Noah Lukeman is a successful literary agent, with plenty of experience rejecting manuscripts. In The First Five Pages he shares that experience with the reader, giving good advice about how a manuscript can be improved in the revision process to make it more likely to be accepted. If you’re thinking of doing your own editing, read this first.
A substantive editor works as a partner with you, to help you create the best writing possible. All of the services included in copy-editing are included but, as a substantive editor, I’ll also become more involved, falling in love with your book right alongside you and helping you improve your writing in several ways:
You have almost certainly heard clever-sounding writing advice, like “show, don’t tell,” and “use active verbs.” A substantive edit will help clarify those and more principles of writing that will go a long way toward making your work successful. I will help with and explain things like:
Writing is a creative journey, and you’ll make many wrong turns while figuring out the way you want to go. Revision lets you smooth your word choices, organize your story a little better, and generally produce a more professional piece of writing.
If you’re one of the brave souls who enlists the help of a substantive editor, expect to be challenged. Expect to discover that you use your favorite phrase way too many times. Expect that a paragraph you’re in love with will have to go if it doesn’t move the story forward. And expect to be really proud of your work when the process is all done.
A caveat, though: As the author, you make the final decision about any changes to your manuscript. If you have questions about why a change was proposed, be sure to ask about it. Don’t accept a change until you understand it and are convinced it’s a good idea. It’s your name that will be on the cover, not your editor’s.
For rates, see the Editing Services page.
Request your free 1000 word sample edit, or just email with questions: email@example.com