Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have payment plans available?2020-07-13T15:34:53+00:00

In some cases, yes, we can provide a fee-free, interest-free payment plan that will break the cost of an editorial service into monthly installments. These are set up on a case-by-case basis, and you can contact Ross Browne in the Tucson office for questions and inquiries.

How do I pay?2020-07-13T15:30:24+00:00

We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, PayPal, and checks paid to the order of The Editorial Department, LLC, which can be mailed to the Tucson office.  All invoicing and payment collection is handled online via a secure, encrypted payment server provided by our credit card processing company.

When do I Pay?2020-07-13T15:21:43+00:00

Fees for our services are payable either fully in advance or with a 50% deposit up front and the balance due upon delivery of the work to you.   Authors services director Ross Browne will go over payment options when providing your written quote or estimate for services, and you can contact him directly at the Tucson office.

I’m a published writer but could use some help with breaking into a new genre. Can you help me?2020-06-21T15:27:56+00:00

Yes. In fact, this description fits many of our clients. (We also have a lot of experience helping nonfiction writers make the jump to writing fiction.) Our owner and client services director Ross Browne can help you decide which service and approach will best facilitate your objective.  You can use our online contact form or call him directly at (520) 546-9992.

What range of writing skill and experience do your clients have?2020-06-20T23:17:54+00:00

It’s hard to generalize about this, but most of our clients are writers who have taken a complete manuscript through at least a couple of revisions prior to submitting it to us and who have already made the effort to learn the basics of their craft. (Many clients are familiar with our book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.) While literary talent and/or a great concept can improve the chances of an untrained author’s creating something publishable, a one-on-one relationship with an editor is likely to be more fruitful when a writer has first studied his or her craft.

I’m an experienced writer but just haven’t managed to get published. Can you help?2020-06-22T21:06:06+00:00

Yes. As an author, it’s often hard to distance yourself from your project and objectively consider its real strengths and weaknesses. That’s why having a professional editor evaluate your manuscript can make all the difference. You can test the waters with our introductory critique or request a full manuscript critique for a comprehensive diagnostic analysis.

At the very least we can probably tell you why you’re not having success and give you some honest feedback as to whether or not it’s worth continuing with the effort. If the manuscript does show promise, there’s lots of help we can provide via our developmental editing and line editing services to bring out its full potential.

If you need help pitching your work to literary agents and publishers or navigating the submission process, please check out our Traditional Publishing Support Services.

Do I get to work with an individual editor I can talk to and ask questions of?2020-06-21T15:32:23+00:00

Absolutely. When you submit a manuscript or screenplay, your work is carefully assigned to a specific editor based on several factors you can read about here.  This editor will be introduced to you before work begins and available directly once your feedback has been delivered.

You can request to work with a particular editor or let us suggest the best match for your work. All our services do include a session of follow-up phone or email consultation with your editor at no additional charge. If you want to continue working closely with your editor as your manuscript progresses, we offer an affordable manuscript consultation service. This is particularly helpful if your manuscript is a work in progress and you want ongoing feedback as you write and edit. With consultation, you can enjoy the expert guidance of an editor who is familiar with your work and writing style.

I’m just a beginner who needs some feedback. Can you help?2020-06-22T21:09:01+00:00

Certainly. If you’re an absolute novice, we recommend checking out our book, Self Editing for Fiction Writers, to educate yourself on some important points of style, mechanics, and storytelling craft. If your work is ready to share with others, a great starting point is our introductory critique. At $75 it’s our most affordable service, and the feedback can help guide your writing on the rest of the manuscript. If you want feedback on an entire project, some form of full manuscript critique is the way to go. For general feedback and ongoing dialogue with an editor about your manuscript’s direction, you might want to consider manuscript consultation. This is best for works in progress, or times when you have a great idea, but can’t quite figure out where to begin (or continue) writing.

At the very least we can evaluate what is and is not working with your manuscript and give you some honest feedback as to whether or not it’s worth continuing with the effort. If the manuscript does show promise, there’s lots of help we can provide to bring out your project’s full potential.

