We tend to picture writing as a solitary endeavor with an author hunched over a laptop with maybe a cat trying to sit on the keyboard or a dog lying nearby for company. That image might be true for the actual typing of stories, but the creation of stories and the process of getting them onto bookshelves isn’t, or shouldn’t, be a lonely task. Critique partners, editors, and cover designers are just some of helpers you’ll often see on the acknowledgement pages of published books.
I’m excited to be able to help authors get from idea to something they can hold in their hands and sell to readers looking for just that kind of book. As an editor, my goal is to strengthen the writing while maintaining the author’s voice, not quote a bunch of rules and make the writing suit my taste.
What I Edit
I edit both fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, my preference is for clean fantasy and historical fiction. I edit nonfiction of an informative nature (because I enjoy learning). I also have a science background.
I do a free five-page sample edit for larger projects so we can see if we are a good match. After that, I can give you a cost estimate and an estimated date that I could start and complete the project. The five pages are standard manuscript pages (1-inch margins, Times New Roman 12 pt font, double-spaced). Please send me the first three chapters since the first few pages have usually had more polish than the rest. I want a clear view of what the book will be like.
Please note that when I do an edit, I tend to make comments that help you learn, so an edit with me isn’t just a one-time benefit but should help you throughout your career. This also means they can be rough to the soul. I try to be nice, but I try to give honest feedback as well, which isn’t always pleasant to the author. It’s meant to be helpful, however. I comment on inconsistent characters, unlikable characters, logical errors, and so forth. My job is to try to make your book the best it can be, which sometimes involves hard truths. If you’re not sure what your book needs, I can help you figure that help.
Please note that I reserve the right to refuse a project for any reason. I do not edit manuscripts with offensive language, sex scenes, MM/FF/harem/bully/reverse harem and similar things, general crudeness, worldviews that conflict with the traditional Christian worldview, or excessive violence (R-rated for violence). I don’t edit children’s or memoirs since those are not genres I have studied. If your books fall into those categories, I am not your target audience and so not a good choice as an editor.
Experience and Interests
This section is to give you a little more background on me in case you’re looking for something specific – an editor who loves the same authors you do or who has traveled to a particular location, for instance.
I have a certificate in copyediting from the University of California San Diego Extension, and I edit according to The Chicago Manual of Style and the American Psychological Association Style Guide. I also refer to Kathy Ide’s Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. I am a member of the Christian Editor Connection. I have been editing since 2020.
I am also a writer, and I have worked hard to develop those skills, which serve me both as a writer and as an editor. I have attended many writers’ conferences, read craft books, participated in writing critique groups, had professional edits of my own works (I understand the feel of red ink!), and taken a couple of writing courses. I write YA fantasy, fairytale retellings, and steampunk. I read YA fantasy, fairytale retellings, steampunk, clean fantasy romance, inspirational historical romance, mysteries, and classic works by such authors as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Jules Verne. I am a big fan of movies from the 1930s and 1940s.
Through conferences and literary agent blogs, I have gained an understanding of traditional publishing process (the publisher pays you for the right to publish your book–you never pay a publisher!). I am a self-published author and so am familiar with that. I wrote a comprehensive guide to self-publishing, and if you are interested in that route, I believe it would be helpful to you: Pen to Print: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing.
I have a Master of Science in Biology. Classes taken included microbiology, immunology, pathogenic microbiology, ecology, electron microscopy, and more. I also took general and organic chemistry, general physics, and geology. I have read many science papers and am familiar with Robert Day’s How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. I participated in research on genes involved in the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by Mycobacteria.
Nonfiction clients include the science communication company Rose Li & Associates.
My personal nonfiction reading and listening (I love podcasts!) focuses mostly on book marketing, Christian nonfiction, and the history of English.
I have experience teaching and working on curricula for upper-level microbiology labs. I have taught community college courses. I also teach an online course on how to write a novel: I. W.R.I.T.E.: HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL.
The Chicago Manual of Style and APA. I also have and can reference the AP Style Guide and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style.
Travel and Interests
I have been to several places in the American South (where I live); the Grand Canyon; North Yorkshire, England; the Isle of Skye, Scotland; Guam; Morocco.
My interests include wildflowers, crochet, reading, ballroom dancing, photography, and going for short hikes.
A line edit is the step where your writing gets a lot of red ink. It is a line-by-line edit of the manuscript that seeks to improve the writing itself instead of merely to catch grammatical errors and typos. These issues are addressed in a line edit: sentence clarity, redundancies, word choice, maintenance of tone and voice, consistency of style, proper citation of sources, inaccuracies, and quotations that may require permission from the copyright holder. Grammatical and punctuation issues will also be noted. In fiction manuscripts, inconsistencies in point of view and tense are also marked. I do two passes for a line edit.
