Your Story, Perfected

I got my start in the publishing world as an editor, and I still have a special place in my heart for helping other authors perfect their work. Because I spend the majority of my time writing my own stories (so much to write, so little time!), I accept editorial projects on a limited basis. 

In general, the projects I take on fall into one of these genres: Christian/inspirational fiction (adult/young adult), sweet romance (adult/young adult), Christian nonfiction, devotionals, Bible studies.

 

If your book falls into one of the genres above, please read on for a description of my editorial services and starting rates. Exact rate will be determined after I review your work. Ready to get started? Contact me to tell me more about your project.

Reread Report

 

Nothing is more frustrating than making lots of big-picture edits but not knowing if they work. I'll reread your edited manuscript up to one year after our initial developmental edit and give you feedback on where your revisions succeed and where they might need more work. You'll receive both an edit letter and a marked-up manuscript.

Rate: starting at $.02/word

Contact me for an estimate.

Proofreading

 

The final, vital step before you release your book baby into the world. Proofreading catches those embarrassing spelling, grammar, and usage errors that all too often sneak into books.

I can proofread using track changes in Word or Google Docs. Or, if you have a final layout, I can proofread a PDF, using the comment feature to mark changes. If your book is already formatted for Kindle or another platform, I will create a separate document noting page and line numbers of all required changes. I will also note any formatting errors.

Rates: starting at $.01/word

Contact me for an estimate and free two-page sample edit.

Submission Review

 

If you're planning to pursue traditional publication, you need to wow an agent or editor from the first words. I'll help whip your query letter, synopsis, and first three chapters into shape through a single round of edits that will include both a developmental and line edit.

Rates: starting at $250

Contact me for an estimate.

Developmental Edit

 

Also called a content or substantive edit, the developmental edit looks at the manuscript as a whole to address big-picture issues such as:

  • plot,

  • characterization,

  • setting,

  • story arc and structure,

  • narrative tension, 

  • voice. 

You'll receive a detailed editorial letter, as well as numerous in-text notes using the comments feature of your preferred software (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or Scrivener). Most documents will have several hundred comments, not because I want to discourage or overwhelm you but because I don't believe in leaving any potential improvements on the table.

 

Don't worry, I'll offer suggestions for how to fix areas that need work. And a fair number of my comments will be along the lines of "I love this!" or "Yes!" or "More please!"

I'm happy to do a developmental edit of your full manuscript or any portion thereof (minimum 10 pages).

Rates: starting at $0.03/word

Contact me for an estimate and free two-page sample edit.

Line Edit

 

When you're confident that your story itself is largely set, it's time for a line edit. As the name implies, this type of edit involves going through your story line-by-line. I'll mark the text up for:

  • awkward phrasing,

  • cliches,

  • repetition,

  • sentence structure and variety,

  • passive voice,

  • usage and grammar.

I'll help maximize the effectiveness of your prose and tighten your writing by cutting unnecessary words and phrases. I'll watch for the best places for paragraph and scene breaks. Though I'm a stickler for grammar, I'm not averse to bending the rules for the purpose of the story. We all need a sentence fragment in our lives now and again. But I'll make sure when you do break the rules, it serves the story. 

 

All suggestions will be made using the track changes feature of your preferred software (Microsoft Word or Google Docs; sorry, Scrivener for PC does not have this feature yet).

Rates: starting at $.02/word

Contact me for an estimate and free two-page sample edit.

Full Package

 

Want to go through the whole process together? I'll take two (for a line edit and proofreading) or three (for a developmental edit, line edit, and proofreading) passes through your manuscript. After you've made changes, I'll read your manuscript again, this time focusing on the next step in the editing process.

Please note that this is an extensive process and will likely take place over the course of several months, depending on how quickly you make revisions. I do not impose deadlines on second- and third-round edits (unless you want me to!). 

Rate: starting at $.03/word

Contact me for an estimate and free two-page sample edit.

GOT HAVE QUESTIONS? I HAVE ANSWERS.

Q: What's your editorial philosophy?

A: My editorial philosophy is to always tell you the truth—but kindly. As an author myself, I know what it feels like to receive feedback on content that is dear to you, especially about what's not working. That's why I always phrase my edits gently—and point out what you're doing right as well as what needs work. However, I also know that ignoring problems never helped anyone, so I won't hold back from flagging the areas that need work, whether they are huge, manuscript-wide issues, or smaller, single-scene (or even single-sentence) problems.

Don't be discouraged if your manuscript comes back looking all marred by my editorial marks. That's how it's supposed to look! Revision isn't about feeling bad about yourself as a writer—it's about learning ways to make your writing even stronger. I feel privileged to be part of your writing journey and look forward to encouraging your growth as a writer. If you're wondering what it's like to work with me, you can check out the testimonials below.

Q: How do I know what kind of edit I need?

A: If you're not sure whether your story is working, start with a developmental edit. This can help you figure out where you may have gotten off track with your plot, characters, voice, or other big-picture issues. If you're already confident with the content of your story and are looking to polish up the prose, dive into a line edit. Everything else set and you just want to make sure there are no typos? Skip right to the proofread. If you're not quite sure what kind of edit you need, contact me, and I'll take a quick peek at your manuscript and offer my two cents on what type of edit would best serve you.

Q: Will you change my writing voice?

A: Voice is one of those tricky things that belongs to you alone. That said, I can help you develop your writing voice. I won't insist that you change your voice to be like mine (that would be counterproductive) but will instead help you define and refine your own voice and the voice of your characters.

Q: Will you make my story unrecognizable?

A: You hire me to make your story better, not to make it a different story altogether. At the end of the day, this is still your story. If you strongly disagree with a suggestion, I urge you to first give it serious consideration. Then, if you still disagree, ignore the suggestion! That's right. This is your story, and you have to do what you feel is best for it.

Q: Will you mark grammar or spelling errors if you find them during a developmental edit?

A: If I notice places where you're making consistent usage or grammar errors or using cliches or repetitive language, I probably won't be able to resist pointing it out. But that's not the main purpose of this type of edit, since polishing words that you may later cut or rewrite only adds extra work for you.

Q: This sounds great! How do I get started?

A: I'm glad you're interested! Drop me a line and give me a little more information about your project. I'm happy to provide a sample edit of your first two pages and evaluate the rest to determine the rate for your full project. If you decide to book a service, a 50 percent down payment will reserve your spot. The remaining 50 percent is payable upon delivery of edited materials.

Have other questions? Contact me!

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

“I loved working with Val! I thought I would dread criticism from an editor, but she really improved my writing. I gained insights from her comments and learned how to be a better author. She offered encouragement and pointed out specific strengths in my writing. She worked to build my skills but also helped me understand how to improve areas of weakness. I appreciated her professionalism, cheerful encouragement, and prompt responses. She was delightful to work with.” 

—  Naomi Schmidt, Author,

Ruth: Living in God's Unfailing Faithfulness

Welcome to Hope Springs

I fell in love with the town, the characters, and this author's writing.

-Amazon Reviewer

© 2020 Valerie M Bodden

valerie@valeriembodden.com

author photo and editorial services page photos © Josh Bodden

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