTER: Introduction, development, complexity, originality, empathy, motivation, consistency, and authenticity.
- PLOT: Structure, pace, believability, engagement, foreshadowing, tension, story length, theme, high concept, resolution, and satisfaction.
- COMMERCIAL VIABILITY: Who is this story for, and will it effectively engage your target reader?
If the manuscript is relatively polished, the process will also include light copy edits. In addition to the edits and comments in the MS, you will receive an in-depth, 10+page report that includes general impressions of the novel, and specific story solutions.
Think of your book as a beautiful sculpture. After all the effort invested, it would be premature to polish the marble before ensuring the shape and form is strong and appealing. Developmental editing is an essential step for publishing a commercially viable novel.
Wondering if your story would be best served with an outline assessment, manuscript assessment, or developmental edit? Let’s ask us for a sample edit to determine next steps.
4) SPOT CHECK: $55 per hour
Once you’ve incorporated all that invaluable feedback, send me your updated draft (with changes ‘tracked’) and I will ensure that the recommendations have been implemented effectively. This is an economical way to receive a second round of feedback, so that you can move into your advanced draft with confidence.
5) AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES: $125
If there’s one thing every writer loathes, it’s sitting down and attempting an author bio that is fun and informative. Today’s author must survive the horrors of self-promotion, and an author’s bio is both essential for your book covers and publishing submissions, but also for the profiles you maintain online. Cate will craft a bio that sets you apart, reflects your voice and storytelling style, and draws new readers to your work.
6) BOOK DESCRIPTION: $125
(a.k.a Blurb & Teaser)
Back cover teasers could be described as ‘the 200 words that will convince a reader to invest in the following 90,000’. In short, they’re vital. We want to meet a character we can empathize with, and an intriguing hook that grabs us in a single line, without giving away spoilers. This is not a synopsis, nor is it literary prose. Your back-cover teaser is marketing copy designed to capture the essence of your story, and utilize its key selling points.