Over the last few years, I have made it my mission to help raise the standard of the independently published books in every way I can. There is a certain level of prejudice against non-traditionally published authors, and so it is imperative that the quality of the product you supply to your readers should be at least equal to, or even better than, a traditionally published book.
When you work with me, you will also learn – but only if you want to. I offer my knowledge in all aspects of creating a work of fiction freely, and welcome all questions, both during the time we have together and after your project has been published. However, I will not shove grammar down your throat or burden you with tons of details about plot-building until you pass out with the load. It is up to you to ask if you want to know. If, on the other hand, you want to hand me a first draft and collect a beautifully worded gem in a couple of weeks’ time, I can accommodate those wishes just as easily.
I believe in preserving an author’s individual voice, so you can be assured I will not suggest changes for the sake of justifying the time I spend working on a manuscript. It would be counterproductive, and I have an innate dislike for wasted time or effort.
I HAVE BEEN ASKED
1) Do you use the Chicago Manual of Style?
I use whatever STYLE the author prefers. I do not believe in starchy rules of any kind, and while you can be assured of flawless editing (my standard is 0.0025% misses), if you want to argue about the correct size of an en-dash, or whether your quote marks should be straight or curly, you need a different editor. The clue is in the name: The Chicago Manual of STYLE – not GRAMMAR.
Having said that, yes, the CMOS rules are the standard for fiction, so that is what I suggest we use unless you have a really good reason for disregarding them.
2) How long will it take you to edit my manuscript?
I would like you to take a minute to imagine the most beautiful wood carving you could ever see. That is your finished manuscript in its utmost perfection. If you give me a carving which is almost there, just needs a few details chiseled right, a few chips taken off, and a few layers of polish, we could be done in a week. If you give me a tree trunk so rough I’ll need a chainsaw before I can get near, it could take us months. I don’t have a problem with it, and my fee is the same, regardless of how much work I put in a manuscript. I can usually give you an indication, but that is not set in stone. I have been sent manuscripts with pristine beginnings, but which required a lot more work (read ‘time’) from chapter four onward. We could take two days or 6 months. It really is up to you. For a faster turnaround, it would be wise to go through your rough draft a few times before sending it to me.
As a general rule of thumb, use this calculation. For a 100,000-word manuscript, I need to make sure 20 words are perfect every minute of every working hour in order to finish editing in about 90 hours (that is 12 days at 7.5 hours worked daily). That does not include me writing you any comments, giving you options to choose from, pointing out inconsistencies, or fact-checking. Sure, anyone can read 20 words a minute. But you’re not hiring me to read. You’re hiring me to assess and improve.
3) Will my book be a bestseller?
Unlikely, without a seriously powerful promotional plan behind it. So why are you paying for editing then? Because without a near-perfect product you stand NO chance at all. There are plenty of good books out there; some are even outstanding. To beat them in the rankings, your work has to be out-of-this-world amazing. You need to have a good book to start with, and together we will make it the best it can be. It may take you several goes, but if you are a hard-worker – or incredibly lucky – you will get there.
MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO STEVE LEBEL, WHO WON THE ABOVE AWARD (AND 15 OTHERS) WITH THE UNIVERSE BUILDERS. WELL DONE, STEVE!
SERVICES AND FEES
- FREE 2,000-word sample.
- Fees payable 50% in advance, 50% on completion.
- Most edits can be completed in under 2 weeks.
- Contact me directly for priority projects (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- 10% discount if you are already on my list.
Option A – basic copy-edit and proofreading, which involves looking for typos, punctuation errors, and simple grammar mistakes.
US$200 for manuscripts up to 50,000 words
US$400 for manuscripts over 50,000 words
Talk to me nicely, and I might point out weak points of your novel, content-wise, too.
Please specify whether you require US or UK English.
Priority surcharge: US$100.
Option B – full manuscript editing – from the smallest issue to the most complex. Starting from spelling and punctuation (again, please specify whether UK or US), structure of sentences, subject-verb agreement, correct tense and word usage, order of words within the sentence, structure of paragraphs within the chapter, logic of chapters within the overall manuscript. Moving on to consistency of plot and overall readability, including clarity of thought, voice, believability, fact checking, pace and tension, cliff-hangers, secondary plots and relaxed, naturally flowing dialogue. And finally, looking at character voice and personality, authenticity and point of view and assistance with developing characters and plot where required. Studying human nature is a personal favorite of mine; I dedicate a lot of my time to observing and attempting to understand people.
