So, you’ve finished writing your novel. Humanity has been saved, the hero got the girl, the aliens returned to their homeland, and everyone who’s left alive is left living happily ever after.
But now what?
Well, that depends. Traditionally, before a manuscript can begin its journey into print and onto bookshelves, it must first catch the eye of a literary agent - those fabled and unfathomable gatekeepers of the industry. But while these folks still represent your best shot with one of the big publishing houses, they have, in recent years, found themselves increasingly bypassed by a generation of writers intrepid and tech-savvy enough to chart their own course through the go-it-alone world of self-publishing.
Regardless of what direction you decide to take your manuscript, however, you’re going to need to get that thing polished. And not just polished but sparkling.
And that’s where I can help.
Who I Am
Hi, my name’s Carson McAuley, freelance editor, writer, and proofreader, and I get it - handing over your manuscript is going to be goddamned terrifying. After countless hours spent sculpting and re-sculpting your storyline, after untold nights fine-tuning your characters and honing your style, the thought of making any more revisions probably sounds less like an improvement and more like an elaborate form of torture.
But relax, I’m not here to chop anything off.
I’m certainly not here to muzzle your foul-mouthed protagonist or to pepper your prose with wanton punctuation marks. What I am here to do is offer a helping hand in tying up any loose ends, a deft touch to passages that just don’t flow like the others, and a fresh pair of eyes to spot the mistakes that yours have grown blind to.
What I do
What I am here to do, ultimately, is help you refine your Authentic Voice.
As for the kind of things I like, my literary tastes are just that – literary. Whether you’ve written a gritty crime thriller or a sprawling fantasy epic, so long as your manuscript is written with heart, style, personality, and a little bit of swagger, then I want to read it.
Below are descriptions of the services I offer, each of which is designed to be executed at different stages in your novel's development. If you’ve read them and still can't decide which is best for you, no problem - just send me the first 1000 words, and I will return it, quick as I can, in the form of a free sample edit. Not only will this allow me to assess your manuscript's needs, but it will also give you an idea of what to expect from my services.
Big picture stuff. During these early stages, we'll be thinking in terms of character, plot, point of view, and various other factors that can impact overall cohesion - the mechanics of your story.
The goal of a developmental edit is not only to eliminate plot holes, but also to ensure that all elements are working in tandem, culminating in the most satisfying and impactful conclusion possible.
Here, we’re talking about voice, focusing on the flow and readability of your work, all while ensuring its distinctive qualities are applied throughout. Also addressed are issues of consistency, primarily in regard to character, setting, timeline, motivation, and reality within the story world.
What you will get from me: A word document marked with suggested changes which can be evaluated one by one, and either rejected, accepted, or queried. When the issue is more abstract, I will provide an explanation of what I think needs to be improved and, where possible, how I believe that can be achieved. Depending on my schedule, I try to have line edits returned within three weeks.
This is where things start getting technical. As with all stages within the editing process, consistency is key, and this time we'll be reading with a particular emphasis on spelling and grammar. The outcome here is not to impose linguistic or publishing norms, but rather to strike a balance between them and the trademark features of your writing, establishing in the process, a set of rules unique to your manuscript.
What you will get from me: A word document marked with suggested changes, as well as a stylesheet that can later be used by a proofreader to better retain your style. Two weeks is usually sufficient time in which to complete a copy edit.
Now, we're really getting into the nitty-gritty. At this point, we're trying to catch anything that might have been missed earlier in the process. Typically, this covers typos, dialogue tags, misspellings, and slight missteps in style, although you'd be surprised the kind of errors which occasionally slip through.
What you will get from me: A word document marked with suggested changes, that, when implemented, should constitute the final version of your novel. As with copy editing, you should expect about two weeks turnaround on a proofread.
What you will get from me: A 4000 word critique delving into each of the aforementioned issues. In addition, you will also receive a copy of your manuscript which will show, with specific examples, how my suggestions can best be implemented. I endeavor to return developmental edits within one month.
Needless to say, there are no clearly defined parameters between these services, and almost invariably, my edits will extend beyond the limits of any one of them. My philosophy is to go where the manuscript needs me, and while this ensures each client receives an individualized editing experience, it also makes it difficult, prior to reading your work, to give an accurate assessment of how much it will cost.
Nevertheless, in the interests of keeping everyone on the same page, here are some ballpark figures per 75,000 words.
Developmental Editing - $2250 (I can also provide just the Manuscript Critique for $750)
Line Editing - $1800
Copyediting - $1400
Proofreading - $750
Here are some very nice people saying some very nice things about my (allegedly) very nice work.
If any of my services are of interest to you, or there's something else you'd like to know, just fill in the contact form below and get the conversation started. Please remember to include the most important aspects of your project, including WORD COUNT, GENRE, and DESIRED TIMEFRAME, alongside anything else you think pertinent.
Alternatively, you can drop me a line at:
I look forward to reading your work.