Have you written a book? Do you have trouble getting feedback from friends or CPs? Do you want an unbiased opinion from someone that you don’t know who isn’t just going to smile at you and say “wow, great job?” Are you looking for someone to read your MS and give you the down and dirty on what does and doesn’t work?
I might be able to help.
I’m Katja (duh, it is my blog after all, it would be kind of weird if I *wasn’t* Katja and was posting this here…), but I digress.
I am throwing my hat into the ring of freelance editing services available to writers. There are MANY freelance editors out there and they are fantastic, I’ve worked with several over the past two years as I figured out my MS and refined my craft. And I will continue to work with them as I write because sometimes it’s nice to have that objective outside feedback from fresh eyes and since I’m paying them for their services, I know that my words will be read and evaluated with a critical eye and in a timely fashion.
No. No I am not. But here is what I bring to the table:
- I’m a high school Language Arts teacher, I teach my students how to read critically and analyze a text based on word choice, structure, punctuation, themes, style, etc. etc. Combined with my own writing journey, I’ve developed a critical eye when reading and I will be on the lookout for making sure your story follows proper structure, that themes are present throughout, and that your characters are consistent and dynamic.
- Style and prose: I will provide basic tips and suggestions for making your writing tighter. I’ll help you identify your crutch words, identify areas where newer writers tend to make mistakes (movement words! staging! do your metaphors make sense? dialogue tags! passive voice! Oh my!). It’s not a comprehensive line edit, but it’s going to make you aware of where you need to focus your attention.
- Ruining your character’s lives: I love ruining characters lives, it’s pretty much mandatory if you’re going to be an author–who wants to read about The McPerfects? NO ONE, that’s who. I will let you know if I think you need to level up the madness and mayhem you are currently inflicting on your characters and *possibly* offer suggestions on how to do that. Raising the stakes is a huge part of the revision process and not only will it help keep your reader’s attention, it will impact your character’s development as well, making them deeper and more relatable.
- Fangirling: I’m going to call a spade a spade and let you know where you can make improvements in your work, but I will also leave comments in ALL CAPS TELLING YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE YOUR STABBY CHILDREN (because I rarely love the smol cinnamon children as much–I might, but I usually choose the stabby ones. OMG, what if you had a SMOL-STABBY-CINNAMON CHILD *dies*).
- Feedback as a READER: I’m a big proponent of knowing how my reader is reacting to my words. I want to know when they start to put pieces together, when theories develop, when their feelings for a character shift. If they are angry with a character, happy, or crying. Therefore I provide a lot of reader-feedback interspersed with my critical analysis. Some of these will be snarky–If your character does something stupid, I’m going to comment on it. The main goal here is to let you know if you’ve done your job and getting the emotional feedback you want from your reader.
- Logistics: I’ve got a pretty keen eye for spotting inconsistencies. Did your characters ride up to the castle on Battle Velociraptors and now they’re fleeing in Unicorn Tanks??? I’m going to help you find these inconsistencies (super common when you start revising as you weave different versions together) and I am going to call shenanigans on anything that doesn’t make sense. Did your character jump from the roof of a burning building, land on their feet and immediately proceed to take out the 50 attacking soldiers?
- World Building: I’ll help identify areas where your world building needs deepening or characters need more depth. Do you have a magic system? I’ll help you figure out if it’s obeying the rules of your world and if those rules are apparent to the reader. World building in fantasy is a character of its own and it must be treated with respect. You will need to answer a lot of questions off the page in order to make it smooth and seamless and immerse your reader into your story.
**This is NOT a comprehensive list and depending on what you send I may not need to address the things mentioned above and I will focus on other things, this is just a rough guideline of my critiquing style**
My Critiquing Style:
I’m a tough love kind of critiquer. Think Rosa Hubberman from The Book Thief. I’m going to call out anything I think might be problematic, I’m going to give you straightforward feedback, I don’t sugar coat stuff. So make sure that you’re ready.
Critiques inevitably hurt. As a writer, I understand that and have definitely shed my share of tears over critiques of my work. Someone is telling us all the ways that our creation, our art, isn’t delivering. But that is the point of a critique. I’ll be snarky, but my intention is never to be mean and I think that sarcasm is a great way to discuss things because it makes it funny. Once you look past the initial sting, you’ll find a way to make your writing better (at least that’s how it worked for me). Ultimately though, I’m here for you, the writer who wants to improve and make their MS better and is willing to dig in and wants to know what does and doesn’t work in their MS.
