Alice headshotI recently received an email from several authors interested in vetting my services. I know they studied my Manuscript Editing Services page on my website, but they wanted to dig deeper with some good questions such as how long I’ve been editing, what are my preferred genres, and how many books I have edited.

They also wanted a testimonial of my editing. So I saved my answers in a Word doc and have now gotten around to writing this blog from my answer to their email–I recommend you do this to save time (and to “get off the phone” with them–in the words of my editor) when you have to create a long email for potential clients that are fishing for information but probably won’t end up working with you.

Here are my answers:

How long have you been editing books?

I’ve been editing books since 2006 and have edited about 500 manuscripts, give or take–I’ve been editing about a book a week recently! Most of my clients publish independently or with small regional presses to strong success with sales and readers.

What are your book editing genres?

My genre specialties are memoir, fiction (YA, sci-fi/fantasy, military, African-American, mysteries/thrillers, historic and religious/spiritual) and poetry. I also enjoy editing books written by coaches, of any theme.

Can you give me a testimonial or two about your book editing?

“What stands out with Alice as an editor are several things. The first, which is important for me, is that she knows when to edit a passage and when to leave the text alone, when to let  my idiosyncrasies stand  (creating a “voice”) and when to straighten them out in more traditional wording. She knows how far I should go in breaking the rules. This is important. Too much loses readers. Enough is the foundation of a voice. I’ve heard authors complain about overediting. You will not find that with Alice. You will find thoughtful editing. Also, she is good at bringing me back on topic. And she will go the extra mile, rather than calculating her work time strictly by the clock. Her fees are reasonable. She communicates joy in her work, honestly wanting authors she’s working with to achieve success. Naturally, being a poet, she has a very good sense of language. And when I’ve asked for marketing advice, she’s come back with ideas.”

—Margaret A. Harrell, author of the Keep This Quiet! series, volumes I-IV


“Insightful, meticulous and engaging are just a few words that come to mind when speaking of my recent collaboration with Alice Osborn. Alice exhibited a keen eye and deft touch editing my latest manuscript. Her recommendations were spot-on. When conferencing with her I knew that she was completely immersed in my work and was working diligently to help me bring out the absolute best in my novel.

From line-to-line editing to our discussion of characterization, plot development and structure, Alice was a caring and enthusiastic mentor. Like a gifted surgeon she pared away only what was superfluous or unnecessary to the success of the story; she is very adept at working within the confines of the author’s wishes.

Not only is Alice is a delight to work with, the accompanying editorial services she offers: story synopsis, query letter, and agency listing are invaluable tools in helping market the book. After finishing my next project, Alice will be the first person I call.”

—Gary Bolick, author of A Snowman in July and Angel’s Oracle

What sets you apart from other manuscript editors?

What sets me apart is that I have written and published across many genres: book reviews, essays, nonfiction articles, feature articles for magazines, academic writing, short stories and of course, poetry. I’m the editor of Wake Living magazine and edited two anthologies for Main Street Rag (my publisher in Charlotte, North Carolina) TATTOOS and Creatures of Habitat. Because of my writing experience, I can lead my clients and provide extended value.

I’m also a pop culture and cultural aficionado. And I can read and write French. All right, I’m a Wikipedia sponge–which a very important trait to have for your editor so she can fact check your stuff! At this point, I’d like to thank my mom for exposing me to PBS and ballet at age three and my dad for making me watch Agronsky and Co. (a Washington insider’s round table with normal speaking voices) at age five. I also read at least one novel or memoir a month on top of my load of manuscript editing.

writing1Tell me about your manuscript editing process

Step 1 of the manuscript editing process

I require all potential clients to send me up to 20 pages of their manuscript. Please note: (effective August 1, 2017) my sample edit/reading fee is $200 for up to 20 double-spaced pages. If we work together, then your fee will be absorbed into your total editing cost. If I choose not to work with you, your reading/sample fee is non-refundable.

Step 2 of the manuscript editing process

If it is cooked, then I will give her my fee based on how clean the prose is and how much work I’ll need to do to it, the number of words and the number of pages. Half is due up front and the balance upon delivery. I send a contract that spells everything out. For a fiction edit, I charge at least $1800 (around 70K words), but that amount may go up based on number of pages, words and prose. If the client wants to revise after I edit, then we separate the payments into three parts, so the last part will be the final edits after the client submits to me her revisions. I also separate the payments into three parts if I need to contract out with a proofreader. We also agree on the deadlines within our contract.

Step 3 of the manuscript editing process

After sending back the contract and initial payment, the client delivers her manuscript via email and then I perform my edits in Word’s Track Changes with line editing and comments. [Note: it’s a very good idea for clients to be moderately familiar with Word–it will all save us a lot of time and aggravation] Along with the soft copy, I can also return the hard edited copy if the client requests it. In addition to the edited manuscript, I also write up an editing summary of my favorite lines, character thoughts, plot ruminations and areas that need help and places where I was confused in the manuscript. If the client requests a tag line (or very short summary) of their book, that’s complimentary, but if the client wants me to write them up a synopsis and/or query letter, those are additional fees.

How fast can you give me back my manuscript edits?

My turnaround time is 3 to 6 weeks.

Want to finish your writing your book this year, but need a writing accountability partner?

I also offer a $375/month (for at least 6 months) VIP custom coaching package that helps writers who need accountability with their writing practice and desire to finish their book by the end of the year (within 9 to 12 months).

Writers submit 1 piece per month based on my emailed writing prompt, up to 20 pages, double-spaced. Or the writer sends 20 pages of their next chapter. Then the edited critique is emailed back to the participant. I will

  1. Help you with the writing process/be your accountability partner
    I will help you where you need more showing than telling, character development, setting, and dialogue. Many writers struggle figuring out how to balance between writing summary and scenes, which can contribute to readers feeling great distance between the author and the work; you don’t want that! I will also help point of view problems–you may start in third person and then shift to first person at the end, for example.
  2. Strengthen and tone your writing
    I will line edit your work in Track Changes for grammar, flow, sentence clarity, replacing passive voice, (“the ball was thrown,” instead of, “I threw the ball.”) tense shifts, comprehension, fragments, spelling, possessive, punctuation.
  3. Help you with marketing and publishing your book
    I will help you locate a book designer and publisher and/or agent. She’ll also hold her hand during this process.
  4. Give you individualized lessons, coaching calls and feedback
    With this package, clients get 1 coaching call per month (60 min) or a face-to-face meeting depending upon proximity (if you are within 25 miles of Alice’s office). If you need additional support, I will supply individualized craft/writing lessons as well. Every month you’ll receive feedback in your edits and emails.

If this book editing package sounds like the right plan for you, please email me HERE!

Call to Action:

That’s about it! Bottom line: I want you to be stronger writer after we’ve worked together. I’m a great editor, but I’m always learning from every single client and that’s what makes this work so fun and dynamic. If you feel I could be a good fit for you, let’s schedule a 20 minute phone chat via email. I really look forward to working with you!