A sound concept and engaging story aren’t enough to guarantee success in this business.
Put simply, the prose needs to be lively, free of errors, and easy to follow. Nothing will kill a reader’s interest faster than dull, clunky prose that’s full of typos, punctuation errors, close-but-no-cigar words, and awkward narrative structure.
If you plan to seek the representation of a top-tier literary agent with the goal of selling your book to a major commercial publisher, then it’s essential that your manuscript be as close to perfect as possible. If the manuscript doesn’t have a professional look to it, agents and publishers won’t even read far enough to discover whether or not the story has merit.
The need for perfection also applies to self-published books.
If you don’t think it’s necessary to have your manuscript professionally edited, take a look at a few Amazon reviews of self-published books. Poor editing is the chief reason for snarky comments. What we’re talking about here is readability. Your book may have a compelling plot and engaging characters, but how can readers enjoy it if they’re constantly stumbling over typos, grammatical errors, and mangled prose?
Answer: They won’t enjoy it. Worse, many of them will leave negative reviews at websites such as Amazon and Goodreads instead of the positive reviews that can generate respectable book sales.
Production-line editing has become the norm.
Large editing firms dominate this business nowadays. They handle dozens – in some cases hundreds – of books each month, and believe me, it isn’t personal to them. They don’t care about the time and effort you’ve put into your book. They don’t care how important it is to you.
Your manuscript will be tossed into their production line with a team leader, an editor, and maybe a proofreader, and there will be no way for you to know if they’ll have an experienced editor work on it, or even if the editor is in this country.
Those of us who have been editing books for many years know the importance of communication between author and editor. But if you sign up with one of these big editing firms, you likely won’t have any contact at all with the editor.
Production lines are fine for assembling toasters and wheelbarrows, but do you really want to hand your hopes and dreams over to a production-line editor?
The Greenleaf Difference
I definitely don’t have a production line. It’s just me, my computer, and the cat. When I edit your manuscript, I will be living and breathing it for as long as it takes me to finish the work. I know it’s your baby, and I’ll treat it accordingly.
My first step will be to review the manuscript and assess its editing needs. This is a critical part of the process, and most book editors don’t even take the time to do it. They just wade in and start fixing typos and moving commas around. (In the case of editors in India, they’ll also start adding way too many semicolons. Sorry for the diversion. That’s just a pet peeve of mine.)
Too often, a generic edit is performed that doesn’t take the author’s narrative style into account. Unless the author is an extremely poor writer, the final edited manuscript should retain the author’s narrative voice.
Once I’ve assessed the needs of your manuscript, I’ll correct all the mechanical errors (punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, etc.), polish the prose to improve clarity and narrative flow, and provide a new, fully edited manuscript. I’ll make at least four editing passes through the manuscript, and when the book is published, readers won’t be complaining about typos and awkward prose.
Get a Free Review and Fee Quote
I’ll be glad to take a look at your manuscript and let you know what level of editing it needs. I’ll also tell you exactly what my fee will be and how soon I can do the work. The quickest way to get your manuscript to me would be to use the form on this page to upload it. Please ensure your work is in Microsoft Word or RTF format.
Or you can mail it on CD or USB flash drive:
6003 Redondo Sierra Vista NE
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87144
Please note: I’m a book writer and editor. I work only with novels and nonfiction books of at least 40,000 words. If you need help with a short story, magazine article, term paper, collection of poems, or PhD dissertation, I can’t help you. If you need help with a novel or nonfiction book, then I’m your guy!
What My Clients Are Saying
I must say a special thank-you for solving my three years of editing issues and problems. The manuscript looks great. I am very happy I took a chance on you. It was totally worth it. You have elevated my book, The Non-Silence of the Lamb, to another level. For that I am thankful.
You did a fantastic job of editing my novel. LOVE IT! It really reads so much better, and I especially like the way you used more active voicing and improved much of the dialogue and action sequence wording. All without changing my basic style, structure, and patterns, etc. This professionally edited version was a real joy for me to read. I also totally appreciated the way you interacted with me throughout the entire process, from initial manuscript evaluation through manuscript development thru pro-editing thru agent-list prep and pub-package development. You always delivered exactly what you promised on time, and answered all my belabored questions very patiently and thoroughly. It’s been a truly wonderful mentoring/coaching experience for me, just as I think it would be for anyone else attempting a first-time novel, especially one of this length! By the time it was all over, I felt like I’d completed a full-fledged graduate program at a top university in historical novel writing!
I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your work. I’m going through this and see that once again, your work is exactly what I had been looking for the day I searched for a professional copy editor. It brings me a lot of satisfaction to see my manuscript getting pounded into proper condition because of your expertise.
Thank you again for the work you’ve done. The book is so clean now I’m jealous I couldn’t get it up to that level myself.
I am in awe of the miracle you have performed on my novel. I could not wait to tell you how pleased I am. You are the best. Thank you.
I’ve read the critique and thank you for the thorough review. This is exactly what I need! I can’t wait to dive in and get to work.
Bill, this is exactly the type of astute feedback I was seeking. Very insightful and with every problem, you’ve provided several very excellent solutions. I love having someone who’s feedback I can trust and doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear.
First let me say thanks so much. It’s a bit frustrating to me that others use me to “edit” their stories sometimes, and although far from a professional like you, I’m generally well received when I do it. Except, of course, when I’m trying to review my own work and fail miserably. It’s like I know it too well and look right through the writing to the story underlying. So again, thanks so much for picking up the grammar and tense and paragraph placement and all of the other fun stuff that comes with a DeFazio “masterpiece.”
I was overwhelmed by the thoroughness of your critique. I had no idea what to expect. It was much more than I thought it would be. I was so excited to get started on the rewrite. The help and guidance you offered during the rewrite was invaluable. I can’t think of anything else you could have done to help in the final editing and proofing process. Maybe the best I can say is that you were a joy to work with. I look forward to you taking a look at my next manuscript.
Bill Greenleaf is a consummate professional at his craft. He gives new meaning to meticulous when it comes to grammatical and syntactical correctness. Better yet, Bill’s many improvements to my latest book, How Now, Norm’s Tao, were not only insightful, but were consistent with my offbeat sense of humor and irreverent literary style. If you want your book to be the very best it can be, give Bill Greenleaf a call today.
Wow, this is the most amazingly helpful evaluation (or input of any kind) I’ve ever had as a writer. I can’t quite express how thankful I am to have found your help. Your thoughts are so insightful. Every point you make has the clearest ring of truth. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Once again, your evaluation was terrific and will be invaluable in my repair of the manuscript. I believe The Last Rapier has commercial potential, but as I said earlier, I knew something wasn’t right about it. You have helped me see what those weaknesses are, and I can fix them. Thank you.
Thank you for your excellent critique, which is far beyond my expectations, on schedule, and very, very much appreciated!!! It will take a while to digest it all, and I know already that I can learn a lot from it!
Manuscript Critique………………………………………$22 per thousand words
My critique will show you how to turn your manuscript into a book with solid commercial value.
Manuscript Editing………………………………………..$40 - $50 per thousand words
I’ll correct the mechanical errors (spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc.) and I’ll polish the prose to improve clarity and narrative flow.
Book Proposal……………………………………………....$950 and up
I’ll help you avoid the mistakes that can make the difference between sale and rejection.