I offer beta reading, proofreading, and editing services for manuscripts at any stage. Talk to me about your project needs and we can tailor the process accordingly. Clean fiction is my specialty, regardless of genre, but I am most experienced with Christian fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, and young adult. I do not edit horror, erotica, paranormal/occult, or anything with very graphic or explicit scenes.
Ready to take the next step?
First, figure out what kind of services you need.
Beta reading takes a wide view of your story as a whole. It is meant to shake out the bigger issues that are likely to disappoint readers and lead to bad reviews, such as plot holes, misplaced objects, discrepancies, character development issues, pacing problems, unresolved plot threads, and more.
Thankfully, volunteer beta readers are usually easy to find. Enlisting a variety of readers from your target audience is an important first step to publishing that every author should take advantage of.
However, as much as you value their time and input, you may end up with feedback that is inconsistent, conflicting, too sparse to be helpful, or even less than honest if they're trying not to hurt your feelings. Asking family and friends to beta read can be uncomfortable for both of you, especially if your story is very personal or not in their preferred genre. And while your volunteer beta readers might give you an excellent idea of what your story's weaknesses are, they may not be able to help you figure out how to fix them. That's not their job.
How I Can Help
With experience as both an author and editor, I can provide a more in-depth critique than you'll get from a typical beta read. I will also go beyond that to help you figure out solutions before you begin to make those critical and possibly extensive revisions. If you already have input from volunteer beta readers, I'd be happy to look over their responses and help you make sense of them—after I've made my own assessment. Be aware that beta reading is NOT a substitution for editing.
One complete review and one partial review is included with each beta read.
The partial review will target only areas that have gone through significant revisions as a result of the full review.
You've finally hit the point where you've looked at your manuscript so many times, you practically have it memorized. The beta reads, massive revisions, and edits have all been completed, and you're eager to just get the book published already! Trust me, I know how it is. I've been there.
I call this the dangerous stage, because whatever nagging little errors still remain, you can't see them anymore. In your eagerness to be done, it's easy to just move forward and assume everything's perfect. Yes, I've been there, too. But you know who will find those irritating little typos, missing words, and quotation marks that somehow got turned the wrong way when you copied and pasted? Your future readers. And they will happily point them out, whether directly to you or to the entire public in online reviews. Someone with fresh eyes, who has never read your story before, needs to take one final look for anything missing or out of place. A good proofreader can give you peace of mind before you submit your file for publication.
How I Can Help
I'd love to be your fresh pair of eyes so that you can be confident your manuscript is as clean as possible before it goes to press. Proofreading is NOT a substitution for editing. I will only be looking for outright errors, not refining your story or suggesting improvements.
One complete review is included with each proofread.
When I'm finished, you will get two copies of your file back. One will have Track Changes still active so that you can see everything that was fixed. The other will have all of those changes already accepted for you. That way you won't have to worry about accidentally creating new errors during the "accept" process. It happens--I've seen it.
If once I begin working it becomes apparent that your manuscript is not ready for proofreading and still needs to be edited, I will be honest and let you know. Whether you choose to go forward with the proofing or go back to the editing stage will be entirely up to you.
This can be a very stressful (and expensive) stage of the publishing process, which is why so many authors contemplate skipping it. However, along with your cover design, getting a professional edit is the most important investment you can make for the future of your book. You want your creative work to stand the test of time, and that means presenting your very best.
Your mind is probably full of questions and doubts. There are so many editors out there, with a wide range of experiences and offerings. How do you get the right kind of edit...or the right kind of editor for that matter? Will the editor get your story and your writing style, or try to change it into something it was never meant to be? What if your editor finds more problems than you expect—what will that do to your publishing timeline? Can you afford an editor anyway? Some of those prices you saw online were absolutely shocking. You'd have to promise your firstborn to Rumpelstiltskin to make those rates fit within your budget.
How I Can Help
First of all, rest assured that this is YOUR baby and editing won't change that. My edits are suggestions that you can choose to either accept or reject. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here's what I'll be looking at/checking for: grammar, punctuation, spelling, structure, flow, tone, pacing, character development, story development, organization, discrepancies, redundancy, breaks in logic, unresolved or underdeveloped plotlines, and anything else that is holding your book back from reaching its full potential. I will work with you to address any major issues and help you come up with solutions. Be sure to read over my Editing Philosophy to get a feel for my editing style.
Two full reviews and one partial review.
The first full review will catch the majority of problems. Proposed changes and comments/questions will be returned to you for either approval or rejection through the Track Changes function in Microsoft Word.
The second full review will take place after all of your changes have been made and the document is returned to me. There will be a final check for errors, including any made by the acceptance/rejection process. The piece will be refined further as necessary, particularly if there were re-writes.
A final, partial review will be limited to any sections that needed additional re-writes after the second review. You will need to indicate where these changes have been made.
Want to get a better idea of how the editing process will work before you decide? I'd be happy to provide a small sample edit from your manuscript.
PayPal is the accepted method of payment for all services.
Before any work starts, I will send you a PayPal invoice detailing the scope of work and the price. This will be based on which service you choose and the specific word count of your project.
Once you accept, a 20% deposit will be due for work to begin.
For beta reading and proofreading, the remaining balance will be due upon completion, before your files are returned to you.
For editing, half of the remaining balance will be due after the first complete review. The second half will be due after the final review.
If you need a custom payment plan just ask! I'd be happy to work with you.
As editor of my first middle grade fantasy/adventure novel, Allison not only helped elevate my writing with her expert editing and proofing skills, but also with her keen eye for details. She has an intuitive sense for character motivation, and keeps close tabs on what is happening in every scene as well as the actions of every character, allowing her to catch even the most minute detail errors.
As I begin to write the second novel in my series, there is no doubt that I will be seeking out Allison’s steady, guiding hand. Thank you again!
— Shan L. Spyker, author of The Way of the River: Kellandale Wood (Book One)