Manuscript Editing

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Is your rough draft ready for feedback?

The final step in the writing cycle ends with a professionally-edited manuscript.

Working with a professional editor:

  • Ensures your work is the best it can be before submission or publication.
  • Elevates your idea into art using the tools of craft.
  • Gives your book a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Manuscript Critique + Editing Package

In an age when it’s easy to publish quickly, it’s more important than ever to publish well.

A high-quality book can prove a key investment to attract premium clients or the interest of an agent. I encourage you to view this step as a culmination of your work on a creative project in which you can take pride.

Most editing services charge separately for line-editing and developmental critique. The Writing Cycle’s signature manuscript service does both: First, I zero in on what your writing ultimately wants to say. My goal is to connect with your distinct voice and center your experience on the page. As editor, I evaluate the quality of your book, from market potential to technical elements, providing opportunities for improvement. Finally, I improve the smallest details, ensuring correctness of grammar, mechanics, and punctuation, while elevating prose. As both writing coach and writer myself, my pleasure comes from enhancing the artistry present on the page.

editing and coaching for writers
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Who can benefit from manuscript editing?

Creative nonfiction writers looking to land an agent in today’s competitive marketplace.

Authors in personal growth spheres wishing to ensure their work is professional before it goes to print.

Coaches drafting books to enhance platforms.

Personal essayists ready for an injection of new ideas into their work.

manuscript critique and book editing

How It Works

  1. On the contact page, answer the questionnaire regarding your project’s genre, word-count and three-line synopsis. Upon receipt of your questionnaire, I’ll reach out to discuss your project. As always, all material submitted and discussed is held in strict confidentiality, and remains the property of the author.
  2. Upon approval, pay the deposit below. Email your completed manuscript as a double-spaced Microsoft Word document in Times New Roman 12-point font to the secure address I provide for your project.
  3. I will read your manuscript twice, first as a reader, then as an editor. In a six-page critique letter, I will provide a thorough assessment of its strengths as well any technical elements (such as point of view or dialogue) providing opportunities for improvement.
    Using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature, I will include margin notes indicating passages in need of excision or revision. I’ll also let you know what’s working well.
    Finally, professional line-editing utilizing The Chicago Manual of Style will appear in the body of your text to correct grammar, mechanics and punctuation. I will also make artistic suggestions at the line level.
  4. After receiving your edited manuscript and evaluation letter, use Microsoft Word to accept or reject individual changes and choose whether to incorporate bigger-picture suggestions. Pay the balance to schedule your one-on-one feedback session.
  5. Conference with me one-on-one via a 60-minute virtual session. I will answer questions, provide clarification and brainstorm possibilities with you. It is in these sessions that the most valuable breakthroughs occur.

    Why Work with Me? 

    My areas of expertise include helping writers of creative nonfiction and literary fiction develop fearless narratives, along with assisting professionals in the realms of psychology and personal growth birth books that enhance brands. Whether you’ve drafted a memoir, personal essay collection, or novel of realist fiction, I have edited books in these genres published with big houses, small presses, and self-publishers, and understand what readers want.

    While I no longer work with writers of genre fiction, nor trade nonfiction authors whose books do not center around a personal narrative, I am happy to recommend editors who excel in these areas.

    My style is best suited for serious writers who seek depth along with honest feedback on opportunities for improvement. I’m neither life coach nor Zoom cheerleader; I’m a professional editor committed to excellence.

    There are dozens of online editors assisting authors toward publication. Few are classically-trained, prize-winning artists themselves; fewer still have taught writing workshops at colleges, universities, and conferences for nearly two decades. Likewise, writing groups require that you spend precious time reading and responding to dozens of manuscripts, only to receive varying opinions on your own. When working with me, you receive decisive direction from one person: your editor. And your only job is to take advice that resonates with your vision for your book.

    When editing, I play the perfectionist (so you don’t have to), while holding in mind big-picture opportunities for each book. I never take on more than one manuscript per month to ensure I hold exclusive space for your story in my thoughts throughout the time we work together.

    My BioTestimonials, and Blog should reveal if I’m a fit for you.

Learn more about how it works and get answers to FAQs.

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Novel or Nonfiction manuscript editing and critique
  • Includes: detailed six-page letter of expert developmental feedback, extensive margin notes, line editing, free query letter Rx, and a 60-minute Zoom or phone consultation.
  • Maximum 120,000 words. Reach out for books that run longer.


  • Includes: expert analysis of craft elements, detailed two-page critique letter, polishing line-edits and margin notes.
  • Maximum 5,500 words.
  • Quick turnaround.


book excerpt or short-story editing critique
Prices are set at industry-standard rates. A 50% retainer is due prior to the start of all book-length services to reserve time in my calendar. The balance is due upon receipt of your edited manuscript and evaluation letter. Full payment is required up front for stories/excerpts/queries/openings. Please allow one month for completion of book-length projects; shorter projects can usually be turned around quickly. 


Project Type

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Quick Turnaround


Big-Picture Developmental Critique

Line-editing for GMP

Free Query Letter or Pitch

60-min Zoom Consult

“In workshops at the University of Arizona, and afterwards, as Carol has continued to read my work in draft, I have found her perceptions and comments regarding my work to be razor sharp, delivered with great good will and with humor, and cutting to the heart of the matter. Both as a reader and as a writer, Carol is exceptional.

— Daniyal Mueenuddin, author of National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize Finalist In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

“I have worked with Carol in both group and one-on-one settings. I came to her to critique my novel because she is imaginative, thoughtful, and humane. You can trust your prose to her; she’ll make it better in ways you will understand and enjoy.”

–Sheila Grinell, author of The ContractAppetite

“Carol knows how to help writers find and then shape the essential in their work. She understands what makes a good story. Her talent for narrative structure shows in her manuscript critiques and editing, her teaching and her own work, which she approaches with intelligence and humor.”

– Corey Campbell, Author &  Creative Writing Program Manager
at Arizona State Univeristy

“Carol’s experience in the field and her use of effective teaching tools provided me the confidence and skills to take my concept/idea and turn it into a legitimate novel. Her instructions, suggestions, concepts and advice are clear and on point, providing the framework to successfully approach my writing project. Carol is an amazing consultant and an incredible talent.”

Benjamin Placencia

what people are saying about the writing cycle
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