Freelance Fiction Developmental and Line Editor Melissa Bourbon

WRITING A BOOK?

Success in publishing is never guaranteed. Competition is stiff. Doing everything you can to hedge your bets in the ever-changing world of publishing is smart. It’s also essential.

If you are looking for a careful, insightful, and committed editor who is your partner, I can help. I am a #1 Amazon and National Bestselling multi-published author and educator with more than fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry, specifically with the big picture developmental and line editing. Character and plot development are my passions.

I specialize in general fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, romance, middle grade, and YA. I am also available to edit non-fiction, short stories, memoirs, and articles. 


DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

Developmental editing is the first step of the editorial process. It is incredibly important because it gives an objective view of a work, which allows for the identification of what’s working, what’s not, and any problem areas.

A story needs a strong foundation. Developmental editing can help ensure this is the case. It includes a broad evaluation of a project with special attention to clarity/focus, alignment of project to the target audience, and an in-depth review of the project as a whole.

This pass is not focused on line editing or copyediting, which are specific to detail. The primary aim is to make sure a book is as strong as it can be with structure, style, and focus. 

At the completion of a developmental edit, I send a comprehensive editorial letter, which includes observations, identification of problem areas, examples, and recommendations. Areas of focus include:

  • Consistency
  • Story structure and pacing
  • Character development
  • Dialogue
  • Setting issues 
  • Point of view
  • Tone and mood
  • Sentence phrasing 
  • Plot problems/holes

* I also offer developmental editing for nonfiction books, short stories, and other types of writing. See note above.

Developmental editing services are priced competitively at .028 per word.

For example, a 50,000-word manuscript would cost $1400.

A 70,000-word manuscript would cost $1960.

1/2 is due upon invoicing via Paypal or Venmo before editing starts. The remainder is due upon completion and before edited manuscript is returned.

LINE EDITING

Line editing is all about making sure the sentences in a manuscript (fiction or nonfiction), story, memoir, or article are effective. When I line edit a project, I am attentive to an author’s individual style. Every project is given a careful and thorough read. 

I work line-by-line, evaluating scenes, chapters, or sections, tightening language and sentence structure, word choice and syntax, and assessing the overall pacing of the project.

Complete line editing takes time, but it’s a necessary step in the publishing process. This is a comprehensive service that looks at every line of your manuscript. 

Specifically, my line editing service includes a critique (see below), an editorial letter, and line editing on:

  • Structure (based on the Three-Act Structure and/or the hero’s journey)
  • Plot
  • Character development
  • Sub-plots
  • Voice and style
  • Consistency
  • Grammar

I use track changes and will provide a critique letter laying out overall edits and suggestions. 


Line editing services are priced competitively at .028¢ per word.

For example, a 50,000-word manuscript would cost $1400.

A 70,000-word manuscript would cost $1960.

1/2 is due upon invoicing via Paypal or Venmo before editing starts. The remainder is due upon completion and before the edited manuscript is returned.

CRITIQUE (does not include Line Edits)

I provide critique services for mystery, sci fi, romance, and other fiction. This includes a detailed and careful reading of the entire manuscript (see below for specifics), and a summary critique/editorial letter, usually 3-5 pages, which discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript, as well as possible revisions which would make it the best it can be. My editing service is a developmental/content critique. It is completed in one pass.

Partials for contest, agent or editor submissions, or for polishing are additional options available for critique.

So what is a developmental critique?

Part of that question can be answered by saying what it is not. A developmental critique is not a line edit or proofreading (spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure), nor is it a full developmental edit. I will certainly identify repetitive errors, but the critique is not about this type of specific editing. It is about substance.

Before submitting or publishing, I recommend you hire a copy editor and/o proofreader.

My critique services look specifically at:

  • global issues in relation to plot, story structure, character development/motivation
  • plot holes
  • pacing
  • continuity
  • stakes/conflict

I will use track changes and will provide a critique letter laying out overall edits and suggestions.


Critique services are priced competitively at .02¢ per word.

For example, a 50,000 word manuscript would cost $1000.

A 70,000 word manuscript would cost $1400.

1/2 is due upon invoicing via Paypal or Venmo before editing starts. The remainder is due upon completion and before edited manuscript is returned.

SYNOPSIS CRITIQUE

Beginning, middle, end, solid characters, high concept… Does your synopsis have the elements it needs to become a good story?

A synopsis critique includes feedback on key story elements.


Critique services are priced competitively at .02¢ per word.

For example, a 500 word synopsis would cost $100.

Full amount for synopsis critique is due upon invoicing via Paypal or Venmo before editing starts. Turnaround for a synopsis is usually 2-3 days.



WORK-FOR-HIRE/GHOSTWRITING

Work-for-Hire and Ghostwriting is available. Please contact me with the details of your project.

Pricing is competitive with a median price of .9-.10¢ per word. 

The final price will be negotiated based on specific project needs.  

PRICING

My pricing is competitive. Please see the market rates at the  Editorial Freelance Association .

*Nonfiction editing pricing is to be negotiated after a sample is submitted and reviewed. The range is generally .035 – .04¢ per word.