And what does this magical opportunity cost you ask? This is always the difficult part. I will spend HOURS on your MS, reading, commenting, I will compose a thoughtful email to you that rounds out all of my comments, why I am thinking the way I am, and possibly include some links to resources that I think might be valuable in your writing journey based on what was presented in your MS. This will vary from MS to MS, but I leave A LOT OF COMMENTS. I’m invested in this. For a 50 page document, you’re looking at 100-150 comments/line edits (I use track changes in Word as I cut and rearrange things if needed). 50 pages usually takes me around 6-8 hours to critique depending on what pops up in the MS. With that being said, here is how I’ve decided to breakdown the cost:
Up to 15k words- $50
15-30k – $100
(for MS over 100k, please email for pricing)
My target audience with these services are writers who have finished their first draft and have done at least one pass over their MS. I’m not an alpha-reader, but I want your messy first drafts so I can help you see where you need to focus on your revisions. I want to help authors and writers who are just starting on their journey and are unsure of how to CP or haven’t yet found their writing tribe (that is a long process, it’s taken me two years to find mine and that list continues to evolve with only a few absolutes).
Once you book a critique with me, I promise a 1-2 week turnaround time depending on the length of your MS. Once I’ve sent your critique back to you, I’m open to dialoguing back forth to clarify anything I said or to answer questions you may have. Because that is a really important part of the process–you have to talk some of this out sometimes. To clarify, this is NOT a second pass of edits. This is just you and I making sure we’re on the same page. That we’re picking what the other is respectively putting down.
I’m open to working out payment plans or we can do your MS piecemeal. Ultimately, my goal is to provide a resource to newer writers struggling to navigate the process of querying and editing.
Because if you were like me, you finished your first draft and immediately queried it and IT WAS WAY TOO EARLY BECAUSE WE KNOW NOTHING (Jon Snow). So before you start querying, if this is your FIRST MS, I might be a really good option and at $50 for 15k words, it’s actually a pretty good deal.
I can’t promise that you are going to like or even agree with my feedback, but I can promise that I will be fair and straight forward. My intention is to HELP you improve your craft. Ultimately, you are the goddess/god of your world and you hold all the power there. If you think something I’ve noted doesn’t fit into your vision of the story please talk to me about it. Writing is a conversation. Your MS is only 1/2 of the dialogue. I am bringing all of my human baggage from my life experiences to the table which skews how I read (Seriously read the GoodReads Reviews for a book you LOVE and a book you HATE–there are readers who agree with you and those who will die on the hill of how wrong you are in your assessment, never forget how subjective this industry is).
Still not sure?
I am willing to do a ten page sample edit for $10, if you decide to book with me that $10 will be credited to your final booking price.
So, am I the freelance editor for you?
If you’re here, you know that I love grim-dark stabby fantasy books. For YA or adult, this is where I feel the most comfortable and will be able to offer up the most assistance. I’m not a good fit for mysteries or contemporary. I’ll critique them, but please realize that my focus will be on structure and prose and literary elements more so than the things that make my heart go pitter-patter in fantasy books. If your fantasy isn’t grim-dark, I’m okay with that too!!
When you submit your pages, I will also ask for your query letter (if you don’t have one, don’t panic!) so I can help you make sure your query letter is actually pitching the book you wrote (OMG, my first query told nothing about my MS….lots of workshops and editors and my amazing CP fixed that, but yeah, it sucked). And I’m not a query expert (hence why I’m not offering query critiques) but I want to see if you’ve captured the essence of the novel in your query.
Things I will not critique:
*Books involving on the page rape (it can be alluded to or be in someone’s backstory)
Otherwise, I’m on board with everything!! I have yet to encounter a book that had too much blood or grit or darkness.
SEND ME YOUR STABBY-MURDER CHILDREN!!
To contact me to discuss booking a critique or if you have any questions, I can be reached at:
Please put: STABBY-MURDER EDITING in your subject line and give me up to 48 hours to reply!