Content Editing by Susan Bischoff

Thanks for your interest in me as an editor for your project, If, after reading through the details of what I offer, rates, etc., you find that you’re interested in hiring me, please send me an email or submit the contact form below so that we can discuss your project.

I provide a thorough read-through and critique of your completed project– novel, novella, short story, outline, synopsis, etc.. When your manuscript is returned, you can expect many of my reactions, questions, suggestions, and corrections typed in-line with your text. (I do not use “Track Changes.”) There will also be places in the story, particularly in longer works and often at the ends of chapters, where I stop and process, on the page, how I’m reacting to the story as reader and/or editor. When I’ve finished, I’ll go back to the top of the manuscript to record my concluding thoughts and reactions to the work as a whole, and my opinion as to its current fitness for publication or submission. I will also include whatever suggestions I have for approaching a rewrite, if necessary.

Also included in my service is one round of follow up questions about the critique. This is a time, after you’ve read my editorial notes, when you can ask me for clarification on any issues pointed out in the critique.

As editing, “content editing” in particular, seems to be a blurry and sometimes misunderstood topic, I want to give you a thorough overview of what I offer. Please read the details below.

Fire Wee What I Do

  • An intense read-through of your story, assessing and commenting on strengths and weaknesses. I’m looking at things like pacing, story arcs, character arcs.
  • I look for inconsistencies and other issues in action, character, pacing, voice, logic, and point of view.
  • Stylistically, I may make suggestions about ease of readability and point out confusing language, jargon, or other things I feel need clarification or cleaning up. I may point out sections I feel could be condensed and streamlined to improve pacing or better serve today’s commercial fiction market.
  • When I’m reading, I often “check in” as a reader at different points in the story to let you know things like, “This is where I was really hooked,” or “At this point, I’m feeling impatient for the story to get started.”
  • Whenever possible, when I raise an issue, I try to offer a solution, or even a lesson. However, sometimes I can only point out where something “doesn’t work for me.”
  • I am willing to consider any genre, with the understanding that I’m not fully versed in the conventions of all genres. We can discuss this in greater detail when we discuss your particular project.
  • I am willing to read fan fiction. I commend any fan fiction author who is so interested in putting out quality work, or who wants to learn and improve through constructive feedback. This should be with an understanding of my familiarity with your fandom, and that I do not provide fact-checking or canon-checking services.
  • I read completed works of any length, though I have the most experience, and feel best suited to, longer works such as novellas and novels.
  • I always try to appreciate an author’s unique voice and style. I take characterization into consideration, especially when reading dialogue, and avoid correcting grammar when errors suit the character’s style. If I make suggestions as to style, they often come from the standpoint of easing or clarifying the reading experience for the intended audience. It is up to the author whether or not to carry out any advice given.
  • I read all maturity levels of work and have no issues with adult language, sexually explicit content, or graphic violence, though I may raise questions about the suitability of the content with regard to its intended audience.
Fire Wee What I Do Not Do
  • I do not draft rewrites. While I will make suggestions to replace a word or phrase here and there, I do not rewrite sections of manuscript.
  • I do not walk an author through the revision process. I do not read rewritten sections of the work after the critique. The exception to this is when an author and I both agree to enter into a second contract for a completed revision.
  • I do not copy edit or check facts. If something strikes me as questionable, I will certainly raise the question in the critique, but it is up to the author to research the answer. For example, if a phrase used by a character in the past feels too modern to me, I will point it out. It is up to the author to research the origin of the phrase and discover that it didn’t exist until 50 years after her story is set.
  • I do not line edit or proofread. Okay, I do, but only because I can’t help myself. You will probably find grammar and usage suggestions in your critique, but it’s not what I’m hiring on for or within the scope of the edit.
  • I do not argue points with authors. I make suggestions based on my own reactions. If something wasn’t clear to me, you now have to opportunity to clarify it for the next reader. Or to choose not to.
  • I do not make demands, merely suggestions. It is for the author to decide if and how to act on my advice.
  • I do not read unfinished manuscripts, first chapters, etc.. I only accept finished works. Part of my job is to assess the story as a whole.

