Inspired Editing for Indie Authors
“There is no greater agony than bearing an
untold story inside of you.”
The thing that distinguishes an author from a writer is what they do with those words. Authors are not satisfied once the story is complete and the pen has run out of ink. They will not rest until they can share it with the rest of us. They know it’s the poetry of their language, the beauty of the world they created, the love we have for their characters that we crave. These are what we stay alive for.
Independent publishing has grown in leaps and bounds just in the past year alone. In fact, many mainstream authors are abandoning their longtime publishers for independent publishing, not just because it’s more lucrative but it gives them more creative freedom.
Isn’t that what writing is all about?
At the Polished Pen, we pride ourselves on our ability to work with you and your specific needs as a writer.
Just looking for a quick line edit to check for grammar, punctuation, spelling, consistency and word usage, and a little extra help rewriting/rewording sections to give your manuscript that “polished” look? No problem.
Want a heavier hand to cut through the purple prose and check your manuscript for overall clarity and flow? We have that covered.
Do you need someone to go over your manuscript with a fine tooth comb to catch inconsistent character behavior/speech and the overall readability of your novel?
There’s an editor for that!
“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”
Line editing focuses on the most important part of your book—the language, the words that convey your story. Errors in mechanics or awkward sentence structure can take away from the reading experience. Line editing is usually the final step in the editing process, not including a final proof read.
Copy editing makes sure your manuscript is standing on a strong foundation. A copy editor will make sure your prose is efficient in conveying the story you are trying to tell. They also check the manuscript for clarity, flow, timeline issues, and basic fact checking. Copy editing and line editing usually go hand and hand, but it’s important to know the difference between the two.
During a developmental edit, a fine tooth comb is taken to your manuscript. A developmental editor keeps an eye out for inconsistent character behavior/speech, style issues, thematic variances, plot holes, and readability. A single inconsistency or character flaw can ruin an entire story.
This is the first step for aspiring authors. An editorial review is similar to what happens in the acquisitions department. A manuscript or query comes in and one of the acquisition editors will read through it and decide if it’s something they’re interested in. In other words, if they’ll make money off of it.
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write.
Let them think you were born that way.”
I always had these grandiose ideas of leaving my mark on the world through literary genius.
In true angst brigade fashion, I donned my best black (paired with my favorite skinny jeans of course), drank copious amounts of caffeinated beverages, often letting a Marlboro 27 dangle from my lip, and typed away at a dangerously fast speed that probably mirrored my heart rate thanks to the espresso and Redbull. I had all these ideas and words, and in my head it made sense but not so much when it made it to the page. I decided that maybe I just needed a little guidance. So while my friends were applying to college and planned to major in things like Engineering and Business, you know majors where they actually had a chance of finding a job after graduation, I looked into schools with the best Creative Writing programs.
When someone asks you where you go to school and your answer happens to be on the list of the top 10 in the country, their eyes widen and they almost seem to falter in the presence of your greatness…until they ask what you’re studying. Apparently your Alma Mater doesn’t hold much stock when you announce you’re majoring in something about as useful as basket weaving. But that didn’t matter to me. I was going to change the world, man. I was doing it for the art, not the money. But so were a hundred other students. And that’s where I learned I’m not really a writer. Sure, I did the course work and graduated Cum Laude, but that didn’t make me a writer. During peer reviews and critique, I realized my strength was in the editing process…it just didn’t happen to be mine. I wanted to help writers leave their mark, with lots of red marks from yours truly.
Gone are the days of Maxwell Perkins. Publishers no longer assign an editor to a book who will work closely with an author to refine and revise their work. If a writer needs a little direction and some help to make an okay story into a great novel, they won’t get it unless they work with a smaller independent publisher that has an editorial staff or hire their own editor.
With independent publishing changing the future of the publishing industry, it only makes sense to do the same with editing.
My nose is always in a manuscript, my red pen of doom not far behind. Literary Ninja, High Priestess of Punctuation to the Grammatical Goddess, and Defender of the Oxford Comma. Hemingway lover and gin enthusiast.
I managed to master my developmental, line, and copy editing skills while obtaining my MA in Publishing & Writing. I also spent a great deal of time interning in the acquisitions department of several publishers, and I even learned the ins and outs of book and magazine design and production; publishing for tablets, readers, and mobile devices; and desktop publishing. I also managed to get my toes wet with the publicity and marketing side of things.
