Hit a block? Run out of steam? Lost confidence?
Mentoring gives you the space and support to take a step back, work out what’s holding you up, and experiment with some alternatives to give you a fresh perspective. It enables you to set new goals for your work in progress, and to set about achieving them with rejuvenated energy and purpose.
This is a completely flexible process, using an empathetic combination of mentoring, coaching and editorial techniques with plenty of feedback and discussion. If you’re uncertain about the way forward, I may well be able to help. And it will probably turn out to be fun!
The first stage is to get in touch. No need to provide masses of detail: we’ll schedule a time for an initial chat, and then you can send me some of your manuscript to read.
After that, if we both feel I can help, I’ll email you a letter of agreement. This will summarise the aims of the mentoring process for you, and set out the schedule we envisage. The agreement represents a commitment on both sides to the work ahead, but the process itself can be altered at any time if your needs or circumstances change.
Zoom is best for mentoring — although if you happen to live anywhere near Edinburgh, I’ll be delighted to meet up in person.
In our final session I’ll give you some tools to help you plan your next steps. Then, once you have a final draft, you have the option of coming back for a manuscript assessment (and/or input on your submission package if you’re planning to query agents) at 30% discount.
Are you dreading the blank page, or wondering why your attempts at a book keep fizzling out? Do you have a fantastic idea, but no clue how to shape it?
The mentoring process described above can also be used if you haven’t written a word of your manuscript yet! This version of mentoring uses all the idea-building, story-mapping, creative decision making and advance troubleshooting techniques I developed for the Edinburgh Napier University MA. These techniques are purpose built for people who have never attempted a full length work, and enable you to take a structured approach to developing the book you want to write, whilst experimenting with potential stylistic approaches.
As with general mentoring, this is an entirely flexible process, adapted to your own pace and learning style. It’s like having a mini Masters programme created just for your book!
£175 in advance of each mentoring session, including preparation and follow-up notes. The initial consultation is free.
Finished your manuscript? Congratulations! That’s a huge achievement. Now you have to decide what to do with it. For novels and narrative non-fiction, the assessment is your first port of call: it’s a thorough, objective and professional second opinion on the complete manuscript, with a focus on helping you tailor your work to your chosen market.
To start the process, just whizz me an email with ‘Manuscript Assessment’ in the subject line, and I’ll be in touch as soon as possible. If I can help, I’ll confirm in writing with an invitation to send your manuscript, followed by an invoice for the first instalment of the fee. You’ll receive your report within 4 weeks of payment. The report is a detailed overview of the strengths, weaknesses and potential of your manuscript, with practical suggestions for further development. The report usually comes with either further resources, explaining particular techniques, or with an illustrative mark-up of a section of your manuscript. Sometimes both! The fee also includes a follow-up discussion of around an hour (by phone, Zoom, or in person) to help you plan your rewrites.
If you’re thinking of booking a manuscript assessment, there’s some extra advice on making the most of professional feedback in my guest blog for Scottish Book Trust.
For an average-sized manuscript*, £540, half on receipt of the initial invoice and half by the date of the follow-up meeting.*The industry average for most genres is 70-85,000 words. If your work is significantly shorter or longer than this, let me know and I’ll give you an individual quote.
This is a process dedicated to helping your manuscript fulfil its potential, and helping you to solve the technical problems outlined in either your assessment report, or in feedback from beta readers, agents or publishers.
My development editing method is driven by dialogue, so each stage will involve a detailed conversation as well as written feedback on redrafted sections.
We’ll begin by agreeing on the areas to tackle, and a logical order in which to address them. I’ll then send you a letter of agreement confirming the scope of work we envisage.
If I haven’t already read your work, I’ll charge an initial fee of £350, which covers a read of your full manuscript and the first consultation to talk through the areas of development work required.
After that, it’s the same as mentoring: £175 per feedback session, including preparation and follow-up notes.
My line edit is a meticulous, analytical and ambitious structural and stylistic edit, with a strong focus on the specific creative requirements of your chosen genre and the expectations of your intended commercial market. As a line editor, my aim is to enable your work to fulfil its potential at every level, resulting in a manuscript which is copyedit-ready, if you’re self-publishing, or submission-ready if you’re querying agents.
The edit takes the form of track changes in Word, with a combination of in-text suggestions and marginal comments. This is accompanied by detailed notes in a separate document, explaining the rationale behind the editorial approach I’ve taken, and setting out alternative solutions to the problems I’ve identified. Where there are structural issues, I’ll also create additional resources, such as timelines and maps of your story structure.
I usually schedule a window of 6 weeks for a line edit, though if you need it done quickly and book the slot far enough in advance, it can be done in 2-3 weeks.
The fee for a line edit also includes:
A total fee of £15 per 1,000 words, calculated on the length of the manuscript before editing, payable in instalments.