US$300 for manuscripts up to 50,000 words
US$500 for manuscripts from 50,000 to 80,000 words
US$700 for manuscripts over 80,000 words
Includes as many rounds of editing as necessary to accomplish the task. Please allow time for re-writes.
Short synopsis suitable for your back cover included in the fee.
Manuscripts over 110,000 words subject to special fees. Quote on request.
Take your manuscript from rough draft to sellable product on Amazon or other sites.
Keep 100% of your royalties. You can hand me a manuscript, and I will edit it, proof it, find a cover artist, organize the cover production, format, upload, blurbs, tags and categories, and set up a release promotional package.
Flat fee: US$2,000.
Have a box set to organize? Spreadsheets to set up and royalty splits to calculate? Release schedules to keep track of? I have years of experience.
Managing a multi-author publishing project can be time-consuming and energy-zapping. I know this first-hand. With dozens of anthologies and box sets under my belt, I am certain I can successfully manage any project. From chasing up and collating author biographies, covers and blurbs to setting up royalty-split spreadsheets, release schedules, Thunderclap campaigns and promotional graphics, this is all work I can do for you.
Genre, plot and character development, brainstorming and writing sprints, one-on-one personal attention. A custom, individually agreed method of encouraging and supporting an author to finally get that long-slaved-upon book finished. From mere ‘idea’ stage to ‘partially written’.
Option A – your book is in its incipient form, more an idea than a manuscript. You have some thoughts on where you’d like the story to lead, or what you might want to show, but are unsure on where to start and how to develop your plot. Our aim will be to create a plot development plan, with guidance points. You’ll have a roadmap, with plot points, scenes, and a general feel of what should go in each scene, but you will still be writing your book, because this is what you want to do. If you’d like me to write your story for you, please refer to the Ghostwriting section. Co-authoring is another option you might consider.
Flat fee: US$150.
Option B – you have started writing your manuscript and are quite a way through, but you’ve hit an impasse. You would love to be able to discuss the various options available, how to take the story forward, what would be the best way to develop your characters and what would make a satisfactory ending. Our aim will be to achieve optimal development of a novel during an initial assessment and brainstorming sitting, followed by up to twelve, guidance and monitoring sessions on a schedule to suit your lifestyle.
Flat fee: US$250.
It is likely we shall need to get in touch via phone or Skype if emails are not enough.
Warning: I know the symptoms of a procrastinator inside-out. Don’t even try it!
SYNOPSES & BLURBS
Much dreaded by most authors, synopses and blurbs can hook a reader or an agent and sell a novel. There’s nothing more off-putting than a blurb that proves an author’s inability to describe their novel in a few lines. I get them right every time.
Writers’ Conference? Company event? Book Club guest appearance? I have a wealth of publishing experience to share.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR REQUIRE A SERVICE NOT MENTIONED ABOVE, PLEASE CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL AT
I would never, ever publish a book ever again without having it checked by an editor. And my editor of choice is Ella Medler! Ella is highly professional, straightforward (tough love) and will tell you exactly how it is. And trust me, it is far better for an editor to tell you the way it is and give you the opportunity to fix any problems you may have, than have a reader give you a bad review. Patti Roberts
Ella did a fantastic job on the edits she did for Foundling Wizard. There was one section that every beta reader pointed out, but no one could say what was off. She picked up on it quickly and provided some good pointers on how to strengthen it. We worked together to pick up a few changes that really improved the whole story. She did a super job and I’m really pleased with the finished product. James Eggebeen
Finding an editor who is diligent, easy to work with and also someone you can trust is hard. Especially one that won’t charge you an arm and a leg for his/her services. I found Ella Medler on Facebook and I am so glad I did. Her expertise and professionalism are amazing. Cary Barner-Nelson
Before you leave, I would like to offer you an author’s opinion on writing, what it involves, and the many things no one tells you about before you start. Please take a minute to read this article. It is an eye-opener.
Enter Bruce Blake.
“As an independent, self-published author, I often find myself involved in discussions debating the benefits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, both with readers and fellow authors.
I am the first to admit that both have their pros and cons – which I won’t get into here for fear of having this post run out of control – but the two attractive features of traditional publishing which are almost universally agreed upon are distribution and perceived quality. It is the latter which provides the impetus for this post.” (read more)