Armed with the best education money could buy, I started my very glamorous career as an editor…of catalog copy and textbooks. Not exactly what I was hoping for but it did allow me to home in on my ridiculously keen eye for detail. It also helped me make contacts in the industry, and I managed to line up several freelance editing jobs with the Big Six.
“To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish,
then resolve to pay the price to get it.”
Depending on the needs of an individual author, the editing process varies. These are standard industry rates for editing services, but during the free consultation we determine how we can tailor our services to give the author exactly what they need and want while staying within their budget. All quotes are based on complete word count of the manuscript.
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
How do I format my manuscript?
Use a standard font, 12-point type. Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier is acceptable. Double space the entire text and use 1″ margins on all sides.
How do I submit my manuscript?
We accept Microsoft Word, Pages, or Open Office documents which can be attached in an e-mail once. If you do not have access to any of these word processing programs, please inform us at the beginning of our working relationship so we can discuss other arrangements.
What are “Track Changes”?
“Track Changes” is a feature within Microsoft Word (and the other mentioned programs) which allows you to see the changes that have been made. Changes appear in a different color for easy recognition. Things that have been deleted will have hash marks through them. “Track Changes” allow you to accept or reject any suggested changes. You must “accept” the changes for them to take effect and be saved. Otherwise, it will revert to the original document. We also use the “Comment/Notes” feature to leave additional remarks in the margin.
What is the Chicago Manual of Style?
The Chicago Manual of Style is a style guide for American English published since 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. Its sixteen editions have prescribed writing and citation styles widely used in publishing. It is one of the most widely used and respected style guides in the United States. The CMS deals with aspects of editorial practice, from American English grammar and usage to document preparation. All rules will be followed according to their guidelines. Spellings are all checked against the Unabridged Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.
Do I need to pay upfront?
We do not require any form of payment until the initial consultation is completed. Once we decide what editorial process is right for you, we require a 25% deposit once the contract for editing services has been signed.
We know editing costs can be rather pricey and a hefty overhead for an independent author. Another 25% of the cost is required once the manuscript has been edited and returned to the author for the first round of edits. The remaining 50% is due before the final manuscript is returned.
Authors requesting an editorial review must pay in full at time of booking.
What types of payments do you accept?
We prefer PayPal (which will allow you to use either a credit card or your bank account), but we will also take money orders.
What if I need more than one service? Do I need to pay for each one?
After our free consultation, we’ll figure out what type of editing you need. You may not need as much as you think! We alter the scope of our editing for your specific needs. Your manuscript may need heavy developmental editing but not much copy editing, or vice versa. We’ll take care of all your needs for one flat rate.
How long will it take?
This depends on the individual needs of an author. Line editing and copy editing do not take as long as a developmental edit. Often times, during a developmental edit, the editor and author will go back and forth several times before it is ready for a copy edit. We do offer rush services for an additional charge.
Do I need to have a proofread done on my manuscript?
YES! Absolutely! Whether you use The Polished Pen, or another proofreader, you must always have your manuscript proofread before you publish. Since editing of any kind is an extensive process, it’s easy to miss unintended typos and errors. During a proofread, a proofreader is given a nearly flawless manuscript that has already gone through editing. The proofreader is essentially an extra set of eyes. This is where last minute things like typographical errors, end-of-line breaks, and letter, sentence, and paragraph spacing issues are caught. For more information about proofreading, please view this post.
Although you have been through the editing process, and we are incredibly skilled at what we do, we cannot, nor can any other editor, guarantee that your manuscript will be completely error free. Even traditional publishers have an error ratio they let slide. It can range anywhere from 1 mistake per 1000 words to 10 mistakes per 1000 words.
Proper editing takes more than one pass on more than one level. Even if you do not use The Polished Pen for every step of the editing process, I urge every author to have their manuscript edited on as many levels as they can prior to publication whether you plan on self-publishing or sending it off for traditional publication. AND PLEASE HAVE YOUR MANUSCRIPT PROOFREAD!
This also does not ensure that your book will sell, make millions, get your name on the cover of Publisher’s Weekly and all of the best seller lists, or be picked up by a publishing house. For tips on how to sell and market your book, please visit our Writing Tips and Resources section.
“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.”
“Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.”