My rate for line editing is $10 per 1,000 words for manuscripts 1,000 words and up. For a 75,000-word novel, that would be $750. I charge a flat fee of $15 for pieces 1–3 pages in length.
If the manuscript has had little or no prior editing and needs a heavier edit, the rate will be $13-15 per 1,000 words, depending on how much work it needs.
Line and Learner
I also do a Line and Learner edit for those who want the chance to learn from a small edit and apply it to the full manuscript before continuing. In this fifteen-page edit (standard manuscript pages averaging 250 words per page), I will do a line edit as usual, but I will spend more time explaining the changes and recommending resources for further learning and improvement. You will have the opportunity to see if you like my editing style as well as have the opportunity to improve the manuscript before submitting the rest, if you want to continue working with me.
The rate for the fifteen-page Line and Learner edit is $100.
A critique is similar to a beta-read or developmental edit. I look at each scene and will point out logical inconsistencies, inaccuracies, characters acting out of character, etc. So if something doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t match what came before (a character suddenly has a weapon never mentioned before or is standing at a place we never saw them move to, etc.), I will point it out. I will also comment on your opening and hook, author voice, character development, story structure, and the editing, and indicate whether you might need a line edit or copyedit. I will not edit the manuscript, but I might point out a few typos and awkward sentences. I might also edit a few sentences to illustrate cleaner or smooth wording or how to incorporate a stronger author voice.
My rate for a manuscript critique is $12 per 1,000 words (example: 75,000 words is $900)
A light copyedit is the polish before publication. The manuscript has already gone through a developmental edit (overall story and character critique) and line edit, so the writing is good and only needs a final polish. In other words, I won’t “mess” with the writing itself. I can mark for your notice unclear or convoluted sentences—sentences that are grammatically correct but awkward—but I do not automatically “fix” them. In a light copyedit, I will mark typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, misspelled words, grammatical problems, and punctuation mistakes. I will also double-check formatting and accuracy. I make two passes over the manuscript for a copyedit. Please note that my copyedit is a final polish, but not a proofread. I try to catch all the errors, but I am not a proofreader (my eyes aren’t quite that sharp). Please note that when I do an edit, I tend to make comments that help you learn, so an edit with me isn’t just a one-time benefit but should help you throughout your career.
My rate for a light copyedit is $7 per 1,000 words for manuscripts 1,000 words and up. For a 75,000-word novel, that would be $525. I charge a flat fee of $10 for pieces 1–3 pages in length (standard manuscript pages average 250 words per page).
Other Notes on Editing Services
For all editing, I use track changes in Microsoft Word and require manuscripts be sent electronically as doc, docx, or rtf files. Please send the manuscript in standard format: 8.5 x 11 inches page size, one-inch margins, double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font. This will give an average of 250 words per page. If you already have your manuscript formatted for print, I can work with that.
Note: It is up the author to make the recommended changes, and a professional edit does not guarantee the salable of a manuscript to a publisher.
1,000 words and up: $7 per 1,000 words (example: 75,000 words is $525)
Less than 1,000 words: $10
1,000 words and up: $10 per 1,000 words (example: 75,000 words is $750)
Less than 1,000 words: $15
Heavy line editing
1,000 words and up: $13-15 per 1,000 words
Line and Learner edit (fifteen page line edit with comments designed to help author improve his or her self-editing skills): $100
1,000 words and up: $12 per 1,000 words (example: 75,000 words is $900)
I accept payment via PayPal and Venmo. A quarter of the payment is due upfront to reserve your spot, a quarter is due when I am ready to start editing the manuscript, and the remaining half when the edit is complete. This spreads out your cost and helps me know you’re serious.
If you’re interested in working with me, please contact me using the form below. Include your name and email, your genre, manuscript word count, a brief summary or statement about the work, content level, what kind of editing you want, your plans for the piece (traditional or indie publishing, a gift for a friend, etc.) and a timeline for the edit, if you have one. Also, please include what other editing the manuscript has received.
What People Say about Me
“Elizabeth was delightful to work with. Her comments, edits and suggestions were spot on. Just what I needed. The one thing I appreciated above all the others is that she didn’t try to change the tone of the story or my voice. I will definitely be working with her again.” ~Susan J. Donetti
“I recently contracted Elizabeth to do a light copyedit on my upcoming debut novel, and wow, I am so glad I did. Elizabeth is thorough and detailed. She has all those piddly little grammar rules I mess up all the time down cold. With a teacher’s heart, she explained mistakes repeated often in the manuscript in greater detail. She also takes the time to carefully explain grey areas to allow the author to make an informed decision. She even went above and beyond and made small suggestions that have improved the flow of several scenes. Elizabeth’s edits are worth every penny I paid and I would gladly employ her service again on future projects without
“I just finished going through all of your critique, and your recommendations were phenomenal. I learned a lot by going through them.” ~Elizabeth Newsom, Captive and Crowned