What is a Developmental Editor?

Photo by  David Travis  on  Unsplash
I always had the sense that I could affect the way people felt about things, that I could inform the way people looked at things.
— Ellis Cose, The Word


A Developmental Editor is a Professional Reader who helps you change your content to make sure your story has all the necessary elements. We look at it from a big picture perspective, noting that the setting, story, and characters (or thesis for nonfiction) all align to create something magical for your readers. This is a solid first step for publishing (not copyediting) since you want to determine if your story is cohesive. This type of consultation can come at any time during your writing process, even before you start writing, to make sure you have every element in place to produce a standout book.

Another name for this is Story Editing. I make sure all the pieces work together to make a great book or article. I’ll ask the questions “does this work” and “is this what the premise states”. My job is to guide your content to express what you want the readers to understand without changing the meaning. You’ll receive a copy of your manuscript with notes or tracked changes in a live Google document. All notes and suggestions will be clear so you can decide which to keep and which to ignore. Then we’ll schedule a call to discuss my thoughts and your best next steps.

My editing services encompass three stages of developmental editing:

  • A Bad Draft Check-In will give you a base line for where you are and how your book would do if it were published as is. Some notes will be made but ultimately the story will remain unchanged.

  • A Deep Dive Comprehensive Critique is a line-by-line reading. It’s much more in-depth and comes with a full report to the author of what works and what doesn’t work. This could include moving sections or reworking complete characters.

  • A Bookish Project Consultation can begin at any stage of the writing and can conclude with an evaluation. This is one-on-one help for as long as your project needs to keep you on track and accomplish your project goals.


When Do You Need One? 

  • You’re looking for constructive criticism and targeted suggestions to smooth out the rough patches in your work

  • You’ve finished your final draft and are almost ready for copyediting services

  • You have a story idea and you want help planning and executing it

  • You’ve started your manuscript but got stuck along the way

Black & Bookish Developmental Editing Services Include:

  • A complete read of your in-progress manuscript

  • Comprehensive critique letter focused on story structure, plot, clarity, or logic

  • Light annotations for Bad Drafts

  • Comprehensive annotations/track changes for Deep Dives

  • One-hour phone call with actionable next steps

Developmental Editing Services Do Not Include:

  • Book review for print or online publication

  • A spotlight review on Black & Bookish

Inquire about Project Rates

Projects include sample readings, full manuscript edits, critique letters, and actionable next steps.

Do you have more questions? I would love to hear from you.

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