First and foremost, developmental editing is not copy editing. Instead, developmental editing refers to editing that aims to improve the content and structure of a manuscript as a cohesive, well-developed story from cover to cover. As such, developmental editing does not focus on ensuring that a manuscript’s grammar, punctuation, and spelling are correct. By contrast, developmental editing takes on topics such as pacing, plot, characterization, and setting. There are no set rules to abide by; instead, our editors draw upon their instincts, years of experience, market pulse, and lifetimes of heavy reading. Our goal is to help a manuscript reach its fullest potential.
Developmental editing is not for the fainthearted. It can lead to major changes in a book. Characters can be merged, entire plots can be tossed out, new scenes written or deleted, etc. But, in the end, it’s all worth it. Books that haven’t gone through developmental editing are often poorly paced, unwieldy, and unfocused-all of which will have an effect on their feasibility and reader reactions.
Developmental editing at Squid & Ink takes a two-pronged approach.
Editorial Letters - Usually 1-3 pages, we will provide a letter that provides an overview of big-picture changes needed in the manuscript. These are general, and intended to give a more birds-eye view critique of the manuscript.
Substantive Editing - These are annotations and edits that are made throughout your entire manuscript in the form of comments and markings in the margins and between the lines, generally done in Track Changes. These zero in on scenes and sentences and offer specific editing suggestions (or possible revisions) where they are most needed..
timelines and rates
Developmental editing cannot be done quickly. It takes time, patience, and possibly research to be most valuable. While there is no absolute, for a 100k word novel a full developmental edit can range from 10-30 hours to complete.
Our developmental editing rate is $50/hour. Reservations: We require a $500 retainer to reserve your edit, which also covers your first 10 hours of editing. This retainer is fully refundable if you cancel or reschedule 61+ days before your edit date; 50% 31-60 days before; and non-refundable if 30 days or less. Full Payment: We will begin editing your project using the funds held in the retainer. If/when your retainer reaches a two-hour ($100) threshold, we will bill you in increments of hours, based on an estimated time of completion. If there are any funds remaining in your account after the edit is completed, they will be refunded to you along with delivery of your fully edited manuscript.