An explanation of my editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach services

An explanation of my editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach services July 14, 2015

(Earlier this month I published a brief notice about my offering myself as an editor, ghostwriter and writing coach. I wanted to follow that up with the detailed explanations below of the services that I’m offering. If you’re curious as to why I’m now taking on this exciting kind of work, subscribe to my [free, no-ads] newsletter—where, in the issue I’ll be sending out tomorrow, I’ll be discussing a bit of that, and how it fits in with the Majorly Humongous Changes happening in my life even as I type.)

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I am happy to announce that I am now making myself available as an editor-for-hire and writing coach.

I’ve done developmental editing for best-selling novelists; I edited one of the worldwide best-selling nonfiction books in recent history; I’ve co-authored books with some of the top authors in the country. I also spent ten years earning my living editing and writing for general interest newspapers and magazines, and have vast experience creating and writing for nationally recognized blogs and websites (such as Microsoft, AOL, and E! Online), including my own.

With preeminent authority on American English and renowned wordsmith Richard Lederer, I co-authored Comma Sense: A FUN-damental Guide to Punctuation (St. Martin’s, 2007).

My literary agent for the mainstream book market is Deborah Schneider, of Gelfman Schneider. My representative to the Christian book market is Kathy Helmers, of Creative Trust.

If you have a book or book idea that you’d like to see taken to the next level, I can help.

I offer six editorial and writing services: Project Evaluation, Project Development, Substantive Editing, Writing Coach, Telling Your Story and Editing Your Website.

Here’s a look at each of those services:

I. Project Evaluation

Who’s this for? Project Evaluation is for writers who have written a partial or complete book manuscript.

What’s its purpose? To assess the viability of your book relative to your goals for it.

How’s it work?

1. I’ll send you a questionnaire, which you’ll fill out and return to me.

2. You’ll send me whatever you have written of your manuscript to date, along with any pertinent materials related to the book as a whole (an outline, notes, chapter summaries, etc.).

3. I’ll review everything you’ve sent me.

4. I’ll send you follow-up questions.

6. We’ll talk on the phone, or via Skype, to make sure that I’ve fully understood all of your answers to my questions.

7. I’ll evaluate the overall relationship between the book you have so far, the book you have in mind, and the book you want.

8. I’ll send you a thorough written assessment of your project: its strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, potential.

9. We’ll Skype for an hour to discuss my analysis of your book, and to answer any questions you may have.

What’s it cost? $500


II. Project Development

Who’s this for? Writers who want their idea for a book turned into a book.

What’s its purpose? To define, hone, and organize your vision for your book. Working in collaboration, you and I will develop your idea for your book into a cohesive, balanced, and fully realized whole.

How’s it work? 

1. I’ll send you a questionnaire, which you’ll fill out and return to me.

2. You’ll send me materials and content germane to your book: what (if any) of the book you’ve written thus far, pertinent notes you’ve taken for it, source recordings, articles, pictures, and so on.

3. I’ll study this material.

4. On the phone, or via Skype, we’ll discuss the material. (I’ll get necessary clarifications, contextual understandings, further explanations, etc., and, if it seems warranted, discuss with you possible ways to cull, hone, and focus it all. This is where the book really begins to take form.)

5. I’ll send you a preliminary written outline of your book.

6. We’ll talk on the phone or over Skype to discuss and hone the outline.

7. I’ll send you the finalized outline of your book, including all of its chapters, and a brief summary of what each chapter will contain.

8. If you desire, we will then begin developing each of your book’s chapters into its best and most logical subchapters.

9. We’ll repeat this step, chapter by chapter, until we’ve arrived at a thorough, detailed, and fully developed outline of your book.

What’s it cost? For Project Developmental I charge my hourly rate, which is $65 per hour.


III. Substantive Editing

Who’s this for? Writers who have written a partial or complete book manuscript they want substantively edited.

