Diane Stafford, Author

Celebrating love, good health, and baby names!

Do You Need a Book Doctor?

Publishers and literary agents sometimes call on me to shape up books that interest them. Typically, the authors are professionals but not professional writers.

The process goes like this:

You submit your manuscript to me. I read your project and determine what it needs. If I think I can improve it, I will state a flat fee for the work it requires.

The “redo” may require:

〈    Reorganizing your manuscript

〈    Fixing sentences that are confusing

〈    Correcting grammatical errors, punctuation, and spelling

〈    Improving flat or awkward writing style

〈    Giving the writing an upbeat “lilt” that is reader-friendly

〈    Improving sentence structure, syntax, word and thought repetition

〈    Eliminating clichés and sexist language 

〈    Toning down scientific language to make it more appealing to readers

〈    Eliminating style inconsistencies (this means making sure the manuscript is consistent in style, including punctuation, italics, capitalization, numbers, etc.--for example, if you say four-inch heels in one place, you can’t have 4-inch heels later on in the book)

If you want to hire me as your book doctor, I’ll email you a work agreement that specifies exactly:

〈    What the book doctoring will entail

〈    What it doesn’t entail (for example, selling the manuscript)

〈    How long it will take to edit your project

〈    When payments are due

After you sign the agreement and pay an up-front fee, I will edit and rewrite your manuscript. I may turn to you for extra information if there are holes or problems in your manuscript. I may suggest that you beef up certain areas to make the manuscript more likely to sell. My goal is to play up your manuscript’s strengths and eliminate its weaknesses.

When I’ve finished, I’ll email you an edited Word file.

Via your email exchanges with me, you can decide if you feel comfortable with the idea of letting me direct the slant of your project.

Keep in mind that hiring a book doctor doesn’t mean a book contract is guaranteed. Beware of a book doctor or editor who tells you that using her services will result in a book that is going to be published. Factors affecting your chances of getting published include:

〈    How well your project targets a specific genre

〈    What editors want right now

〈    How well an editor thinks your book would sell

〈    What the publisher has on its list

You may submit your manuscript or contact me for more information here.

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