Wherever you are in the writing process, I can help bring your work to the next level. I specialize in editing fiction and creative nonfiction, including memoir. I accept projects big and small, from novice writers or seasoned scribes. As an editorial freelancer, I've worked with a variety of clients: first-time authors, magazine writers, editors, professors, quilters, and more.
I offer manuscript evaluations, developmental editing, and line editing — 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 evaluation 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 evaluation assesses the whole of your project with an eye toward publication. I examine structure, plot, narrative arcs, character development, dialogue, point of view, setting, language, voice, genre conventions, description, exposition, and marketability. For memoir, I also pay special attention to theme, universality, 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 evaluations point out what works well, identify issues and inconsistencies, and make suggestions for revision.
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 an evaluation — 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.
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.
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.
The Writer's Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
Still Writing by Dani Shapiro
Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin
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 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 book-length 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. I bill hourly in quarter-hour increments, unless we've agreed on a fixed price.
My availability fluctuates. I typically book projects 2 to 4 months in advance. My turnaround for a manuscript evaluation is 3 to 4 weeks. For a developmental or line edit, it can be 4 to 6 weeks. Please contact me to discuss your timeline.
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 baby 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. 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.