For novel writers with completed manuscripts.
What is a Developmental Editor?
Developmental editors assist authors prior to a book’s publication in big-picture editing, such as story structure, character arc, plot development, pacing, and much more. They are not ghostwriters and do not rewrite books for writers. In addition, they are not copyeditors, who work to improve line-level accuracy and readability as well as to spot errors, inconsistencies, omission, and repetition.
The role of a developmental editor is to teach writers to identify the gaps in their stories and characters. Developmental editors will pinpoint problems within a story and offer suggestions for how to improve it. Writers have the freedom to address those problems in the way that best suites the story (and how they want to tell it). In other words, developmental editors do not dictate the direction of the book, but offer suggestions. Or, they may simply identify the weaknesses within the story, depending on the style of the given editor.
If you would like to work with a developmental editor, come into the process with an open mind about your story and be prepared to be challenged. Editors aren’t here for self-assurance or to tell a writer how wonderful their story is (whether or not that’s true), but to collaboratively work with a writer to make their story the best it can possibly be.
Writers looking to self-publish their books are often encouraged to seek out professional freelance editors to help them polish their manuscripts prior to publication; whereas writers hoping to be traditionally-published do not need to work with a developmental editor. Though, they certainly can if they have the budget and would like a deep-dive into craft or professional assistance on how to improve their manuscript.
For more information, watch Meg’s iWriterly video called What is a Freelance Developmental Editor?
When to Work with a DEVELOPMENTAL Editor
If you’d like to work with a freelance developmental editor (whether you are pursuing traditional- or self-publishing), it is often recommended to do so after you have edited your manuscript several times on your own AND worked with beta readers and critique partners (on several more rounds through your manuscript). That way, by the time it gets to a freelance editor, we can work on high-concept concerns to get the book ready for the query trenches or self-publishing (work on character development, pacing of stakes, marketability, etc.).
Most writers want to come out of this (potentially expensive) editorial service with a polished, shelf-ready manuscript, which likely won’t happen if the book needs several rounds of significant edits. Red flags of a writer not having self-edited or worked with critique partners or beta readers prior to reaching out to a developmental editor include the word count of the manuscript (either too high or too low for the age group/genre), lack of a definable genre, the story starts in the wrong place, and more.
A Note From Meg: If there was enough time in the day, I’d love to work with every single writer to help you make your manuscripts the best they can be. But since most writers operate on a limited budget, I often will recommend writers work on certain things prior to hiring a freelance developmental editor in order to get the most possible out of the developmental edit.
“It’s rare that you come across standout talent like Meg. I had the pleasure of working with her on a couple brief manuscripts and she proved to be professional, dependable, and respectful. She is able to provide critical feedback to authors and helps finesse projects, while giving the author license to excel. Above all, I was impressed with Meg’s ability to juggle multiple projects—it’s unlike any I’ve seen before. And, of course, her sense of humor.”
“Meg is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. On top of being goal-oriented, clear-headed, and creative, she is also easy to work with and a true pleasure to be around!”
“Meg reviewed the query letter, synopsis, and introductory pages for my science fiction novel, Stichomancy. Her comments were meaningful with regard to both the art and business of writing. I would strongly recommend her services to anyone interested in obtaining representation by a literary agent.”
– CP Daignault
Please be aware: Meg usually books several months in advance.
Meg specializes in the following age groups and genres: young adult (YA) and adult fantasy (including epic fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, and everything in between), science fiction (including space opera and dystopian), historical fiction, and romance.
- OPEN: Query critique: $30 flat fee (includes one read-through), $10 flat fee for each subsequent pass
- OPEN: Synopsis critique: $40 flat fee (includes one read-through), $10 flat fee for each subsequent pass
- OPEN: First 5 pages critique: $20 flat fee (includes line editing)
- LIMITED SPACE: First chapter critique (up to 20 pages): $50 flat fee (includes line editing)
- LIMITED SPACE: Full manuscript developmental critique: 1) reader report, 2) line editing, or 3) both (please fill out the contact form below for inquiries on pricing)
- OPEN: Video coaching: 30-minute video chat with Meg to discuss questions you have about writing/editing a manuscript, finding critique partners, building an author platform, or the publishing industry in general
For more information about Meg’s video coaching package, please click here.
To learn if working with a freelance developmental editor is for you, read Meg’s blog, When Writers Shouldn’t Work with a Freelance Developmental Editor, and check out her iWriterly video, When to Work with a Freelance Developmental Editor on Your Book.
For More Information
Interested in learning more about Meg’s editorial services or ready to take the next step? Fill out the form below!
A Note From Meg: Just like you want to be sure you pick the right editor for your manuscript, I want to make sure I’m a good fit for your writing style and (ultimately) your manuscript. Therefore, I will be selective of which full manuscripts and folks I choose to work with—as you should, too! Feel free to inquire about complimentary sample critiques (for full manuscript critiques only).