Madeline Dyer’s Critiquing & Proofreading Services
Why You Need a Critique and/or Copyedit and/or Proofread
Critique: The majority of writers benefit from having another professional writer evaluate and analyse their writing, as the author of the piece is often too close to the work to notice any holes in the plot, characterisation problems, or continuity errors. This is what a critiquer can do: offer detailed feedback on your work and advice for improvement.
Of course, any advice given is only one person’s opinion.
Copyedit and/or proofread: All authors benefit greatly from copyediting and proofreading as the final stages of manuscript production–myself included. Although I do copyediting for others, I still employ my own copyeditors and proofreaders for my own manuscripts as a fresh pair of eyes is vital for catching weaknesses and errors.
What I Can Offer
I can offer critiquing/plot doctoring (detailed advice on how you can improve your story and the quality of your writing) and copyediting (proofreading for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and continuity of style). I can also give feedback on your cover letter.
Additionally, since January 2017, I also offer beta-reading. This is designed to give basic feedback on your story, from the point of view of a reader (rather than a writer).
However, I cannot guarantee that I can make your work publishable, nor can I guarantee that it will be accepted by an agent or editor at a publishing house.
What I offer is not strictly a developmental editing service, in regards to the critiquing. Although I will suggest changes that can be made to improve both the story and the writing, I will not make the changes for you. The main purpose of my critique is to offer you an opinion from an already-published writer and suggest ways your material can be improved. But I can only offer improvements and feedback on the material that you send me, therefore you need to already have a basic grasp of how stories work and be able to create realistic characters. I can help you improve these aspects, but if you don’t already know the basics of story-writing, then I will be of little help.
Why You Should Go With Me
- I’ve had two novels traditionally published
- My debut novel, Untamed, became a #1 international Amazon bestseller in five countries.
- I’ve also had seventeen short stories traditionally published
- I graduated from Exeter University–one of the top universities in the UK–with a BA Honours degree in English.
- I have a excellent grasp of grammar
- I am familiar with both British English and American English
- I can work to a specific style guide if requested (I am familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style (14th and 17th editions) and the MLA Style Guide).
**Prices correct as of March 1, 2017**
£3 per 1,000 words for the first pass of beta-reading; £2 per 1,000 words for additional passes of the same manuscript (if requested by the author).
In beta-reading your manuscript, I’ll pay close attention to story structure, readability, characterisation, tone, plot, and writing style, and I’ll provide you with constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement, from a reader’s point of view (rather than a writer’s). Such feedback will be given in comments throughout the manuscript.
If, after I’ve beta-read your manuscript and you’ve made significant changes in accordance with my suggestions, you wish to have another round of beta-reading from me, this would be charged at the reduced rate of £2 per 1,000 words. For example, an 80,000 word manuscript that goes through two beta-reading rounds with me would be £400 in total (round one = £240, round two = £160. (More than one round of beta-reading isn’t required–it is just optional if you want me to check over the readability of any big changes you’ve made and wish to have a final pair of eyes go over it again before you send out your manuscript to agents or editors, etc.)
In-Depth Critique (Improving Narrative Voice, Plot, Character, and Writing)
£5 per 1,000 words for the first pass of critiquing; £3 per 1,000 words for additional passes of the same manuscript (if requested by the author).
The manuscript critique can apply for both partials and full manuscripts, whether they’re short stories or novel-length pieces. If you are thinking of sending an excerpt from a larger piece, I strongly suggest that you send me the opening. This is because the opening of any piece of fiction is the most important; it has to be engaging enough to keep people reading, and it will nearly always be the sample that an editor or agent requests (along with the synopsis, so they can see that you know how to structure a plot).
I will read the manuscript and give in-depth feedback and detailed comments and annotations throughout the manuscript on the effectiveness of your story, how engaging it is, your use of imagery, characterisation, narrative voice and points of view, as well as overall plot development and ways your writing itself can be improved (such as through getting rid of ‘head-hopping’ and ‘visible’ dialogue tags). Suggestions will be given for improvements on the plot and characterisation, as well as writing execution if applicable. Every manuscript over 10,000 words will also come with a 2-4 page report assessing your manuscript as a whole.
