Magic Words Editorial Services: Freelance book editor for fantasy, horror, scifi, speculative fiction writers | Editorial Services

Editorial Services

Books may well be the only true magic. — Alice Hoffman

“Uh, so, what exactly does a freelance book editor do? It’s like proofreading or something, right?”

 

Yes! And—no!

 

The straight truth: every editor in the world offers different levels, types, and ways of freelance book editing, on a spectrum from big picture to minute detail.

 

Magic Words focuses on transforming the words that make up your overall story. I like to get beneath the surface, down to the ingredients of your story potion, and tweak an eye of newt here and a wing of bat there. All that boring stuff you were supposed to learn in tenth-grade English class? Yeah, that’s my jam. I know (and love!) all those rules, so you don’t have to remember if a comma comes before or after the quotation mark.

 

I use The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., which is the holy book of publishing. I’ve read it (yes, all 1000+ pages of it) cover to cover more than once. Heck, I even have a certificate from the grammar wizards that wrote it! (University of Chicago, that would be.)

 

Whether your story needs a featherlight touch or a complete review of every word and sentence, my job is to make sure your book is free of goblins and gremlins so you can present or submit your work with confidence.

PACKAGES & PRICING

Style Tune Up

(common names: line, substantive, stylistic, or heavy copyedit)

A Style Tune Up fixes anything that might take your reader out of the story and the mesmerizing fantasyland you’ve created so you can keep them hooked and gushing about how brilliant a writer you are. In a Style Tune Up, I will:

  • Review the entire manuscript line by line, focusing on style, clarity, and coherence to make sure your unique voice sings clearly. I’ll look for repeating words, language flow, ambiguity, consistency, wordiness, agreement, word choice, and more
  • Include a thorough GUM cleaning: grammar, usage, mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and other nuts and bolts concerns).
YOU’LL RECEIVE
  • A polished manuscript with all changes tracked. One swift click from you to accept (or deny!) the changes, and you have a publishable manuscript, ready for submission.
  • Comments from me throughout the manuscript with additional language- and voice-related clarifications and suggestions.
  • A style sheet with all of your book’s details and my changes documented and explained to give to your publisher or keep for your future reference.
GREAT FOR
  • Revised, beta-read, and critiqued final drafts that need a deep sentence-level cleaning.

$.025/WORD

STARTING PRICE—FINAL PER WORD

COST WILL DEPEND ON THE COMPLEXITY

AND CLEANLINESS OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT

Nuts and Bolts

(common names: copyedit, light copyedit)

A Nuts and Bolts copyedit catches those slipups and typos, those bugbears of the English language, and any brain farts that crept in during the arc of writing your manuscript (e.g., Aldric’s eyes are green not blue)—you know, all those annoying mistakes that sharp readers like to point out in their negative reviews. Oops! In a Nuts and Bolts copyedit, I will:

  • Review the entire manuscript line by line, giving your words a GUM cleaning: grammar, usage, mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and other nuts and bolts concerns).
  • Do light fact-checking and reading for clarity.
YOU’LL RECEIVE
  • A polished manuscript with all changes tracked. One swift click from you to accept (or deny!) the changes and you have a publishable manuscript, ready for submission.
  • Comments from me throughout the manuscript with additional grammar- and clarity-related suggestions.
  • A style sheet with all of your book’s details and my changes documented and explained to give to your publisher or keep for your future reference.
GREAT FOR
  • Revised, beta-read, and critiqued final drafts that are stylistically clean but need an eagle-eyed review.

$.015/WORD

STARTING PRICE—FINAL PER WORD

COST WILL DEPEND ON THE COMPLEXITY

AND CLEANLINESS OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT

Polish and Shine

(common name: proofread)

A Polish and Shine is the final, final, FINAL step before the book is published. It’s one. last. review before the book heads to the printing presses and changes are allowed nevermore. Usually (but not always), this type of edit occurs on a typeset and designed proof of the final book. Usually (and, yes, always), it happens after all the editing above has been done. In a Polish and Shine, I will:

  • Review your manuscript to check for inconsistencies that may have crept in between the final draft and the final final draft.
YOU’LL RECEIVE
  • A marked up manuscript to give to your typesetter or publisher for final changes.
GREAT FOR
  • A finished manuscript that has been through all rounds of editing (either typeset and designed or not).

$.01/WORD

STARTING PRICE—FINAL PER WORD

COST WILL DEPEND ON THE COMPLEXITY

AND CLEANLINESS OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT*

 

*Discount available if combined with another editing package

Story Diagnostic

(common names: manuscript evaluation, editorial assessment, deep beta read)

But, what if you’re not at the editing stage yet? What if you have half a draft, or 50,000 words (looking at you, WriMos), or a couple of chapters and a rough outline? Can I help you then? You bet! A Story Diagnostic is a read through of what you have, no matter what shape it’s in, from a professional reader who knows your genre, knows the writing craft, and knows how to point out what works and what doesn’t without killing your motivation. It’ll get you back on track or set you on a new, better road to publication. In a Story Diagnostic, I will:

  • Review the entire manuscript from the overall viewpoint of a professional reader, looking specifically at plot, pacing, characterization, structure, narrative, or any other craft elements that concern you or need improvement. (Note: This is not as thorough as a developmental edit. It will include general critique and opinion for your reference. It does not include in-manuscript markup or a book map.)
YOU’LL RECEIVE
  • A diagnostic letter of approximately five to seven pages that addresses what works, what doesn’t work, general thoughts and suggestions, and my opinion of the book’s publish-ability in its current form. Heavy on the love!
GREAT FOR
  • First drafts, incomplete drafts, messy drafts, or anything in between.
  • Authors who are struggling with certain aspects of a story and need a professional’s help to sort them out.

$.007/WORD

STARTING PRICE—FINAL PER WORD

COST WILL DEPEND ON THE COMPLEXITY

AND CLEANLINESS OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT*

 

*Discount available if combined with another editing package

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Magic Words Editorial Services: Freelance book editor for fantasy, horror, scifi, speculative fiction writers | Frequently Asked Questions

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padawan, if you read these FAQs.