Substantive Editing Services

My substantive editing services typically follow through on the points raised in your manuscript evaluation. Note, however, that an evaluation isn’t always a mandatory first step.

Often we can move right into a substantive edit after consultation and review. We will work closely together to focus and refine your manuscript for submission to an agent/publisher or as a developmental step toward self publishing. In some cases, I will also apply the relevant style guide for your manuscript.

Substantive editing is often called developmental or conceptual editing, and some sites even refer to it as line editing (hardly confusing when trying to determine what your manuscript needs, right?).

Based on my in-house experience, substantive editing is defined as addressing the “big picture” aspects page by page. This could include structure, organization, and logic for nonfiction; and plot, pacing, and character development for fiction.

Many editors (myself included) draw this distinction: If your manuscript is incomplete, you need to collaborate with a developmental editor to turn the concept into a finished book. If your manuscript is complete and you’ve taken it as far as you can, you need a substantive editor to perform an expert overhaul.

If the details below don’t describe the type of professional editing services or analysis you think your manuscript might need at this stage, consult my other service definition pages for manuscript evaluation, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading.

If you’re still unsure or would just like to see how I can be of help, contact me and we’ll determine your next best steps together. You’ll be relieved at how clear things will become again.

My substantive editing services include:

  • clarifying and/or reorganizing your
    manuscript for content and structure,
  • suggesting or drafting changes for you, and 
  • negotiating those changes with you.