When ordering a critique, please state how ‘polished’ you believe your manuscript to be–such as a near-final draft where you particularly want help to strengthen the writing or an early draft that you need help on with the plot. (It is always recommended that you do not send first drafts of any manuscripts, but have at least self-edited your work first). In cases where extensive plot doctoring is requested, I will primarily focus on ways the plot can be improved and/or fixed (suggesting new scenes and the deletions of others) as the main part of the critique/edit, in order to fix plot holes and improve the story structure.
The first round of an in-depth critique is charged at £5 per 1,000 words. If additional rounds are required they will each be charged at the reduced rate of £3 per 1,000 words. So, if you require two rounds of critique for an 80,000 word manuscript this would be £640 in total (round one = £400, round two = £240). Most manuscripts are fine with just one round of critique, after which they can be given to a line editor, but, if after making significant revisions to your manuscript based upon my first critique, you wish me to check it again and pay close attention to the new additions and sections of the manuscript, this would be where a second pass would come in. This second pass would most likely be the equivalent to a beta-read in terms of feedback, as it shouldn’t require thorough, extensive analysis like the first round as you will have already addressed my highlighted areas.
Copyediting (Proofreading for Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling, Errors, Inconsistencies, Accuracy, and Style Continuity)
£4 per 1,000 words (80,000 word manuscript = £240)
Copyediting is designed to be one of the final steps before publication, and as such I will look out for incorrect grammar, missing words, repeated words, typos, and incorrect words. I’ll also catch any continuity errors in your style, such as nouns that have capital letters in some instances but not others.
In copyediting, I work to the Chicago Manual of Style, and as such I will look out for incorrect or missing grammar (such as missing commas before conjunctions that join two independent clauses together) or titles that are incorrectly capitalised (examples being instances where ‘your Majesty’ should be ‘Your Majesty’, and ‘My Lord’ should be ‘my lord’ to fit with the capitalisation rules in the Chicago Manual of Style) and I will correct these. But, I will always be mindful of the author’s natural writing voice and will not change that.
I will make these changes directly into Microsoft Word using Track Changes, and you will be able to accept or reject each of my changes individually. I will also make comments in the manuscript where I change sentences for grammar and readability, explaining why I have made that change and, if necessary, quoting the appropriate section of the Chicago Manual of Style to support my change.
I can work to British English or American English in copyediting.
(If you are unsure whether you require a copyedit or proofread, send me your opening 5 pages first and I will assess them and let you know.)
Proofreading (Catching Typographical Errors)
£2 per 1,000 words (80,000 word manuscript = £160)
I am available to proofread your completed manuscripts and help you make sure that there are no lingering errors. In proofreading, the text should already have been copyedited (and gone through all previous editorial rounds) and now be laid out in the final form ready for publication. I accept electronic and paper galleys for this stage, and I will look out for missing words, repeated words, typos, and incorrect words.
In proofreading, I will also catch surface grammar and layout errors (such as a missing comma, full stop/period, or chapter break) that affect the readability of the manuscript, but this is NOT designed to be a way to catch grammar errors. If you believe your manuscript needs an edit/proofread for grammar, then it is a copyedit that you are looking for (please see above). Proofreading is designed to be the very last stage in which errors can be caught.
If the manuscript is provided in a Microsoft Word document, I will make these changes directly, using Track Changes, and you will be able to accept or reject each of my changes individually. If provided as an ebook galley, I will draw up a list of typos in a separate document for you. In cases where paper galleys are sent to me, I will mark typography errors directly on the pages unless otherwise requested, and the author will also have to pay additional postage charges on top of the proofreading rate (though these will be discussed first).
I can work to British English or American English in proofreading.
(If you are unsure whether you require a copyedit or proofread, send me your opening 5 pages first and I will assess them and let you know.)