What if I disagree with your evaluation of my work?2020-06-21T15:39:25+00:00

It’s remarkable how seldom we encounter significant disagreement between author and editor. We always try to put our criticisms and suggestions in context and support them with specific examples. An author is of course under no obligation to follow a suggestion or to accept any criticism we make. We’re generous with our suggestions, careful to separate problem and solution, and we’re always open to discussion. Usually, a quick call or email with your editor is all it takes to sort out any concerns or issues where you see things differently.

In the unlikely event of a major disagreement or issue, the best thing to do is contact Ross Browne Tucson office so he can discuss your concerns with you and take appropriate action.

Our goal is to exceed expectations at every turn and you can read more about our commitment to highly personalized client services here.

What, exactly, should I expect from your initial review of my work?2020-06-22T21:12:41+00:00

Our process usually begins with an editor experienced in your genre reading your manuscript to get a sense of what you’re trying to do and giving you detailed feedback as to how successful you’ve been in accomplishing it. The primary focus at this stage is your manuscript’s specific strengths and weaknesses, where it currently stands in the context of your goals for it, and its overall chances of being successfully published, either traditionally or independently.

Recommendations can range from a few suggestions to make an excellent book irresistible to major structural or stylistic changes for helping a good idea work better. If your manuscript’s weaknesses significantly limit the likelihood of its evolution into something with a reasonable chance of being published, our feedback will address the problems in further detail and suggest how you might go about rethinking the whole project. More often, recommendations include coaching in a specific area such as writing dialogue, improving characterization, general structural or stylistic changes to strengthen voice. Your editor will comment on any specific recommendations in the initial feedback, which can then be discussed further in the follow-up phone consultation that’s included in the price of all our critique services.

Does your editorial feedback address style only, or structure and content as well?2020-06-20T22:54:32+00:00

All three. Our initial analysis of a work—usually via a manuscript critique service—offers an in-depth look at all the fundamentals of an effective manuscript. (For fiction: plot, characterization, suspense, writing mechanics, dialogue, verisimilitude, scene crafting, and so on. For nonfiction: organization, clarity, target market, quality of presentation.) In cases where we take a project on for further work, we generally suggest dealing with challenges relating to content first, because there’s no sense to editing style or prose when the content is likely to change.


Can The Editorial Department help me find a literary agent for my work?2020-06-22T21:13:49+00:00

Yes. Once a manuscript reaches a point where we can be confident in its chances of attracting a publisher, we do offer assistance in finding literary representation. More information is available on our Traditional Publishing Support page.

How long does it take to get my feedback?2020-06-20T22:50:32+00:00

This varies based on manuscript length, the editor you’re working with, and the service you’re engaging. Most manuscripts ranging between 55,000 and 110,00 words require between 3-6 weeks for evaluative feedback or editing. More information is available on our  Payment Policies & Turnaround Times page.

Rush service is available for an additional fee in some cases.

What is the total cost likely to run for having a manuscript edited to completion?2020-06-21T15:48:00+00:00

We can say what individual services cost, but it’s impossible to generalize sight unseen about what combination of services will be needed for your particular manuscript or screenplay.

Some projects may be only a draft away from completion; others may have even more potential but need considerably more work. One function of our Manuscript Critique services is to assess the cost, extent, and nature of the work that will serve your manuscript best. Once we’ve read your manuscript and discussed it with you, we’ll have a much better sense of the appropriate editorial and revision course, how long it will take, and what it will cost.

That said we are committed to full transparency in pricing and making sure you know exactly what to expect from any editorial step you might engage.  For more information, please visits our Prices and Services homepage or contact Ross Browne in the Tucson office.

I’d like to submit a manuscript. What are your submission and formatting guidelines?2020-06-21T15:49:42+00:00


  • Double line-spacing
  • 12-point font size
  • Courier, Times New Roman, or Arial font
  • Default margin settings, or a minimum of 1.25″
  • Page numbers included, particularly for book-length works
  • .doc, .docx, .rtf  file format. PDF is fine too.
  • Submitted as a single document rather than multiple chapters or chunks

Getting your file to us

Upload via our website preferred. via our online author questionnaire.  Question welcome to Ross Browne at the Tucson Office.

