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Professional Services

Whether you’re writing a novel and want some initial feedback, or you’ve completed your book and need it fully edited, I can help bring your story one step closer to publication. Below is a list of professional services I provide along with pricing. Don't forget to read some of my client testimonials!

Alpha and Beta Reading

Cost: $25 for every 10,000 words

An alpha read can be done at any time. Whether your manuscript is a rough draft, or you only have a few chapters written, an alpha read is an initial critique of your work. A beta read, on the other hand, is typically done when your manuscript is finalized. I’ll let you know whether things like plot, characterization, description, setting, dialogue, or flow are lacking, and I’ll point out any problems readers may have in comprehending or believing your story.


Many people can find alpha and beta readers through writing groups or by using family and friends, and that’s absolutely fine to do. You don’t need to pay for these services. However, keep in mind that engaging volunteers versus using paid reviewers may mean they don’t meet your deadlines or provide you with underwhelming feedback. Paid alpha and beta readers are working for you and have the background and knowledge to deliver you back a quality product.


NOTE: Alpha and beta reads are NOT edits. While I will point out any overarching grammatical issues, those corrections will need to be made by you, or you can utilize my editing services.

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Developmental Editing

Cost: $0.012 per word
(e.g., $600 for 50,000 words)

Developmental editing is a thorough, "big picture" review of your manuscript to pinpoint its shortcomings. It's similar to a beta read, but it's far more in depth and educational. Not only will it help you tie your entire book together, but it will make you an even better writer in the future. I'll ensure every piece of your story makes sense, including plot, characters, structure, dialogue, and setting. I'll tell you where you may need to expand or cut back, and depending on your needs, I can assist with line editing. In addition to your manuscript, you'll get back a separate document with detailed notes to improve your novel.


A developmental edit is typically done after you've completed the first draft of your book (before or after it's been beta read). It typically comes before a copyedit or proofread.

Designer's World

Copyediting

Cost: $0.014 per word
(e.g., $700 for 50,000 words)

Do you have a piece of work that needs to be edited before publication? Copyediting checks for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting issues and includes line and copy edits. I’ll make sure your quotes are in the right place, your tense is on point, and your chosen words make sense (and aren’t repeated too often!). This stage of editing is recommended after you've had beta readers and/or a developmental edit, and you've done all the self-editing you're able to do on your own.

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Comprehensive Editing

Cost: $0.016 per word
(e.g., $800 for 50,000 words)

By far my most popular editing package, comprehensive editing combines developmental editing with copyediting. Done at the same time, it's a great option for authors who want to get through the editing process faster and don't want to break the bank. You'll get back a fully edited manuscript with copy and line edits along with a document with detailed developmental and educational notes. Plus, there's no limit to our interaction. Comprehensive editing is a collaborative process from the day you hand your manuscript over to me to the day you decide to publish it.

Woman Writing

Proofreading

Cost: $0.010 per word for new clients
(flat rate for previous clients - see below)

Proofreading is typically done right before publication. It's the last set of eyes on a manuscript. I'll tackle any lingering spelling, punctuation, grammar, or formatting issues for you. If you're a new client, and I have never read your manuscript before, I charge per word as noted above. If you're an existing client, and I've previously done an edit for you, I charge a flat rate of $100 for novels under 100K words, $150 for novels 101K-150K, and $200 for anything over 151K.

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Ghostwriting

Cost: Flat Rate Per Project ($5,000-$25,000)

Have a partially written book you need help finishing or an idea for a novel you just can't write yourself? Let's chat about my full or partial ghostwriting services. I typically charge a flat rate so there are no surprises.

White Sheet Ghost

FAQs

1. What style guide do you use when editing?

I use the Chicago Manual of Style as my style guide, which is preferred by the fiction and nonfiction publishing industries.

2. What genres do you edit?

While I don’t limit the genres I work in, I do have a few favorites. I tend to gravitate toward romance, contemporary fiction, horror/thriller/crime, mystery, young adult, and fantasy.

 

3. Do you edit novels with profanity, sex, or other triggers?

Yes. I don’t have any restrictions on the types of projects I will accept.

 

4. What’s your background, and how do I know you’re qualified to edit my book?

I began my career in the nonprofit arena, raising funds for various causes for more than twenty years. In that capacity, I authored and edited numerous fundraising appeals, foundation proposals, articles, annual reports, donor spotlights, social media campaigns, and e-blasts. In 2021, I left that sector and began doing freelance writing and editing. I’ve done content and entertainment writing for several firms, and I’m a deputy editor for Write My Wrongs Co, where I edit books for authors hoping to self-publish. In addition to my professional career, I’m also finishing up my own contemporary fiction novel, so I know what it’s like to be a writer, handing off your baby to a stranger and not knowing what to expect. You can rest assured I’ll handle your manuscript much like I would my own—with love, care, and integrity.

 

5. Will you do a sample edit so I can decide if I want to hire you?

Yes. I will do a 1,000-word editing sample upon request. Typically, I prefer the very beginning of your novel, but any 1,000 words will do. Hopefully, I can earn your business. Please take a look at my pricing BEFORE sending me your sample so there are no surprises when I give you a quote for your project. I will only do sample edits for customers legitimately interested in engaging my services.

6. Do I have to sign a contract?

Yes. The contract protects both you and me. It will lay out due dates, payment terms, scope of work, cancellation policies, etc. I will not begin work until your contract is signed and deposit made.

7. What types of payment do you accept?

My preferred method of payment is PayPal. However, I will also accept payments via Venmo or check. If you pay by check, please allow processing time since I must ensure your check clears.

 

8. Do you only edit books, or do you do other types of jobs as well?

I’m a freelancer, so I’m definitely interested in other writing and editing jobs. Feel free to contact me to discuss your project and custom pricing.

 

9. Your pricing changed recently. Why is that? Will you honor your previous prices, or are there any deals I can take advantage of?

I may occasionally change my rates to account for the rising costs to run my business. The last change was November 2023. I frequently offer specials that can earn new clients 10-15% off certain editing projects. Look out for those announcements on Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and mention them prior to signing your contract. 

 

10. How far in advance do you book?

That all depends. Typically, I am booked about 3-6 months out, but clients don't always give me their projects on time, or they may cancel altogether if life gets in the way. Openings pop up here and there, so I encourage you to reach out to inquire! I can usually fit a beta read in pretty quickly because I balance those with other projects along the way.

11. Are you a member of any professional organizations? Do you have any certifications?

Yes. I am a member of the Editorial Freelancer's Association (EFA) and the Freelancer's Union. While I do not have any certifications, I typically attend 2-5 conferences per year for writers and editors to stay abreast of what's going on in the field. 

 

12. I have some additional questions. How do I contact you?

Click on Contact at the top of the page or email me at elizabethmerckauthor@gmail.com.

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