Developmental Editing

When you've pushed your memoir manuscript or essay as far as you can on your own and need someone to come in with fresh eyes and tell you if the structure flows well, if the scenes are engaging, if the characters feel vivid and real, if there's enough of you on the page to keep readers hooked, that's where I can help. From the big picture issues of structure, tone, and themes, to the nitty gritty details like confusing transitions or scenes that could use just a little more detail, I can help you see your project in a new light and pinpoint everything it needs to shine. I'm an acquiring memoir editor at Barrelhouse Books, and I bring that experience and industry knowledge to my freelance developmental editing work. 

Client testimonial: Lilly is intuitive, smart, and sensitive, offering feedback that is both constructive and energizing. She possesses an extraordinary ability to see the big picture of a project while maintaining keen attention to detail. Each of my experiences of working with Lilly have invigorated me as an artist and brought clarity and focus to my writing. Warm and responsive, Lilly made me feel as though I had a coconspirator in the often lonely act of producing a book. I wholeheartedly recommend her to those seeking an editor.


Editing your manuscript:

MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION: This developmental edit focuses on the big-picture elements of your manuscript: story structure, pacing, character development, overall balance of scene and reflection, whether your main themes are developing clearly over the course of the story. You will receive a 2-5 page edit letter, with detailed suggestions for reworking your structure to maintain tension and hold the reader's attention, any themes or emotional threads that could use more excavation, specific chapters or sections that need tightening or expansion, etc.—as well as the manuscript's strengths so you know where to lean in. I will give my honest assessment of the project's readiness to query/submit for publication, as well as a clear roadmap for how to get it ready if it isn't quite there yet. (Note: this service does not include line edits.) Starting at $1,250 for up to 50,000 words.

IN-DEPTH EDIT: This extensive developmental and line edit includes the same big-picture assessment and edit letter as the manuscript evaluation, plus comprehensive in-line notes, marking up your manuscript with comments, questions, and suggestions, pointing out places you could cut/tighten, and/or where you need to add more detail and reflection, flagging cliche descriptions and confusing transitions, etc. If your manuscript has already been edited and you need someone to really dig into the nitty gritty details as a last step before querying, it may be time for an in-depth edit. Starting at $2,000 for up to 50,000 words.

Get in touch below for a quote—I'm happy to find an approach that suits your needs and budget. 

*** In order to make sure I can devote my full attention to each project, availability is limited for manuscript critiques and edits, and I generally book 1-3 months ahead. Fill out the contact form below to reserve your spot! ***

Client testimonial: I loved Lilly's attention to detail. She showed me where readers might become confused and offered great suggestions on how to better weave an emotional arc into my story line. Sometimes it's hard to 'kill your darlings,' but she was able to point out the ones I really needed to consider chopping. I also appreciated her timeliness, professionalism, and communication

Selling your manuscript*:

BOOK PROPOSAL CRITIQUE: I can help you sum up your book-length project in a compelling overview and dynamic outline, playing up your strengths in the bio and marketing sections, and making sure you've chosen the strongest comps. Flat rate of $450 for a book proposal edit, not including sample chapters. (Sample chapter edits also available for an additional fee, based on length.)

FIRST 50: Big-picture evaluation of the first 50 (double-spaced, standard format) pages of your manuscript, plus a half-hour phone consultation to discuss revision and publication strategy. $500.

QUERY LETTER EDITING: A strong query letter is your first impression on an agent—make sure yours packs a punch. $90.

Client testimonial: I’ve worked with Lilly numerous times. She has helped me revise personal essays and offered feedback on chapters of my book. She even helped me edit my entire book proposal, which resulted in my landing the literary agent of my dreams. As a fellow writer, Lilly understands the craft from an artistic perspective. As a professional editor, she understands the logistics. This is part of what makes her feedback invaluable. She examines work through both the lens of a creative writer and industry professional to highlight what works and what doesn’t. Her feedback is sharp, smart, straightforward, and constructive. Working with her taught me how to look at my own work with a critical eye. She has helped me become a better writer. 

*I will do my very best to help you make your manuscript, proposal, and query letter as polished and sellable as possible, but of course, in this unpredictable industry, I can't make any firm guarantees that you will sell your book after working with me.


-An edit includes one round of feedback only. If you would like me to read your revision after you've incorporated my notes and provide additional feedback, that will be considered a separate edit, with a separate fee.

-Reserved editing slots can be rescheduled with at least 30 days' notice at no additional cost. A rescheduling fee of 20% of the total editing fee will be charged for cancellation at any point after a deposit has been made, or for rescheduling with less than 30 days' notice.

-I offer a handful of sliding scale discounted slots for essay and query letter editing, and big picture manuscript critiques. If you are a marginalized writer who can't afford these regular rates, please let me know and we'll work something out.

I'm happy to answer any questions about any of these services! Get in touch today to reserve your spot in my editorial calendar. 

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