Professional editing will help your pages soar.
If you’re self-publishing and would like to make a profit, you need an editor. Multiple surveys have shown that indie authors who contracted professional services (especially in editing and cover design) earned significantly more than authors who did not.
In a crowded market that still battles stigmas of poor quality and “lots of typos,” good editing can keep readers from giving up on your book and help set you apart from the crowd. Let’s face it—no one can edit her own work! Your brain knows what it means regardless of what’s on the page, and it’s hard to see past that. Let your editor help you clearly show your readers what’s in your head as you mean for them to understand it.
If you intend to query agents or publishers, personally investing in editing can also help to set you apart from the slush pile. Many manuscripts are rejected since they are not as publication-ready as agents and publishers would like. Make sure yours is ready with a professional eye to guide you.
While it is true that if your manuscript is accepted by a publisher it will be edited in-house (and some agents also have editing backgrounds), it may not receive the undivided attention you would prefer for all your hard-earned work. In-house editors juggle many projects and other administrative tasks at once. Investing in quality edits will help your story stand the test of time.
Whatever the case may be, you will find value in learning about the process hands-on if you have not had your work edited before—and strengthen the quality and polish of your story along the way. Revision is simultaneously daunting and exciting, but a good editor will guide you to bring out your best story for your readers.
A high-level readthrough that answers the question of where your manuscript is solid and what could use more work.Includes an overall, high-level review of the manuscript and recommendation for next steps. Feedback is provided in a letter highlighting strengths, weaknesses, marketability, and where it might best fit in the market.
A content review focusing on the core story elements such as structure, plot, voice, character, worldbuilding, pacing, etc. Includes an editorial letter summarizing all suggestions and recommended next steps plus a marked-up manuscript file with marginal comments and suggested edits using the “track changes” feature in Word.
Includes a thorough review of the text for flow, clarity, grammar, spelling, conciseness, style— usually the Chicago Manual of Style in conjunction with Merriam-Webster Dictionary as industry standards—and level, if applicable, in a marked-up manuscript file using Word’s “track changes” feature. Proofreads check objective errors and layout format.
“Gina is an amazing editor, writing coach and creative companion! Her feedback on my manuscript exceeded my expectations. She provided comprehensive guidance, resources, and suggestions without making me feel incompetent. It's clear that she knows the art and craft of writing and she is committed to helping other writers improve and polish their work. I feel lucky to have found Gina. Her competence, enthusiasm and kindness is just what I needed to get my novel into publishable shape."
Lisa Kelly, PhD
Author of The Wizard's Way
Owner, dragon, editor, coach
Gina is an editor of 10 years, a book coach, and an author with a background in educational publishing, teaching, and journalism. She grew up in Narnia and Middle-earth, writing and illustrating her own stories. After she earned her M.A. in literature, she became an editor at Capstone Publishers. Now she's an all-around book dragon whose favorite books include those by Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Martha Wells, Marissa Meyer, and Diana Wynne Jones.
Word wyvern, copy editor, proofreader
Kaitlyn is a wife, mom, and Jane of all trades with a degree in communications. She’s been working with creatives in a professional capacity for more than 10 years and loved it so much she married one. She’s an editor at heart, polishing up books, articles, captions, and images. Some of her favorite books include Three Songs for Courage by Maxine Trottier, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, and Triptych by Karin Slaughter.
Word wyvern, copy editor, proofreader
Kiera is an instructor at Presentation College, where she teaches courses in composition and literature. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of South Dakota and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Sioux Falls in English and Theology/Philosophy. Her favorite books include Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, the Anne of Green Gables series, and many works by Barbara Kingsolver and Robin McKinley.
“Working with Gina gives me a sense of confidence that my manuscript is ready to share with the key players in the publishing industry — my agent and future potential editors. I feel like it's the icing on the cake that lets me know I can submit my work with pride. Gina gets to the point about what I can improve. And I can take her advice and use it as I create my next project. She helped me see that sometimes I obscure the ‘main misbelief’ of my characters and now I try to address that right from the start in my stories. It's worth it to work with a professional, experienced editor like Gina. She wants you to succeed and offers suggestions to help you reach that goal. I am always so grateful I found an editor I can trust.”
Award-winning children's book author
This is exactly what we’ll help you figure out when you send us your manuscript based on how far it is in the process and your goals for it. Certainly a lot of industry terms exist, but even those designations may mean something different to individual editors, authors, and publishers. Editing types (and services) really break down into two categories: substantive edits and mechanical edits. Substantive edits are the earlier edits that work out issues in the content such as plot, character, timeline, and the like. These are the stages where the most rewriting and revision occur. Mechanical edits usually happen at the last stages. These edits focus on the copy (text) itself and fix errors in grammar and spelling.
