Substantive Story Editing


  • Initial consultation to discuss your goals and process for this book
  • Fully annotated manuscript
  • Comprehensive editorial letter (8+ single-spaced pages)
  • 60-minute strategy session to answer your questions and explore your next steps
  • One check-in as you begin your revisions

Payment Options


With substantive story editing, our editors provide comprehensive manuscript critique that will guide you deeper into your writing craft.

We’ll read and thoroughly annotate your entire manuscript, giving you a window onto your reader’s experience. We’ll leave notes wherever we laugh, cry, jump, or groan. We’ll ask questions wherever they occur to us and let you know where we were confused. We’ll highlight material to consider cutting and point out places that the writing is not serving the reader.

As we read your manuscript, we’ll also take notes on the bigger picture in a document that will become your editorial letter. If our notes in the manuscript are the trees, the editorial letter is the forest. When we’re finished reading, we’ll write an in-depth analysis of how the elements of fiction are handled in this draft. We’ll talk about plot and subplot, story world, character development, tension, structure, exposition, style and voice and editing needs, and more.

After you’ve had a chance to read our notes in the manuscript and think about the editorial letter for a few days, we’ll schedule a 1-hour phone call to discuss this draft’s strengths and weaknesses. At this point, we’re both experts on the manuscript, so it’s a very interesting conversation.

A comprehensive manuscript critique will give you very specific constructive criticism that’s designed to move you into the next draft with confidence and enthusiasm.


Up to 50,000 words: $2,000
Up to 80,000 words: $2,500
Up to 100,000 words: $3,000
Up to 125,000 words: $3,500
Up to 150,000 words: $4,000

If your manuscript has more than 150,000 words, it’s likely that you either have more than one book on your hands or you’re writing epic fantasy. Either way, let’s chat.

If your word count is considerably lower than 50,000, check out our Introduction to Editing service.

Additional information

Word Count

Up to 100,000 words, Up to 125,000 words, Up to 150,000 words, Up to 50,000 words, Up to 80,000 words

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