This is the option for putting your manuscript through boot camp. Typically a 3-5 round process, the multi-stage edit is ideal for either getting a project ready for self-publication or taking an early draft to a more polished stage for querying. For self-publishing, we recommend all 5 rounds; querying authors don’t need a completely proofread manuscript, but one or two rounds of line edits will be enough to take the prose up a level.

What does this type of edit look like? It can be as flexible as the manuscript needs or you like, but here’s a general idea of each of the three types of rounds involved.

  • Developmental Edits: aka, big picture edits. We’ll examine plot, story structure, pacing, and character arcs here, focusing less on prose work since scenes may end up being cut or shifted around. A developmental edit is a great place to experiment with a new POV, explore character development more, or drastically change the way events happen in the main arc. Not all stories need lots of developmental work, but it’s often more manageable to use multiple rounds to focus on different areas and get a well-rounded, solid story before continuing on.
  • Line Edits: aka, scene-oriented and line-level edits. When we get here, we assume that, barring any last-minute epiphanies, the plot and character arcs are mostly static, that we’re not going to change anything huge and can focus on making the prose sing. These rounds don’t come with an editorial letter, but they do come with extensive in-line comments, examples, and suggestions for tightening the nuts and bolts of your sentence-level craft.
  • Proofreading: aka, grammar fixes, punctuation and spell checking, and reading for consistency. If you’re planning to self-publish, a thoroughly proofread manuscript is a must. It saves your readers a lot of confusion and serves as a good final sanity check before heading to print. We’re also happy to offer this service to clients who are preparing to query agents or small presses, but again we’d stress that this is not necessary: often your agent or editor will have you do more edits anyway and a few mistakes will not sink an already good manuscript.

A typical multi-round edit for a client interested in self-publishing a manuscript often looks like this:

  • developmental edits (first round)
  • developmental edits (second round)
  • line edits (first round)
  • line edits (second round)
  • proofreading

We’re also happy to switch things up depending on the manuscript or your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. If you feel solid on prose and only want one line edit round, but feel you’d benefit from a third developmental edit instead, we can accommodate that just fine. If you’d like to do even more rounds for a particularly difficult project, like three dev edit round and two line edit rounds before proofreading, that’s also fine too. Going the opposite direction is perfectly fine as well: I’ve worked with clients who just wanted a dev edit and then a line edit before heading off to query.

If you’re interested in this kind of edit, please let us know the word count of your manuscript and how many rounds (and what types) you’d be interested in. We generally offer a discount on multi-round edits (as I’ll have seen the manuscript multiple times and will have more familiarity with the events and characters), so please don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask.

Price: $800-$1500 (depending on length of manuscript and number of edit rounds)

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