Professional Editing Services Since 1988
Novels, Nonfiction Books, Proposals, Queries
• About Editing International
• The global writing community
• Substantive and line editing
• Critical feedback
• Consulting and marketing assistance
About Editing International. Scores of writers helped by Elizabeth Lyon have had their dreams come true through publication of their novels, nonfiction books, articles, essays, and short stories. Many have won contests, and a few have secured movie options. Over the years, Lyon has established positive relationships with dozens of literary agents, many of whom give preferential reading to her client's books. Lyon has always been a proponent of "completing the circle," believing that all writers deserve to experience the immense satisfaction of holding their books in their hands.
The global writing community. We are all connected, in more ways than we could possibly know. Our stories, our writing, reach across all borders. Elizabeth has enjoyed working with writers living in places she could but dream of visiting: Republic of Georgia; Bombay, India; Jalisco, Mexico; Edmonton, Canada; and Beijing, China. By far, most of the writers she works with live in the United States, which means that nearly all have immigrant roots. Novelists from the US often create foreign-born characters or set their stories in other countries, and writers of memoirs may include events from a foreign birthplace. Editing International helps writers break into the US/North American market. Lyon only reads and edits books that are written in English.
Substantive and line editing. Substantive editing refers to analysis and constructive criticism about your execution of the elements of craft and style, and how well your writing fits the conventions of your writing genre. Line editing refers to correction of mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format. Elizabeth does not do copyediting, the last editing prior to publication, but is happy to refer writers to a colleague. Substantive editing is her forté for novels and for nonfiction books and book proposals.
Critical feedback. This service provides a professional assessment of your manuscript's strengths and weaknesses, and addresses what revisions are needed before marketing or publication. This service is a best match for published authors or for experienced writers who have already revised many times. You may seek critical feedback on a partial or the whole book.
Consulting and marketing assistance. You may be surprised how often getting a few questions answered can lift the fog and reveal a clear path forward. Elizabeth Lyon will consult with you about your book, stumbling blocks or making decisions. She can advise you about marketing, literary agents, and self-publishing. Often a one-hour session for $100 will save you months, even years, of unproductive actions or writing.
Evaluations. Comprehensive editing and detailed evaluations have become Elizabeth Lyon’s trademark. Evaluations are custom courses in craft and range from 15–40 pages (single-spaced) as needed. You’ll also learn where you are on the learning curve, from a beginner to an apprentice to a professional writer who is ready to publish.
Policies. After an e-mail or phone agreement, most writers are asked to send a first 100 pages and a synopsis (or table of contents or summaries for nonfiction). The synopsis reveals your plan for the book and may indicate other problems regarding your conception of the whole book. There are several reasons to limit first editing work to a partial: Writers reveal nearly all of their strengths and weaknesses within the first 100 pages and then repeat them for the rest of the book. It keeps your costs down for Elizabeth to do substantive editing on a partial, write a comprehensive evaluation, and then ask you to revise your whole book based on this feedback. After you have revised, we can discuss your next best step.
Nonfiction book proposals are a special type of manuscript. Lyon edits these in their entirety, which means the proposal including the first three sample chapters that are usually about 60 pages. In some cases, it makes sense to edit the sample chapters prior to the proposal. As well, editing the whole book is sometimes best prior to work on the proposal, especially for memoir. Elizabeth recommends Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write prior to arranging to submit a proposal.
Fees: Elizabeth prefers that you know fees upfront. Editing and consulting is $100/US per hour. Writers often ask two obvious questions: "Well, how fast do you work? How long will it take?" According to the industry guidebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, comprehensive editing requires two times through a book, about 10 pages per hour for the first time. Writers' skills vary tremendously. Sometimes Elizabeth will read the beginning of a manuscript two, three, or more times while reading and editing the final fifty pages only once. On average, editing 100 pages plus a synopsis, and writing the evaluation, will involve 12–15 hours, and may be less for highly skilled writing.
Scheduling: A backlog is not unusual, although consultations and shorter manuscripts can be worked in more quickly. As soon as you decide to seek editing, contact Elizabeth and she will pencil in a soft commitment for you, and hold your "spot." She will send an agreement for editing your manuscript prior to beginning the work. At that time you will be asked to pay a retainer of one half of the low end of the total estimated time. She accepts checks and money orders.