By Mayowa Atte
A swashbuckling western; a memoir ferrying readers down the rapids of memory; a lush romance; a knock-your-readers-on-the-side-of-the-head mystery; a save-the-world-while-wearing-no-pants thriller; an amalgamation of fiery words. You are a manuscript in varying stages of completion, a bound revolution in Courier New 12pt.
An experienced, affordable and compatible editing service to spend long nights of literary delight, to search your soul and show you where you are most beautiful, where the light illuminates your depths best. An editing service to firmly but gently expose the cracks in your structure and/or the irregularities in your pace; measure the heat of your conflict; discover the shallow ponds of your characters; and brave the terrors of your punctuation. An editing service to make you better before the hurried scrutiny of a publisher’s eyes.
What to Do:
The majority of reputable editing/literary services have a web presence. Typing keywords such as “Manuscript Evaluation Service,” “Manuscript Editing Service,” and “Manuscript Critique Service” into a search engine produces innumerable suitors. Visit as many websites as you can. Here is how to pick the right one (or many if you are not a monogamous manuscript).
• Services Provided: Different manuscripts need different things at different times. Do you need a critique, a developmental edit, a line edit, the whole shebang?
• Experience: The editors should be published authors, former or current publishing industry professionals, or have academic qualifications. In all cases, it is preferable that they have existing clients.
• Cost: Most editing services have tiered price structures depending on the service you buy. However, there can be large price differences between editing services providing the same service so shop around. Most services charge by the page. If you are a lengthy manuscript, you may prefer services that offer flat fees.
• Professionalism: Pay attention to the promptness of replies and callbacks, to methods of payment, etc. Professionalism can be a good indicator of competence and experience.
• Samples and Negotiation: Most services provide a written report at the end of their evaluations/critiques/edits. Ask for a sample to see if it fits your needs. Don’t be shy about explaining your needs and requesting that they provide feedback on specific areas you desire. You are in charge.
Having said all that, it is very possible that you will be sitting in a park somewhere one day, letting the wind caress your ink and ruffle your pages; then your dream editing service will run into the picture with a cute Labrador. This service may not have everything in yonder list, but it will feel great. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut feeling and give this editing service your number.
Here are some of the suitors I considered in my search for literary bliss.
• Michael Larocca at www.chinarice.org
• Allen Jones at www.manuscriptmedics.com
• John Tallmadge over at www.johntallmadge.com