At your free initial consultation (via Skype, email, phone, or chat), we'll discuss the nature of your project, the outcomes you have in mind, and the challenges you've been facing. I'll explain the services that I think may work for you and typical rates. This page outlines the most common types of work I do for academic clients.
FULL MANUSCRIPT ASSESSMENT + Revision plan
This service includes a full read of your entire book manuscript and a detailed editorial letter covering all the issues of argument, structure, content, and voice that stand between you and a completely effective manuscript. My feedback is both broad (issues affecting the entire manuscript) and fine (issues affecting individual chapters or sections within chapters). In some cases I may furnish additional, more micro-level comments directly on your text at the paragraph and sentence level. Unlike a peer reviewer, I don't just identify the problems; I provide practical suggestions for revision that will help you better connect with potential readers, editors, and reviewers. These might include drafting new statements of your book's thesis or arguments at the chapter level; suggesting new tables of contents and chapter outlines; identifying areas that should be cut or condensed; brainstorming additional content that would better make a point; and more. Often, I pull out the argument in your piece that you haven't yet been able to fully articulate. My feedback is aimed at helping your contribution to scholarship shine through to your audience, which is especially helpful for first-time authors who are still in "dissertation mode," but equally valuable for veteran authors who have spent years immersed in their data.
The full manuscript assessment is appropriate for authors who have a complete draft of their book manuscript, but authors may be at any stage in the contract and review process. I work with clients who are still narrowing their list of prospective presses, clients who have advance contracts but are preparing for their manuscripts to undergo full peer review, and clients who have been through peer review and want to perfect their final drafts before publication. I tailor my recommendations to each client's situation and publication timeline. My clients come away from the developmental assessment feeling more confident in their work and energized to share it with the world.
A full manuscript plus revision plan typically takes me 4–5 weeks to complete. Plan to book 2–3 months in advance.
"Short" manuscript assessment + revision plan
(books and dissertations)
Now my most popular service! When I perform a "short" manuscript assessment, I read your entire manuscript and write up a detailed editorial letter summarizing my overall impressions of the manuscript and a recommended plan for revision to address any high-level issues of structure, narrative, argument, and voice that I find. The short assessment is generally appropriate for a manuscript that has not yet been shopped to publishers; the manuscript may be an unrevised dissertation. At this stage, the project may be lacking a clearly articulated thesis. It may require further evidence to support its claims. It may need to be restructured at the chapter level. My job is to identify all those issues and provide practical steps for addressing them. I also make recommendations about next steps in the publishing process: when you should develop a proposal and show it to publishers, what kinds of audiences would be interested in your work, and which presses would be suitable for your subject area and approach.
Many clients use my short assessment to make revisions and then ask me to do follow-up reads of specific chapters (or the entire manuscript) to give everything a final polish before submission.
A short manuscript assessment + revision plan typically takes me 2–3 weeks to complete. Plan to book 2–3 months in advance.
book proposal evaluation
First-time authors (and even experienced ones) can benefit from an extra set of eyes on their proposals before they send them out to prospective presses. While a great topic and a compelling approach to it can take you very far with acquiring editors, it's important to make the most effective case possible for publication of your manuscript. I help clients clarify and showcase their intellectual contribution, eliminate unnecessary or counterproductive details, identify realistic markets, and present all the required information in a professional, confident manner. Working on your book proposal with me can be a good way to test drive what it's like to work with a developmental editor on your full manuscript. Book proposal evaluation is included in the cost of the manuscript assessments above; clients who book only a proposal evaluation and decide to work with me on a full manuscript assessment can apply the cost of the initial proposal evaluation to the manuscript assessment fee.
A book proposal evaluation typically takes me one week to complete. Plan to book 1–2 months in advance, though holes in my schedule do open up from time to time!
hands-on editing (books and articles)
My manuscript assessments are meant to be detailed and clear enough that clients who prefer to revise independently have all the information they need to charge ahead on their own. But some clients prefer that I implement some of the revisions for them, and that's fine too! This can include restructuring the manuscript or individual chapters, drafting new transitional language, inserting placeholders for new material, trimming superfluous content, and line editing for style and sense. We develop a plan of action together, and then I do the work. Hands-on editing is also often appropriate for journal articles and other shorter publications that don't require a full assessment.
COVER COPY AND OTHER PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS (Books)
Once you've got a contract, I can work with you on things like cover copy that create an impression of your book for potential readers. I take the most important elements of your work and help you present them in a way that is succinct and engaging. This is a step that authors often rush through, but it's arguably one of the most important parts of the publishing process.
Publication consulting (Books and articles)
I can walk with you through the process of publication from submission onward. This can involve many things (in combination or alone):
Selecting the appropriate venue for your work (journals, presses, blogs, mainstream outlets, etc.)
Helping you craft a cover letter to an editor or publishing agent
Decoding a CFP (call for papers) and planning your submission
Interpreting reader reports and letters from editors in response to your work
Making a plan of action for revision based on reader reports
Crafting responses to reader reports to accompany revised submissions