An excellent question. I want you to be absolutely sure you’re getting what you want, and that you are paying a fair price for it. There are many online companies, known as “Vanity Presses,” that will charge you an awful lot for very little, and then ghost you when you have questions. People often think I run a vanity press, because we act almost like a publishing company. But Holbrook Author Services is different. We offer many different services in one place, because we know that is a pain point for many novice writers. Are you looking for one person who can guide you all the way through? That’s what I do. I’m a real person, and if you hire me, you’ll meet me in person or via Zoom.
Developmental – The Story Diagnostic
I’m a certified Three Story Method Editor, and I use a story rubric to analyze every part of your manuscript, giving you feedback on plot, character, theme and style in a way that is clear, objective, and useful. This “Story Diagnostic” starts with a Zoom call with you to discuss your manuscript as you see it and assess your goals.
What follows is a meticulous reading of the manuscript, chapter by chapter, including in-line notes highlighting problems and recommending solutions. When finished, you will receive both the annotated manuscript and a cohesive written analysis of what I found. We will once again meet via Zoom and walk through this “rubric” together, examining both strengths and weakness, and formulating a revision plan. This will happen withing 60 days of receiving your manuscript. The Story Diagnostic includes an optional follow-up reading and meeting after you have made your revisions. This service – like all of my services – is billed hourly, and generally takes 30-40 hours depending on the length of the book, but it has a minimum cost of $1500. It is the only service we offer that has a minimum cost.
When you are in the writing process, but you’re stuck, I can help. Charges for book coaching are simply the hourly rate to read what you’ve got, and to meet with you via Zoom to discuss. A little coaching can save you a lot of work!
Content and Line Editing
Content and line editing require close focus to your manuscript to identify, sentence by sentence, places where your manuscript doesn’t flow well, has factual errors or internal contradictions, etc. Where the Story Diagnostic might identify scenes with flat characters or low energy, the content edit will suggest specific fixes for these issues using Track Changes in a Word document. Editing is a slow, specific process that can’t be rushed. That said, the initial quality of your manuscript will have a huge impact on how long this process takes. For a 60,000 to 80,000 word manuscript, it would not be unusual for it to take 20-25 hours.
Once again, there is no shortcut when it comes to proofreading. However, readers WILL ding you in reviews if your book is full of typos. And, unfortunately, it is very hard to proofread your own work. For some reason, our brains skip over text that we are too familiar with. For a 60,000 to 80,000 word manuscript, I would expect this to take 10-15 hours.
Finally, it gets a bit easier. There are some good tools out there, or you can just wrestle Microsoft Word into submission. I’ve done many, many interior layouts, so I can save you a lot of hassle. A book without pictures takes about four hours. A book with images will take a lot longer, maybe twice or three times as long, depending on the complexity.
This is a real back and forth process, so it’s hard to pin down the total cost. However, I can usually please most of the people, most of the time, in less than six billable hours. This includes ebook and paperback design, as well as creating copy for the back of the book or online book descriptions.
What’s that add up to?
I know it’s annoying for me to say this, but “It depends.” If you’ve written a manuscript that you’ve slaved over for years, and combed it as clean as you can get it, then I can probably help you get that book to market – with a quick proofread and some strong design on the interior and cover – for around $1000.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you are a first-time author and you need to take the time to learn all the things you don’t know you don’t know, you could easily spend $3000-$4000 on coaching, Story Diagnostic, editing and design. That’s a lot, I know. But I guarantee you will learn an amazing amount about story structure, character voice, theme and more. You’ll learn so much that your NEXT book will take you half the time, and half the cost.
So, I hope to hear from you! Fill out the contact form and we’ll get started.
Here’s a few of the covers I’ve designed.