**Although I only offer critiquing and proofing/copyediting services, there are other types of editorial rounds that your manuscripts should also go through, such as developmental edits and line edits. (Developmental edits differ to a critique in that critiquing is done as a way to help assist you with the plot and any problems when you’re still in the writing/rewriting stage, and you’ll do at least another extensive revision after a critique; a developmental edit looks at a more polished draft and is more about improving that without rewriting excessive parts, dramatically changing characters’ goals and motivations, introducing new characters, or completely changing the structure or POVs in the narrative).
I do not offer developmental editing myself, nor line edits, but I can recommend a number of excellent editors whom I use myself for my own manuscripts. Please contact me for recommendations!**
Cover Letter Critique
£8 (two rounds)
The cover letter, or query letter, that you send out to agents and editors is hugely important. Having already had seventeen short stories traditionally published and signed two book deals with a traditional publisher, I understand what needs to go in a cover letter.
I can read your cover letter and offer in-depth advice and feedback on your style of writing, as well as noting whether you include necessary information or not. I will also suggest a number of improvements, and I will take another look at your cover letter once you’ve made amendments.
All genres are currently accepted apart from erotica, religious fiction, and nonfiction.
The genres I am most familiar with are fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, and thriller/mystery for MG, YA, NA, and adult readerships, but I am open to other genres too.
The genres I most often work with clients on are YA high fantasy, NA epic fantasy, and YA contemporary.
“Madeline Dyer’s critiquing skills are worth every single penny. She’s honest, thorough, professional, and an absolute peach to work with. I will keep coming back as long as she’s in business.” — Frost Kay, author of Rebel’s Blade
“Madeline Dyer’s critique is worth every penny. She is thorough and tough on the manuscript, but every comment helps make it just a little better, and by the time you’re done, with all her comments and suggestions, you’ll be sure to have a book to be proud of.” — Rose Withering, author of Thornburg’s Daughter
“Madeline Dyer does a thorough job of looking at, not only the parts but the whole of the work when she beta-reads. You’ll get insight and honesty with every comment. She takes real time with each line, with each moment in the manuscript and shares a reader and a writer’s perspective on it.” — E. Mitchell, author
**If you wish to speak with previous clients of mine before going ahead with any of my services, please contact me and I will forward you contact details of clients who have agreed for their contact information to be used in such a way.**
How to Order Your Critique or Proofread
Please contact me or email me at MadelineDyerAuthor [at] yahoo.co.uk, specifying which critiquing/proofing service you are interested in and the genre and word count of the material you wish to have critiqued. If you can also include a marketing blurb, that is helpful. Please also let me know what sort of timeline you are working to.
I will then email you back telling you whether I will be suited to critiquing your work and give instructions on how to proceed. If desired, I can do the first 5 pages of any edit for free for clients I have not previously worked with, to check that we are a good match and are both happy working together–there is no obligation for you to book my services after I’ve critiqued/copyedited/proofread your first 5 pages, if you are not happy.
All materials sent should be in standard manuscipt format (double spaced with 12 point Times New Roman font) and payment will be through Paypal.
I only accept electronic files for critiques and copyediting. I do accept hard copies for proofreading.
Typically, my turnaround time is 3 working days for critiqued cover letters and manuscripts up to 10,000 words. For manuscripts over 10,000 words my turnaround time will vary and will be decided upon a case-by-case basis.
There is currently a waiting list for my services, and I am now taking bookings for the end of April 2017, onward. So, please book in advance (1-2 months is good!), but do feel free to contact me if you’ve got a more urgent deadline as I may be able to fit you in.
Please note, I will use the Track Changes and Comments facilities on Microsoft Word to do the beta-reading, critiques, copyediting, and proofreading; if this doesn’t work for you, please let me know before I start critiquing your material.
The first 5 pages of any of my manuscript services can be done for free for any client I have not worked with before to check that we are both satisfied. Once I’ve sent back the first 5 pages and you’re happy to proceed, I will require half the payment upfront, before resuming work. The remaining amount will be invoiced once the work is complete.
For clients I have worked with before, I will invoice for 50% of the payment upfront. Once I have received this payment, I will begin work. The remaining payment will be invoiced for once the work is complete.
Thank you very much for your interest in my critiquing servies. If you have any questions, please contact me or leave a comment below.