Do you need help with your novel, memoir, or story collection?
Work one-on-one with a bestselling author and experienced editor and teacher.
Scroll down to see book editing rates.
Get your novel in shape to send out to agents and publishers.
Whether you’re writing your first novel, or you have a few unpublished novels tucked away in a drawer, I can help you polish your book to send out to agents and publishers. If your goal is to self-publish, I can help you make sure that your book is professional so that it stands out from the thousands of independent titles released each week. I’ll look at the big picture of your novel or memoir–story structure, style, plot, characterization–and pinpoint where your book is lagging. I’ll suggest new scenes that need to be written, structural rearrangement, and specific ways to deepen character. Paying especially close attention to the first fifty pages, I’ll show you what might prevent agents and publishers from giving your manuscript a serious read. I’ll also suggest ways to streamline the prose, tighten dialogue, and improve narrative pace.
Finding the Right Fit
Working with a book editor is a very personal process. You want to know that your novel or memoir is in good hands and that the editor will help you make your book the best it can be while honoring your distinctive voice and your vision. Whether you’re writing literary fiction, mainstream fiction, a cross-genre novel, or memoir, my goal is to help you revise your book in order to catch a publisher’s eye and keep readers turning pages. I believe that a book should be made of beautiful sentences and compelling characters, but it should also be entertaining. Unputdownable is never a bad thing.
A Very Close Read
Critiquing a novel is an intricate process, and it requires many hours of close and careful reading. That’s why I accept only a very limited number of clients–a maximum of two per month. After reading your manuscript, I will make detailed suggestions that may include new scenes that need to be added, ways to develop your characters more fully, notes on stylistic issues that are weighing down the prose, pacing concerns, how to deepen thematic and emotional resonance, and more. While many editors charge separately for line editing, I find it almost impossible not to make suggestions on how to improve the prose on a sentence-by-sentence level. Overwrought sentences can cloud the beauty of an otherwise skillful novel or story. For that reason, every critique package includes some line editing.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Fiction
Every novel presents its own challenges, and the issues I focus on in your novel will be determined by the needs that arise as I read your manuscript. However, here are some of the things we might address:
- Tighten structure
- Improve dialogue
- Deepen characterization
- Streamline descriptions
- Find the heart of your story
- Identify weak points in the plot
- Crystallize the book’s theme
Michelle RichmondMichelle Richmond is the author of four novels, including Golden State and the international bestseller The Year of Fog, and two award-winning story collections. She is also the editor of the anthologies Flash in the Attic: 33 Very Short Stories from Fiction Attic Press and Modern Shorts. Her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, The Believer, Oxford American, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her articles on craft have appeared in Writers Digest and The Writer’s Chronicle. Michelle has taught in the MFA programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts, and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary’s College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener Fellow. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.
BronzeFirst 50 Pages Critique
Choose this if you are applying to MFA programs or residency programs or sending a writing sample to an agent.
Written critique of the first 50 pages of your manuscript, including line edits
- Are your opening chapters doing everything they should to engage the reader, introduce characters and conflict, establish setting, tone, and point of view, and move the story forward? Does the pacing lag at any point in the first 50 pages? Do the opening chapters make it clear why this particular story is being told at this particular time, from this unique perspective? How clean and clear is the prose? Have you given the agent, editor, or reader-at-large every reason to keep reading and ask for more? This critique will include advice on how to tighten the structure, line edits to make the prose flow more smoothly, suggestions for increasing dramatic tension in the first pages, and comps (comparable books) that you can include in your query letter. To purchase this service: Click BUY NOW. You will receive an email within two business days providing instructions on how to submit your manuscript. Once you have submitted your manuscript, I will send your critique within seven business days.
SilverManuscript Critique & One-Hour Consultation
Choose this if you have completed a draft of a novel or memoir.
Comprehensive written critique of your manuscript & a one-hour phone consultation
- I will read your manuscript carefully and provide detailed feedback and suggestions on anything that is relevant to your book, including (but not exclusive to): plot, characterization, point of view, structure, style, dialogue, theme, and narrative voice. I will make specific suggestions on how to improve various aspects of the book. This package includes some line editing. If extensive line edits are needed, however, additional charges apply.
- A one-hour phone, video, or in-person consultation to discuss the critique
- Writers who are preparing to send a novel or memoir out to agents and publishers Writers who have written a rough draft and need help developing the story idea Writers who want to get a book in shape before self-publishing
GoldManuscript Critique, Revision Critique, & Two Phone Consultations
Choose this if you are committed to revising your novel within the next six months.
- Includes all of the features of the Silver Package.
- detailed written evaluation of your revision advice on comps (comparable books) and how to submit your novel to agents and publishers One-hour phone, video, or in-person consultation to discuss revision
Short Story & Personal Essay Critique
- Substantive editing of a short story or personal essay of up to 5,000 words
- Critique will focus on characterization, voice, point of view, scene vs, summary, plot, and any other relevant issues
- Receive line edits where needed, as well as a written critique with suggestions for improvement
- Turnaround time is seven business days
- For stories up to 3,000 words, the price is $175.
- Please send your story as a Word doc after payment to bayareabookdoctor at gmail dot com. You will also receive an email requesting your manuscript.
- A critique of your book query letter
- Suggestions for improving your hook, streamlining the voice, editing for story, and more
- Includes suggestions for comps (comparable books)
- Turnaround time is four business days
- Following payment, please send query letter as a Word document to bayareabookdoctor at gmail dot com. You will also receive an email requesting your letter.