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What is Developmental Editing?

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

You’ve started on your manuscript—and 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 coach, 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 copyediting. Instead, it’s all about the structure and the story: Who do you want to talk to? Why? What do you want to say? How do you want to say it?

The developmental editing process works best if we can collaborate from the very beginning. The process includes:

  • Discovering the audience(s)
  • Developing the basic outline and content outline
  • Applying instructional design and story development strategies
  • And ultimately asking and answering up front all those pesky yet crucial “Why should the reader care?” questions.

As you create your manuscript, I’ll read and provide feedback on each chapter to keep you on point and in the groove.

Please keep in mind that the DE’s responsibilities include asking hard questions, challenging assumptions, and providing constructive criticism. Also know that grammatical nitpicking and proofreading are not part of any developmental editing process. That stuff typically happens afterward.

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

I am also available for coaching sessions, no matter if you are a first-time author trying to get across the finish line alive and sane or an old pro with a touch of writer’s block.

For more information, contact me at sean (at) seandennis (dot) com.

Developmental Editing Rates

$5 per page, plus $30 per 30-minute phone/message app call for prewriting activities, chapter review feedback, brainstorming, etc.

Coaching Only

30 Minutes – $35
1 Hour – $60

Photo taken in Darien, GA.