The Inky Bookwyrm editing philosophy centers on enhancing your individual voice—not subduing it. We work primarily in Word through direct comments to you on the manuscript and in editorial letters that help you improve your structure, plot, characters, voice, and setting. Everything we provide in ideas and suggestions to best achieve your goals (along with advocacy for your readership) all come out of what you’ve written. A book dragon editor merely unburies and polishes the gems perceived in your work—and perhaps rewires a few synapses along the way. Some of those gems are more direct and others more indirect. For the less direct, our experience still helps us sense the effects you were hoping for, and we strive to find a way for you to make the impact clear through revision. However, you are still the author, and you decide which changes to make. We only advise that if we provide a suggestion to improve a piece of your work, there is likely some issue there that needs to be addressed, whether you choose to address it in the way we suggest or not.
With proofreads or other more mechanical edits, we follow the Chicago Manual of Style (the industry standard) and, in most cases, make direct changes to your text to correct inconsistencies, grammar, style, spelling, and formatting. Unless you request otherwise, we track all changes for you to view using Word’s “track changes” feature because we believe this allows authors to learn more about their writing in the process. However, note that a proofread is only done once the manuscript has been formatted and laid out for publishing. For proofreads, comments and changes are marked on a PDF copy.
Book coaching is a great way to get support walking through the process of whatever stage of novel development you’re at. The Inky Bookwyrm offers coaching for novel planning, drafting, and revising. Some authors prefer the coaching model for regular deadlines for drafting or revising, submitting a chapter or two at a time for feedback and discussing their work on calls. This model better holds them accountable with project management and keeps them on task with energy focused in the right areas to get them through drafting or revision.
Book coaching offers
—guidance through the process
—strong, foundational strategies and tools to use even after coaching
—individualized support for areas of writing, mechanics, or story craft
—an ongoing relationship and a creative soundboard
—confidence and validation to keep going in a way that’s not as possible with one-off edits
—resources and exercises along the way as they relate to your project
—two calls per month to discuss feedback, story trajectory, and any “assignments”
—brainstorming sessions for breakthrough solutions
Coaching can be really beneficial for authors who want to learn more about how story works (and its effect on readers, which is our specialty!), gain clarity on priorities and project plans, or level up their craft. Book coaching is rather like a fast-track MFA or writing course tailored specifically to you while workshopping your project. Plus, we take the cognitive science approach by keeping in mind how story affects readers to make sure novels are doing what they need to at the right times to most highly impact readers.
However, single or multiple rounds of edits are great for assessing, developing, or copy editing completed manuscripts. If you have a manuscript in our niche that you’d like to publish or submit to agents or publishers, we can help you get it ready with respect to your readers. Simply stated, writing is hard! It takes a lot of courage to put your heart and soul on the page and show it to others. But writing is also a process and a craft that requires as much honing as any other.
All content edits (assessments and developmental edits) include a 60-minute follow-up call to clarify feedback and answer any questions. But if you'd prefer more ongoing support, consider coaching.
We follow a simple per-word rate model that starts at two-and-a-half to a little over three cents per word for substantive and copy edits and two cents per word for proofreads. These rates vary based on the deadline and needs of the project.
A non-refundable retainer fee of 30% of the total editing package cost is due up front for editing services. The remaining 70% is usually due in full upon completion of edits. Payments may be broken up in multiple installments prior to the final deadline.
We often book out three or more months in advance. With each editing project often taking multiple weeks to complete, that's just how it works out! Many authors book ahead to reserve their spots. However, it never hurts to check availability by reaching out. Bookings are only final after the initial deposit is received to hold the spot in our schedule. So until we have an accepted contract, any prospective project dates remain open.
Yes. We believe contracts help to protect both parties and clarify expectations and boundaries. You can view your offer and sign your contract online. These documents will be saved in your unique client portal, which you may access at any time.
Nope! Coaching is paid monthly. For editing, a non-refundable retainer fee of 30% of the total editing package cost is due up front. The remaining 70% is usually due in full upon completion of edits. Other payment options may be negotiated, save that services should always be paid ahead of receipt of completed edits or feedback.
We use a payment service called Stripe, which allows you to pay via credit card. My system also allows you to save a card on file for automatic payments for installments. It's all secure, clear, and easy to complete online.
“Gina was absolutely amazing to work with! I cannot speak highly enough of Gina as an editor and as a professional in the publishing world. Gina knows the industry, and as a debut author, I needed someone with her knowledge. Her work as an editor is very thorough and consistent, and her goal really is to make your book shine while still keeping it YOUR book. I was so impressed at how much my book improved when I applied her suggestions after each editing round! Gina's copy edit is also a must—she scanned my manuscript SO thoroughly. She addressed any questions or concerns I had throughout the editing process, and she was so pleasant to work with. Thank you, Gina!”
Ashley W. Slaughter
Author of The Crowned Chronicles