Fiction Editing Services and Rates

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Lori Alden Holuta is a fiction editor and writer living in the wilds of Michigan. A nitpicker by nature with mild synthesia (words evoke sounds in her mind), she enjoys the editing process immensely. Give her a hot cup of tea and 50,000 words to proofread, and just watch her face light up. She’s been editing fiction novels for years, and understands the strange nuances of world-building. She will nurture and protect your characters like a momma bear, and holds the highest respect for the unique lore of your fantastical universe..

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Editing by the Book – and In Spite of the Book
As your editor, I will refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. This is the preferred style guide for fiction editing. However, I realize that every fiction story creates its own special rules, as well. For this reason, I will create a personalized style guide for you, specific to your manuscript. A style guide ensures that your character names will always be spelled correctly, unique aspects of your universe stay constant, and intentional quirks of punctuation are maintained consistently. This style guide will become a valuable tool, especially if you continue writing other stories in the same fictional setting. After all, rules are made to be broken—but when they are, they should be broken deliberately, precisely, and consistently.

Tracking Changes
Every stage of editing will be done in Microsoft Word, using the Track Changes feature. You will be able to review every change I make to your manuscript. You will have the opportunity to reject individual edits, if you wish. Once you have reviewed the edits and rejected any you don’t agree with, you can easily approve all remaining edits.

Communication Between Editor and Author
I will use the Comments feature in Word to leave you messages as I work. I may suggest a word change, or compliment you on an exceptional sentence, or explain the specifics of an editing decision. Comments give you a window into the editing process and the mindset of your editor. If I have a larger issue or question, I will email you about it. I try to never assume anything. I’d much rather contact you and talk things over.

How Long Will My Edit Take?
It’s difficult to give a time frame in advance. The length of your novel is an important factor, of course.  But your genre is also a factor. I find romance and cozy mysteries flow quickly, but science fiction and fantasy take longer. How many characters have voices in your story? How many action sequences are there? Is your setting a complex fantasy, or a modern urban location?  You can see why it’s hard for me to simply say, “25,000 words? Okay, a week.” On the average, I strive to complete an editing assignment within two weeks. If I feel I need more time, I will let you know.

What Type of Editing Do I Need?
There are many different types of editing. Each addresses specific tasks, but all are focused on moving your manuscript forward to become a polished, compelling book. This guide will help you choose which editing service is right for your manuscript.

Developmental Editing

I will provide detailed editorial feedback for your manuscript. I will assess the structure, flow, and readability of your story. This service should come before any other type of editing since it affects the entire scope of your work. 

Developmental Editing: $15 per 1,000 words

Line Editing

I will review and edit your manuscript with an eye towards story structure, plot progression, character traits, and the overall mood and tone of your story. I will ensure that your manuscript is consistently appropriate and appealing to your intended audience.

A line edit addresses creative content, writing style, and language use.  I will focus on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Is it clear, fluid, and pleasurable to read? Does it convey a sense of atmosphere, emotion, and tone? Do your words convey precise meaning rather than broad generalizations and clichés? Do your action scenes make logical sense?  Do your characters maintain consistent personalities? Are your sentences crisp, tight and compelling? As your line editor, I will continually address these questions.

Line Editing: $10 per 1,000 words

Copy Editing

As your copy editor, I will review your manuscript for technical errors, with an eye towards grammar, punctuation, spelling and consistency. If a style sheet exists, I will comply with it. If not, I will create one as I edit.

I will draw your attention to anything that needs to be fact-checked. I’ll also look for inconsistencies in the plot, setting and characters. Your readers do not need to be startled by a sudden, unexplained change in your heroine’s hair color, or the fact that your villain just managed to move a hundred miles to the west in the blink of an eye, without access to magic. I will look for anything that might have been missed in the line editing process.

Copy Editing: $8 per 1,000 words

Copy Editing Samples (downloadable PDF files)
Follow the copy editing process as it is applied to a few pages of a short story.  

Copy Edit-Make Haste to Live
Includes all corrections, edits, and comments

Edits Accepted Copy Edit-Make Haste to Live
Shows document after accepting editing changes, with comments still intact

Make Haste to Live Style Sheet and Editor Report
Commentary, rules and standards used while editing.


I will ensure that every detail of your manuscript is print-ready. Have you ever changed the font size or style while reading an ebook, and find yourself trying to read around misplaced line breaks? That text should be flowing smoothly, at any size or font. Your proofreader will make sure that it does.

Proofreading is the final stage of editing. As your proofreader, I will focus on finding any last-minute corrections that may have slipped through previous editing passes. Proofreading might be the “easiest” of the editing stages, but it carries the extra pressure of being the final stage.

Proofreading: $6 per 1,000 words

Proofreading Sample (PDF)
Proofread – Ruth and the Cradle

Back Cover Blurb Writing

How many times have you picked up a book, flipped it over, and chose to either buy it or put it back on the shelf based on what you read on the back cover? Think about that, and you’ll realize the importance of your book’s blurb. (Or blurbies, as I like to call them, it’s just fun, indulge me.)

If I’ve edited your book, you are eligible to purchase this service. It’s important that I already know your story in order to write a compelling teaser. I’ll provide you with two versions – a back cover full blurbie, and a shorter version for use in social media, marketing, and anywhere else a “short and sweet” version works best.

Blurbies: $50 flat fee

Formatting, Book Cover Wraps, Cover Design

I no longer accept formatting jobs, but I highly recommend the services of Liminal Fiction. They can also create book cover wraps and custom cover designs. 

“One of the many hats I wear is that of book formatter. As an indie author/press, it made sense to do it for myself, and now I do it for other folks too. Need a re-release formatted? Have a new book you want to self-publish, but just don’t quite know how to prep your book files? We use Vellum for the Mac, and do formatting for ePub (all formats) and pdf/print.” – J. Scott Coatsworth of Liminal Fiction

Are you ready to take this to email and tell me about your manuscript? Email me and let’s discuss your needs.

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