FAQs About The Writing Cycle

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FAQs about The Writing Cycle
Is one-on-one book coaching or a manuscript critique the best fit for me?

Do you have a completed rough draft of a book-length manuscript, or a story or excerpt you wish to have professionally edited prior to publication? If so, The Writing Cycle’s signature critique + comprehensive edit is a smart investment help you gain an edge. If you desire a custom-tailored program providing accountability and feedback as you develop your book, one-on-one consulting may be just what you need to keep your project on track.

Do you offer proofreading or copyediting services?

The Writing Cycle’s signature critique + comprehensive edit includes line-by-line editing to sharpen prose at the sentence level; however, I do not offer standalone copyediting. Here’s why:

1) A simple copyedit will not elevate a manuscript in developmental stages into one of publishable quality. I am ethically disinclined to charge authors to polish what needs to be revised.

2) My area of specialization, honed over more than ten years teaching creative writing in some of the nation’s top programs, lies in providing holistic suggestions for shaping books and connecting readers to the heart of a narrative. Cheaper copyediting services exist; my specialty is story.

Do you offer ghostwriting services?

No. Only you can tell your story. My goal is to help you learn to write well.

Will I be able to contact you directly during the editing process?

Yes. Every book-length manuscript critique includes a one-hour brainstorming session via your choice of phone or Zoom conferencing upon your receipt of the edited manuscript. Often, it is in these sessions the most valuable breakthroughs occur.

How are your rates determined?

Price is a factor when choosing an editor. The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) publishes a chart of standard rates, a range also outlined in Writers Market and upheld by the majority of independent professionals as well as many large corporations, including Amazon’s Create Space. The Writing Cycle’s rate for a standard 80,000-word manuscript critique is competitive, especially considering the significant developmental suggestions and editorial interaction you receive.

Why are critique and editing expensive?

Prices are standardized across the industry precisely because in-depth editing is time and labor intensive, with the goal of offering a high return for each author. Services are based on billable hours, and there’s simply no shortcut to quality work. Let’s say an editor was able to deeply critique and edit five pages per hour. That means a standard 80,000-word manuscript may take 60 hours. If the author pays an editor $500, the editor would make about $8 an hour. Experienced professionals who earn their living editing can’t afford to work below minimum wage. Lower rates mean an editor is forced to work faster and be less thorough, or that editing is simply a side job. If you hire an inexperienced editor, expect to save money, but sacrifice quality. I would rather over-deliver on quality than undercut prices.

How do your services compare?

It’s vital you know to whom you are entrusting your book. Who’s a fit for your material? What graduate-level or professional experience does an editor bring? With which acclaimed authors has an editor collaborated?

When you work with The Writing Cycle, you work with Carol Test. My extensive background as an creative writing professor, prize-winning story author, and editor of both literary and commercial publications has positioned me to bring a wide-range of expertise to your manuscript. In addition to my bio, feel free to read testimonials from those who have worked with me.

Beware of companies that will not put you in direct contact with your editor: they often outsource portions of your project to more than one person, which can compromise the integrity of your book.

Does the price reflect a one-time review of the manuscript?

Yes. The purchase of manuscript critique services is limited to a one-time intensive evaluation and edit. Any subsequent reviews of revised versions must be contracted and paid for on an individual basis, at a reduced rate. Rates are based on the billable hours necessary to complete the project.

Will my work be protected?

Yes. The Writing Cycle’s Privacy Policy applies, along with a contractual clause guaranteeing protection of original work. Consider visiting http://www.copyright.gov/ to learn additional ways to safeguard your intellectual property.

Does The Writing Cycle guarantee publication?

No independent editing professional can ethically guarantee publication or acceptance of work by any agent, magazine, or publishing house. Many authors who work with me already have books under contract. Others have chosen to self-publish. Most are readying manuscripts for submission. Whatever your goal, I will treat you as a professional and offer the best of my knowledge on your behalf.

Will you read my manuscript and tell me if it’s of publishable quality or what I should do next?

The Writing Cycle is my livelihood, and I safeguard my time and creative energies for contracted clients. I am not able to offer pro bono or on spec services. Since the most effective way to determine if an editor is a good fit for your book is to sample an editor’s services, I am happy to offer this option: purchase an Excerpt Critique and I’ll subtract its cost from your book-length critique if you choose to move forward. If not, you’ll come away with a well-focused and polished opening. What do you have to lose?

I have limited funds. What options do you offer that can help me become a better writer?

As an arts educator, I’m committed to the value of literary mentorship. I share inspiration and insights on writing through my blog, newsletter, and webinars at no cost.

How does The Writing Cycle compare with workshops or critique groups?

Some writers thrive in workshops; others find the amount of reading and critiquing they must perform in exchange for feedback too labor intensive. Generally, I encourage those new to writing to begin by taking an introductory creative writing workshop through a local community college or writing center. (Good options in the Phoenix area include Arizona State University’s Piper Center and Phoenix College’s Creative Writing Program. UCLA Extension and Gotham Writers’ Workshop provide online instruction nationwide.) Writers who prefer to work one-on-one with a professional typically either have a draft of a manuscript they desire to elevate toward publishable quality or seek a custom-tailored program providing accountability and feedback.

What is your consulting philosophy?

The Writing Cycle is founded upon the principle that creativity and innovation are within reach of any writer, and that good writing—and great books—arise from an author’s unique way of seeing the world coupled with craft mastery. Explore the ten rules for writing that guide my creative and consulting practice to see if they resonate with you.

How will I know if we’re a fit for one-on-one coaching?

We will be a good fit if:

  • You’ve taken at least one writing workshop.
  • You are drafting a novel, memoir or trade non-fiction manuscript.
  • You yearn to provide a high quality, captivating experience for readers.
  • Your manuscript is ready for an injection of new energy and ideas.

We may not be a fit just yet if:

  • You are not willing to revise your work.
  • You desire primarily copyediting or ghostwriting services.
  • You are unable to purchase services up front.
  • You seek a relationship other than that of an author / professional editor.
editing and coaching for writers
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Ready to move from rough draft to realized dream?

Purchase a Manuscript Critique, Excerpt Review ,or Coaching Package here.

Then fill out this brief questionnaire to get started with The Writing Cycle’s signature services.