What’s its purpose? To hone and properly organize your book manuscript. Working in collaboration, you and I will develop your manuscript into a cohesive, balanced, and fully realized whole.

How’s it work? There are three types of editing which every book must undergo. First comes developmental editing (a service I offer; see above), next is substantive editing, and finally comes copyediting, also known an proofreading (a service which I do not offer). Substantive Editing is where I analyze the whole of your partial or completed manuscript, and suggest changes to it relative to just about everything that defines it: grammar, syntax, clarity of expression, point of view, tone, pace, flow, theme development, contexts, and overall organization—as well as, for fiction, such elements as plot, setting, character establishment and development, and so on. In short, I will show you how to turn whatever text you have into the best possible version of itself.

What’s it cost? $65 per hour.


IV. Telling Your Story

Who’s this for? Anyone who has a story—a memory, an anecdote, an experience, a life—that they want captured in words.

What’s its purpose? To transform the whole of a lived experience into writing that will endure.

How’s it work? We’ll talk; you’ll relate to me the story you want to tell; together we will fashion, and in your voice, tell your story. It might be a particular incident or chapter from your past that you want preserved for yourself or a larger reading audience; it might be a memoir of your life that can be handed down for generations of your family. Whatever it is, and in whatever form you want it told—book-length memoir, novel, novella, short story, poem, a letter or series of letters—I will ghostwrite your story for you.

What’s it cost? $65 per hour.


V. Writing Coach

Who’s this for? Anyone who desires to become a better writer.

What’s it’s purpose? To give you motivation, inspiration, and tools that you can use to become the best and most productive writer you can be.

How’s it work? I offer coaching sessions, each of which is self-contained. Each session happens in the following steps:

First, we’ll talk on the phone, or via Skype, and I will learn where your writing life is currently at. We’ll discuss such things as what your writing is to you—what it means to you, why it compels you, what you want to give it, what you expect from it in return. Perhaps most importantly, we’ll talk about what might be holding you back from becoming the writer you’d like to be.

In a day or so following our talk, I will get back to you with some exercises and/or a writing project that I’ll want you to do. It might be something that I want you to read or watch, or an experience that I want you to have. It will certainly include something that I’d like you to write. It might be a free-form poem, a letter, something that’s strictly stream-of-consciousness, a piece of fiction based upon an experience from your childhood, a monologue from a point of view that’s completely opposite your own. Whatever it comprises, this exercise, or combination of exercises, will be custom designed for you. Its purpose will be to unlock and unblock the creative flow of your inner writer.

Once you’ve returned to me your completed assignment, I will deeply reflect upon what it tells me about where you are in your journey toward becoming the writer you want to be—and what steps you might take to get there from where you’re at.

On the phone, or via Skype, I will share with you my conclusions.

This is therapy for writers, and as such is ideally continued over time, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Session by session, you will become a clearer, more focused, more insightful, more disciplined, more competent, more confident, and, perhaps most importantly, more artful writer.

What’s it cost?
1 Coaching Session: $125
4 sessions: $450
8 sessions: $800


VI. Editing Your Website

Who’s this for? Anyone with a website or blog that needs a writer and/or editor’s touch.

What’s its purpose? Your website or blog is how you tell the world who you are and what you do. If your online home reads poorly or looks bad, you look bad. I can ensure that all of the content on your site looks great and reads well, making your website a pleasure to visit.

How’s it work? Following my careful evaluation of the user’s experience of your website, I will send you a report delineating those aspect of your site which I believe are most in need of attention. (Analyzing and reporting on your site will typically take three hours, depending upon the size of the site.) If you so desire, you can next hire me to fix any or all editorial components of your website. From suggesting optimal organization off your website’s pages, to editing and writing its text, to properly placing and sizing all of its pictures, I will turn your online representation of yourself into something you can be proud of. (My technical partner in this sort of work is Dan Wilkinson, a webmaster whose vast skill-set we can additionally employ to address any problems with your site more technical than editorial.)

What’s it cost? $65 per hour.

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