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.
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.
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!
You are my third editor, and I cannot help thinking if only I had found you back when. Most important to me, you understand what I am trying to do. Your critique is insightful, and I am grateful for your help.
Thank you for the honest evaluation of The Trout River Project. In fact, you provided more than I expected. I am encouraged to use your comments as a guideline for rewriting Trout River.
Any success I’ve had in the rewrite is due directly to your plot analysis, coaching, suggestions, and teaching this novice writer. I confess, at first I had a hard time accepting, and then absorbing, your critical comments. I didn’t want to waste all that research and storyline. But gradually as I began to rethink the project and then to employ your suggestions, it all began to make sense and I liked the story a lot more. I especially like the new scenes involving Masterson and his adventures.
Thank you so much, Bill. I found a wealth of information in your evaluation, and it was exactly what I needed. Your review was thorough and wide-ranging, covering high-level analysis (such as storyline), mid-level (such as perspective shifts and narration), and even some low-level feedback (down to grammar and writing style). I have to say that I was truly impressed with what you provided, and I cannot say that it lacked for anything.
Wow! Thank you so much for your great evaluation. It was really strange to have someone communicate in such a precise manner. I cannot argue with anything you said in terms of making the story work for the largest audience possible. It was worth every penny!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ll read your manuscript from first page to last and tell you what you’ve done right and what still needs work.
Manuscript Critique………………………………………$24 per thousand words
My practical, detailed suggestions 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.
Major Rewrite……………………………………………….$15,000 and up
I’ll develop a rewrite plan for your approval, then I’ll overhaul your manuscript from the ground up.
Ghostwriting……………………………………………….$25,000 and up
I’ll ghostwrite your book based on your story idea or outline.