Fire Wee Why You Might Need Me

  • Your friends are too nice
    • Sometimes friends make the worse beta readers. If your main source of feedback is people who like you, who are too nice, or too worried about offending you to be critical of your work, you may find my work helpful. I AM nice, I swear! But I know that sometimes the kindest thing is to help someone move forward by giving frank and honest feedback.
  • Your friends don’t understand what you do
    • Similar to the previous situation, if you write romance and your friends all read sci-fi, maybe they just don’t get it. Or maybe they’re just not writers, and they do things like correct the grammar in the dialogue of your characters who are supposed to have bad grammar. (Doesn’t that drive you nuts?)
  • You feel like there’s something wrong, but you can’t put your finger on it.
    • I live to point out what’s wrong! Okay, that sounded bad. But it’s my job. And I’m good it.
  • You know your manuscript is flawed, but you can’t figure out what to do about it.
    • Most people don’t like being told they have a lot of work to do, and not getting any helpful directions on how to do it. I know I don’t. As much as I can, I try to pair criticism with suggestion.
  • You’re ready to take your writing to a new level.
    • I believe three important keys to developing writing talent are reading a lot, writing a lot, and getting helpful feedback. I love to teach, and try to include explanations of my reactions as a reader, as well as sharing lessons from my study of the craft.

I want to help you make your book the best it can be, but more than that, I want to help make you a better writer with every manuscript you finish.

Fire Wee What I Charge
  • I charge $10.00 per 1,000 words of text, rounded up to the nearest thousand. If your file is 77,368 words, we would contract for the reading of a 78,000 word novel for a total of $780.00.
  • Because I work in terms of whole stories, in most cases an anthology will be considered separate stories and contracted accordingly.
  • A $50 deposit is required when the contract is signed to hold your place in the schedule. This is non-refundable, except in a case in which I am forced to terminate the contract before it starts due to some emergency of a personal nature.
  • I use a word count based rate rather than an hourly rate because I think it’s fair and more comfortable to both editor and client to know the money stuff up front.

Fire Wee Available Discounts

  • For everyone:
    • Book your edit in advance! While I always try to accommodate my authors, knowing what work I have coming in helps me manage my calendar to do my best work. I hope setting dates with me will help you achieve your publishing goals.Book your edit 1 month in advance: take 5% off your total fee
      (ex. on a 50,000 novel, save $25)Book your edit in advance by 8 weeks or more: take 10% off your total fee
      (ex. on a 100,000 novel, save $100)
  • For my returning clients:
    • You know the power of word of mouth. There’s nothing like having the kind of fan who will put your books right in their friends’ hands.If you send your buddies my way, make sure they know to drop your name in their query, in the box that reads: How did you hear about me?I’ll take 10% off their fee, since they’re the friend of an important client, and you’ll receive 10% off your next edit, booked within the next six months.
  • All bookings are subject to available time on my calendar.
  • I reserve the right to refuse work I don’t feel is a good fit.
  • Discounts may be combined, up to 20% off.
Fire Wee How It Works
  1. You read through all this information. If you’re interested in hiring me, you send an email to susanbischoff (at) gmail (dot) com with a subject line that reads “Editing for [TITLE]” or something like that in the subject line. Tell me about your project, its length, intended genre, intended audience (YA? Adult?), what it’s about, and when you expect to have a draft ready for critique. Include any questions you have for me about the services I provide. *Please provide this information via email (as opposed to Facebook Messenger or other means), or use the contact form below, so that I know where to look when I need to refer back to old correspondence. Thank you.*
  2. We might go through a few rounds of questions and answers, and will eventually come to an agreement on a date when I will begin your project.
  3. I will create a contract, sign it, and send it to you via an electronic document signing service. Electronic signing is a quick and easy process, and free to you.
  4. I will send you an invoice via PayPal for your $50 deposit which you will pay within 24 hours of signing the contract.
  5. As the date for your edit approaches, you will email me your manuscript file, single-spaced, in a Microsoft Word compatible format, by the effective date stated on the contract.
  6. I will reply when I am in receipt of your manuscript, and send another invoice for the balance of your fee. It must be paid before the effective date stated on the contract.
  7. I will email a new file to you, usually within 15 business days. This file will contain my critique, my editorial comments, corrections, and suggestions in-line with your original text.
  8. You may ask me one round of follow-up questions to clarify anything that came up in the critique. These must be submitted by email within 5 business days of the date on which the critique was sent. (This helps keep me fresher on what’s being discussed.) This is intended mainly as an opportunity for clarification, and I will spend 1/2 – 1 hour answering these questions.
  9. Editing the revision is not covered under my contract. If you would like to have me read the revision, we can discuss a second contract for that purpose at the same rate. I may refuse this contract due to my schedule or feeling toward the project.

The answer to “how long does it take?” is really “up to a month.” In many cases, however, turn-around will be sooner.

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Whew, that was a lot. But it’s a big decision. I get that. Need more? Check out what my clients have to say on our Testimonials page.

If you have questions for me, or if you’re just information-gathering at this time, feel free to skip down to the Questions section of the contact form below.

I look forward to meeting you and reading your stories.

Susan Bischoff
Content Editor, The Forge, Book Finishing
Author, The Story Toolkit

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