What I Can Do for Your Writing: All writers need an editor to read manuscripts-in-progress with a fresh eye and the ability to spot what the writer can't see. I offer suggestions as to what needs work and what options are viable. To quote one of my clients: "Your comments were the key, almost a road map of how to straighten things out and strengthen the story."
I can't promise that your work will be published, though many of my clients have placed their books with name-brand publishers, and several have won prestigious awards and fellowships. But I can assure you of quick response time; clear, sane comments; professional expertise; the benefit of my experience; and a useful set of directions for taking your book to the next level. At the least, you will emerge as a better writer with a more thorough understanding of the writing process. Though I believe in encouragement and kindness, I will also be honest; straightforward critiques are essential to producing a publishable book.
How the Process Works: Some clients use me as a "literary personal trainer," periodically sending drafts and rewrites to edit and discuss as they hone their craft. In other cases, I function as a book doctor, editing completed manuscripts as a final step before submission to agents. In still other instances, I read 50-100 pages and counsel authors as they embark on new projects; even in such short samples, I can identify potential problems and work with authors to develop specific writing skills and solutions. Additionally, I routinely consult with clients on issues related to the writing process, such as agents, contracts, queries, and how to keep yourself writing.
I edit rather than copyedit. Though I will identify technical error patterns, I generally don't proofread line by line, unless by request. Rather, I look for overall themes, development of plot and character, ways to strengthen writing style, and other essentials of producing publishable work.
I'm flexible in arranging whatever kind of service my clients feel they need. The most common is a three-step process: first, I read your manuscript and comment on the text itself; second, I send you a detailed overview and explanation of what I feel needs further attention; and third, after you've had time to digest the comments, we meet in person to discuss your tactics for rewriting and otherwise improving the piece.
The Cost: The recent evolution of the publishing industry has shifted the responsibility for editing from publishing houses with in-house editors to writers themselves; agents and editors now require manuscripts to be nearly ready for publication at the time of submission. New York City editors and even vanity presses with uncredentialed editors charge as much as $8,000 per manuscript. I charge $125 per hour. My clients tell me I'm fast and a bargain for the quality of service I provide. To quote one client: "You are worth whatever you charge."
Estimates of total costs are difficult, since some manuscripts require more work and time than others. But generally, an average-length book of 300 pages in readable shape will cost between $500 and $800, depending on how much is in need of notation. If I don't feel the manuscript is ready for this level of editing, I stop, rather than waste your money. I can also work to a set budget amount, per request of the client, or I can do a more time-consuming line-by-line edit for books that are really ready for submission to agents.
Payment schedules can be arranged to suit individual needs. With longer projects, I usually keep a running tab, with payments made every month. With shorter projects, I generally ask for payment on completion.
Get In Touch: Please feel free to contact me to discuss your editing needs.
I look forward to working with you!
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Achievements of My Editing Clients
(Books in which I am officially acknowledged)
• Simon and Schuster (multiple)
• St. Martin's Press (multiple)
• Three Continents Press (multiple)
• Alhamra Publishing
• IPB Books
• Penguin India
• Putnam (multiple)
Awards and Distinctions
• Winner, Charles Johnson Fiction Award
• Winner, Southeast Review (Florida State University) "World's Best Short Short Story" Contest
• Winner, Washington Writers' Publishing House Fiction Competition
• Winner, American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
• Fellowship, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
• Individual Artist Award, Maryland State Arts Council
• Reading, Provincetown Theatre Company Fall Playwrights' Festival
• Various scholarships and internships
Client Editing Contract:
I agree to the terms, conditions, and fee schedule for editing as stated on the barbaraesstman.com website, and I understand that payment is due upon the completion of the job.
Signed: _________________________________________ Date: ________________