In a copyedit I’ll pick up on issues of stylistic consistency, plot and character continuity, coherence in worldbuilding for SF/fantasy writers, repetition, and consistency in grammar and punctuation decisions. A copyedit generally requires a window of 4 weeks, though can be done faster if you book far enough in advance. It takes the form of corrections in track changes in Word, with suggestions and explanations in marginal comments. In separate document, you’ll receive a step-by-step guide to working with your copyedit, a table of queries and a comprehensive style sheet, setting out all the decisions I’ve made.
The fee also includes a rigorous second pass, to reconcile all the changes and ensure no errors have crept in during the process.
As a copyeditor, my main focus is enhancing the reader’s experience of your prose at a sentence level, in a way that’s fully aligned with your individual style and creative aims, as well as the expectations of your chosen genre and intended market.
If you’re planning to submit your manuscript to agents or independent publishers and you know spotting glitches isn’t your strong point, a copyedit will give you a thoroughly professional polish.
If you’re planning to self-publish to a professional standard, I recommend either a line edit or copyedit, followed by a proofread to prepare the text for publication, which should be undertaken by someone with a completely fresh eye. I can recommend genre-specialist CIEP colleagues for this, who may offer a discount if I’ve already worked with you.
A total fee of £10.50 per 1,000 words, calculated on the length of the manuscript before editing, payable in instalments.
You can also book a fast copyedit for sample chapters, if you’re planning a submission to agents or indie publishers. I’ll make sure your first three chapters are squeaky-clean, and give you a template for self-editing the rest.
Mentoring and feedback to hone your pitch letter, synopsis/proposal, opening chapters and agent/publisher list. I’ll provide notes and mark-ups which focus on industry expectations as well as self-expression, and will advise you of any further development work I think would be helpful before you approach the market.
The fee includes a second pass, to finalise and polish your submission/query package.
£385 per draft submission package.
If you’re an emerging novelist, the best way to test your market, build up your profile and provide evidence of your saleability is to publish short stories in reputable print/online journals, or achieve placements in story competitions. I recommend a strategic approach: researching the opportunities best suited to your style, subject and genre, then drafting short stories according to the editorial or judging criteria, the required word-count and the submission deadline.
If you’re organised and professional about it, I can provide the final polish that might just give you the edge. All you have to do is tell me the competition, publication or website you’re aiming at and the submission deadline if there is one, and send me the story. Assuming you’ve given me enough time (generally a minimum of 2 weeks) I’ll get back to you with notes, a comprehensive mark-up, and any advice I have on alternative platforms for the story.
See the Testimonials page for a description of the short story editing process from writer Kate Tough
If you’re drafting a short story for a deadline and want to book a slot in advance, just get in touch.
£250 for stories of 3,500 to 5,000 words.
If your story has come out way over the word limit for the opportunity you’ve identified and you simply need a fast cut, I may be able to do this at a lower cost, depending on my schedule.
If your story (and its required word count) is significantly shorter or longer than 3,500-5,000 words, just get in touch and I’ll give you a quote.
You’ve hit problems with a work in progress
You have an idea, but you’re unsure how to start writing it
|£175 per mentoring session||A week in advance of each meeting|
|Manuscript Assessment||You have a complete draft and would like a professional opinion||£540||Initial payment to commence work; balance on completion|
|Returning mentoring clients||£378||On completion|
|Development Editing||You want to tackle issues highlighted in your manuscript assessment||£175 per feedback session||In advance of each session|
|You want to tackle issues raised in feedback from others||£350 initial reading and consultation fee, then £175 per feedback session||In advance|
|Line Editing||You want a comprehensive paragraph-by-paragraph markup, highlighting issues and suggesting improvements, to guide your rewrite||£15 per 1,000 words||In instalments (or all on completion for existing clients)|
|Copyediting||You want a detailed polish, before submitting to agents/publishers, or (if you’re self-publishing) in preparation for final formatting and proofreading||£10.50 per 1,000 words||Half in advance, half on completion (all on completion for existing clients)|
|Professional Development: Query||You’re ready to submit your manuscript to agents or indie publishers, and want professional guidance on your letter, pitch, synopsis, sample chapters and query list||£385||Half in advance, half on completion|
|For line editing/copyediting clients||£285||On completion|
|Professional Development: short story submission||You want to maximise your chances in submitting to magazines, online literary journals, anthologies, short story competitions and funding opportunities||
£250 for stories of 3,500 to 5,000 words
If your story is significantly shorter or longer than 3,500-5,000 words, just get in touch and I’ll give you a quote
|In advance for new clients; on completion for existing clients|
I'm happy to accept payment in any international currency, via PayPal. If you wish to pay in a currency other than GBP, I'll follow your invoice with a PayPal request in your preferred currency, calculated using the XE currency converter in the week your payment is due.
My mission is to provide inspiring, insightful and professional support, in line with the highest industry standards of practice and in accordance with the descriptions of methods set out in this website. If at any point you feel your experience falls short of this aim, please tell me immediately. Your comments will always be welcomed and, where possible, any shortfalls made good.