Manuscript Edit

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.

Free Edit 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 send it as an email attachment to william@wgreenleaf.com. Or you can mail it on CD or USB flash drive:

William Greenleaf
6003 Redondo Sierra Vista  NE
Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87144

Click here for examples of light, medium, and heavy editing.

Questions about how a professional edit of your manuscript will improve its readability and help you reach your publishing goals? Call me at 505-401-1021 or send me an email at william@wgreenleaf.com. I answer my phone if I’m in the office, and I return emails promptly.