Wherever you are in the writing process, I can help bring your work to the next level. I accept projects big and small, from book manuscript to essay draft. As an editorial freelancer, I've worked with a variety of clients. Whether you're a first-time author or a seasoned scribe, I'd be happy to edit your work.
I offer manuscript critique, developmental editing, and line editing of fiction and creative nonfiction — along with a variety of other editorial expertise. Please take a look at the services and process described below, and contact me to discuss your project.
You've written a draft and you'd like a pair of objective eyes on it before revision, but you don't want to commit to a full edit. A manuscript critique is a great choice: budget-friendly yet insightful.
I read your entire manuscript and compile a detailed editorial report (15-page average for a book-length project). A typical critique assesses the whole of your project with an eye toward publication. I examine structure, plot, character development, dialogue, point of view, setting, voice, genre conventions, and marketability. For memoir, I also pay special attention to theme, emotional truth, and transcendence.
I provide feedback on the big picture and dig down into specific sections to discuss how they affect the whole. My critiques point out what works well, identify issues and inconsistencies, and make suggestions for revision.
"The manuscript evaluation that Jenny did for me was exceptional. She provided insight and feedback on my work, along with suggestions that helped me to tighten up the writing, creating a much better overall story." — Burl Battersby, author and poet
You've finished a draft, you've had beta readers take a look, you've revised it. But now you're so close to the trees, you can't see the forest. Maybe your manuscript needs a structural overhaul. Maybe it would benefit from refining characters and strengthening plot — but how? Dev edit to the rescue!
A developmental edit aims to bolster the architecture of your project and sharpen your execution of it. In a dev edit, I deliver thorough big-picture editorial feedback along with manuscript edits filled with actionable suggestions to take your draft to the next level.
A developmental edit begins with a discussion between client and editor and a look at your synopsis. Once I understand your vision for the project, I first assess the manuscript like I would in a critique — I examine story, voice, structure, consistency, and more. A dev edit then entails a full mark-up of your manuscript with queries pointing out issues, gems, and opportunities for improvements, along with text edits suggesting important corrections.
I return the edited manuscript to you with an editorial letter explaining my feedback and recommendations. A dev edit done right is an explicit road map for your path toward revision.
"We are truly grateful for Jenny’s guidance and enthusiastic support as she edited the first manuscript of our debut thriller. The insight, candor, and constructive criticism she provided was exactly what we needed to turn our draft into a book worthy of publication." — Pete and Tim, co-authors
Your manuscript is finished and structurally sound, but you'd like to refine its language: dialogue, descriptions, clarity. Line editing is what you need. A line edit clears clutter and confusion with one purpose in mind: that your story shine with voice and vision intact.
In line editing, I go through your manuscript not just line by line but also at the paragraph, page, and chapter level to suggest cuts, additions, and clarifications. I show you how to shuffle things around so they flow better, trim excess in descriptions and dialogue, tweak language so it's just right. I focus on clarity but also on voice, theme, and pattern. I ask you the questions that readers would too and highlight any inconsistencies and imbalances in writing style and world building.
After a line edit, you'll probably receive a thoroughly red-lined manuscript from me. Don't worry, all that red means I've done my job and you now have a clear trail of breadcrumbs to finalize your project and make it sing.
"I work with [Jenny] every chance I get. She cares about my message, thoroughly reviews every aspect of my drafts, and teaches me to increase impact by simplifying and clarifying." — Rod Wallace, PhD, author and business strategist
Note: A line edit is not a copy edit, which focuses on spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, and consistency with a preferred style guide. A copy edit is usually done to polish a final manuscript prior to publication.
As a professionally trained and experienced editor, I'm available to coach you through a challenging project, copyedit your manuscript with a style guide, or proofread your content before publication. I'm also fluent in French and can assist you with translations. Contact me to discuss your project needs.
I collaborate with you to make your story shine brightly and authentically. My mission is to guide you toward the best possible version of your writing while respecting your unique voice and vision. In editing, I keep at heart the best interest of both reader and writer. My editorial approach is rooted in compassion and honesty.
I'm an alumna of the rigorous Editing program at the University of Washington where I was trained in all aspects of editing. As a writer myself, I understand the sensitive nature of letting an editor touch your work. A manuscript is like a baby: your editor should be a thoughtful caregiver.
The Writer's Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer
Still Writing by Dani Shapiro
Let's chat! Send me an email at jennybartoy AT gmail DOT com, and we can schedule a conversation. Most projects begin with a discussion of your project needs and goals. For book-length edits, I ask for a project synopsis and writing sample to understand your vision for the project. Then I craft a letter of agreement detailing the project scope, we commit to a timeline, and the work begins.
Estimate and Rate
I follow the editorial rates listed on the EFA website. For an average manuscript, I tend to charge $1,000-1,500 for an evaluation and $2,500-4,000 for a developmental or line edit. Cost depends on word count and manuscript quality. On most projects, I can provide a clear estimate only after I see your manuscript or a representative sample. I require half of payment up front and the second half (adjusted if needed) upon delivery of my work.
My availability fluctuates. I typically book projects 2 to 4 months in advance. My turnaround for a manuscript evaluation averages 4 weeks. For a developmental or line edit, it can be up to 6 weeks. I maintain availability year-round for short projects and coaching.
Format and Style
My manuscript evaluation comes to your inbox as a PDF document. I provide developmental and line edits in Microsoft Word with Track Changes or in Google Docs with the Suggesting function, depending on your preference. I am trained in using the Chicago Manual of Style favored in literary publishing.
Awaiting edits can cause anxiety. This trepidation is normal: you're paying your editor to peel the layers of your writing. Your editor has your best interest at heart, along with your future reader's, and that entails identifying what hinders your story from shining — in other words, pointing out its flaws. Hopefully you feel a sense of clarity and fresh motivation when reviewing editorial feedback. But reading through edits may sometimes cause discomfort. Your art has been critiqued, your thoughtful work picked apart.
If at first you're ill at ease, I recommend stepping away from edits until emotions subside. Give yourself some distance; typically a couple of weeks help. If your editor has done their work with care, nuance, and compassion, their feedback will soon appear constructive. And remember, your story is yours. You are free to implement the edits that click for you — and disregard the rest.
Most editors recommend that you get a different set of eyes on your manuscript for each stage of editing (dev/line edit, copy edit, proofread). Editors are human and fallible, and this helps to catch errors that a professional too familiar with your project might miss. I'm happy to recommend editors for your project's next phase.