Developmental Editing

A step-by-step plan

You have a great idea for a book, but don’t know how to get started.

You’ve started on your manuscript, and now you’re stuck.

You’ve written a book before and had a tough go of it — and now understand the importance of having someone be your mentor, reader’s advocate, instructional design assistant, sanity-checker, or any combination you need.

Do any of these situations sound familiar? If so, you need a developmental editor (DE).

Developmental editing is not the same as copy editing or proofreading. Instead, it’s all about the structure and the story. The developmental editing process works best if we can collaborate from the very beginning: discovering the audience(s), developing the outline, and ultimately asking and answering all those pesky yet crucial “Why would the reader care?” questions up front. As you create your manuscript, I’ll read and provide feedback on each chapter, helping to keep you on point and in the groove.

Please keep in mind that working with any DE can sometimes be challenging as it is the DE’s role to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and provide constructive criticism. I’ll be your biggest advocate; I might also be a very tough critic at the same time but only because I want you to write the best book you can.

Also keep in mind that grammatical nitpicking and proofreading is not part of any developmental editing process. That stuff happens afterward.

For technical books, especially those that include programming code examples and exercises, the DE process may also include the scheduling and organization of peer and expert reviews, and helping the author assess any revisions that are needed, based on feedback from those reviewers. Scheduling and coordinating those reviews will be billed at an hourly rate.


$5 per page, plus $30 per 30-minute Skype/Google Hangouts/phone call for pre-writing planning and activities, chapter review feedback, brainstorming, etc. Add $.02 per word for copy editing services.