Quick overview to answer your questions
Who: I work with first-time writers as well as published authors.
What: My specialties are literary fiction, popular fiction, mysteries, Young Adult fiction, biography, memoir, self-help, and narrative nonfiction. I do manuscript evaluation, general editing, line editing, and developmental editing. I can also consult with you on cover and query letters; help you write synopses, pitches, and other important marketing tools; and rewrite or help you rewrite essays, articles, and other short pieces.
What not: I don’t edit technical books or highly specialized nonfiction; I don’t do research for writers; I’m not a copy editor, although correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation is part of my job as a general editor or line editor.
What else: I work with book proposals at any stage of development and book manuscripts at any or all stages of draft, from first to final. If you have individual short stories to be edited, we can discuss the options.
When: Depending on the scope and size of your project, I’ll do my best to accommodate your scheduling needs. First come, first served.
Where: I’m in New York City; you can be anywhere in the country. Location is not a factor anymore, since we’ll communicate by phone and e-mail.
Why: All writing needs editing. You can’t get professional editing from anyone but a professional editor. In the current publishing climate, your work must be at its very best before submission to agents and publishers.
How: I work only with hard copy. With rare exceptions (such as a short proposal), I do not edit onscreen on computer, using “Track Change.” In most cases you’ll mail or deliver your manuscript to me, but e-mailing it to me for printout is a possibility we can consider. When the job is finished, I'll have the edited manuscript photocopied (and I’ll hold the copy, both for your protection and for our discussion of the work), and then return the marked-up original to you by FedEx. Copying and mailing costs are added to your bill.
Terms you should know
Consultation: initial discussion of the content of your work and what you need from the editing process; consultation may also mean professional advice on any area of writing or publishing.
Evaluation: verbal or written analysis of your concept, proposal, or manuscript, based on my reading; gives attention to strengths as well as to areas that need work; helps you restructure, rewrite, and also assess marketability
General editing: tightening and cutting to reduce word count, improve pacing and style, and correct errors of grammar and punctuation
Line editing: comprehensive, detailed line-by-line editing of a manuscript that’s moving toward a final draft; includes attention to structure, language, clarity, plot, characters, grammar, and spelling, and many more issues
Copyediting: rigorous scrutiny and correction of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage; also includes fact-checking and checking for accuracy, consistency, and other nuts-and-bolts (rather than literary) issues
Developmental editing: working with a writer to shape a concept into a coherent proposal or book; includes advice on how to organize the (nonfiction) material or (fictional) plot, what approach to take, how to schedule and complete the work; when the manuscript is complete, the final step is line editing.
Book proposal: lengthy description of a nonfiction project, usually including standard sections such as overview, table of contents, chapter synopses, marketing strategies, likely audience, competitive works, sample chapters
Query letter: one-page letter used for getting an agent or editor interested in your project and finding out if she wants to see it; query letters vary according to the project, so be sure you’re putting yours together correctly.
Synopsis: summary of your fiction project; may range in length from a tight one-page encapsulation of the main points to an extended description of plot and characters
Cover letter: brief note introducing the material you’re sending to an agent or industry editor and, if appropriate, reminding her that she’s asked to see it