Book Manuscript Editing
Janet Angelo’s Collaborative Editing Process
I believe that I am the best book editor for independent authors today. How can I make such a strong claim? I use a proven, unique method that has never failed because it is truly collaborative between the author and me.
It all begins by offering you a free sample edit of about 1200 words if I am interested in editing your manuscript. I edit this sample using the track changes feature in Word to show my work. I also look over the entire manuscript to determine whether it needs line editing (often termed copyediting) or developmental editing. I set the editing rate based on the total original word count of the manuscript.
Most manuscripts require line editing, which is $.02 (two cents) per word. The rate for developmental editing is $.03 to $.04 (three to four) cents per word.
When you’re ready for me to start editing your manuscript, I will collect the first half installment payment (if you choose to pay me using that method), and I begin line editing the manuscript from word one. I work my way systematically through the book, reading it and editing as I go. As I edit the book character by character, word by word, sentence by sentence, I am building a picture of the overall scope of the book in my mind because I’m allowing it to unfold naturally, which is the same experience a reader will have.
Besides using the track changes feature in Microsoft Word to show my editing marks in colors, I also link in-text notes pertaining to big-picture problems and issues such as plot holes, rabbit trails, problems with character development, the tendency to tell the story instead of allowing it to unfold naturally, and a lack of cohesiveness in the writing.
When I get to the halfway point in the book, I will email to you that first edited half along with my notes. My notes often spark new ideas or help to clarify sections that have been problematic. Many authors have told me that my notes and edits have helped them determine exactly what a troublesome section needs to be perfect.
I will send you two versions of the edited manuscript thus far: one showing all the tracked changes editing marks, and a clean copy that has all the edits incorporated into it. I always have the author type any additions, deletions, and notes into the clean copy so that those will stand out when that copy is returned to me. I will leave the track changes feature turned on within that clean copy so that any changes you type into it will automatically show up in colors for me.
At this halfway point, if you have chosen to pay me in two installments, I will collect the second half-payment of the editing fee and continue editing to the end, repeating the entire process for the second half as described above when I have finished editing the entire book.
I usually wait a week to get fresh eyes, and then I read the edited version of the manuscript. This gives me the same experience a reader will have, and it gives me a chance to catch any remaining tiny errors, such as commas out of place or a missing period. If I am publishing the book too, this is the point during which I perfect the formatting and interior design of the book in preparation for making the print book pdf and the ebook.
This system has never failed me, and I have always helped my authors perfect their books using this collaborative method. I also help my authors come up with chapter titles, chapter divisions, rearrangements of paragraphs and chapters, and bits of additional writing if needed while retaining the author’s voice. This ability comes from much skill and experience, and I am naturally intuitive as an editor. When I’m immersed in a book, if a certain section is not clear, I am very talented at knowing what the author is trying to say, and I make notes or do bits of additional writing accordingly. Of course, the author always makes the final determination. I do all this in a systematic fashion with regular email communication so that the author is always in agreement and is never left in the dark.
Multiple Rounds of Editing for One Fee
Many editors refuse to communicate with their authors. They simply want to do the work and return the manuscript with a once-and-done mentality. My method actually involves a few rounds of editing, but I only charge one editing fee. I have perfected this process in the nearly 300 books I’ve edited over the course of more than a decade of freelance editing, and I enjoy working in partnership with authors to perfect their books.