What kind of writer is The Editorial Department best positioned to help?2020-06-22T21:24:03+00:00

While many of our editing and consultation services were originally developed with the experienced writer and the effort to publish traditionally in mind, we also welcome the opportunity to work with authors who are new to their craft, who want to self publish to a very high standard of quality, or who need help bringing a book idea to fruition. If you’d like to tell us a little more about your situation and have us recommend an approach, we invite you to take our new client questionnaire. Otherwise, you can read on to learn more about some of the situations and circumstances we’re best suited to help with.

For writers of all genres wanting to make sure their manuscript is ready for primetime

One of the most common mistakes many authors make is sending out queries and submissions before a manuscript is actually ready for the discriminating eye of agents and publishers. We can read your manuscript and provide candid, insightful feedback on how well or poorly your manuscript or submissions packet is likely to be received and what can be done to improve the odds of a warm reception. Please see our traditional publishing support page for more information. We have been in business for 39 years and have been recommended by Preditors & Editors, a literary watchdog group, so you can rest assured that we’re legitimate and sincere.

For fiction authors new to the editorial process

We can read your draft and give you candid, constructive criticism and direction as to what’s working and what’s not. (For more information, please visit our manuscript critique page.)  We can coach you in any areas of craft you need to develop and teach you how to find and refine your own voice. We can teach you how to edit yourself so that your job and ours are both easier. We can give you an honest assessment of how close or far you are from having a marketable, publishable book and tell you what steps you need to take to get it there. In short, we can help you make your first manuscript the best it can be and in the process teach you about yourself as an author and about the craft of writing. Then, if we think your book has a good chance of getting published we can help you find a literary agent.

For experts in a particular field with a book idea but no writing background

We can help you create an outline, define exactly what you want to say and how to structure it, and draft a stellar book proposal. We can teach you how to market the book and yourself to agents and publishers. We can coach you to help you find your writing voice, because even in nonfiction voice counts a great deal. Or, if you prefer, we can collaborate on or ghostwrite the text of your story and let you provide the facts.

For published authors looking to take their writing career to the next level

We can help you continue a series, develop new arcs for your characters, maintain the voice and pace that made your published book successful–in other words, we can help you stay out of the dreaded “sophomore slump.” We can also help you find a literary agent if you’re not already under contract via our traditional publishing support services.

For writers in mid-manuscript who’re struggling with what direction to take a story

We can help you develop a developmental outline that creates a full, fleshed-out plot and a strong arc for each of your characters, figure out where you’re getting stuck, and help you get past it.

For book authors looking to adapt their work into screenplay format

We have two professional screenwriters on staff with adaptation experience.  More information about adaptation work and how we can help is available here.

For screenwriters

TED offers a variety of services ranging from short critiques and script evaluations to full-blown development and novelizations. Visit our Screenplays & Screenplay Adaptations page for full details.

These are just a few of the situations we’re prepared to help with. If you have questions about other services or want to discuss your needs further, just contact Ross Browne in the Tucson office and we’ll be happy to explore options with you.

How do you assign editors and can I pick my own?2020-06-21T15:52:48+00:00

We take the process of manuscript assignment seriously at TED.  We have a diverse staff of editors with a wide range of tastes, specialties, and areas of expertise. While there’s no surefire way to know we have a good author/editor match until we get into the process, there are several considerations that influence the assignment process, including:

  • your book’s genre, category, and /or subject matter
  • setting
  • target audience and age group
  • writing style and voice
  • whether the work leans more literary, commercial, or experimental
  • whether your goal is to publish traditionally or independently
  • your timeline and turnaround-time needs
  • nature of work needed

The more information we have up front, the better the match we can make between editor and author, so feel free to tell us whatever you feel we need to know to best serve you. We highly recommend new clients visit our online author questionnaire to help us assign your manuscript properly.

All assigning is handled personally by Ross Browne with careful attention to the above considerations. Requests for specific editors are always welcome and honored wherever possible.

Questions about the assigning process? Please contact Ross at the Tucson Office.

What topics are covered by a manuscript critique?2020-06-21T15:53:01+00:00

Overall literary and commercial potential with attention to any relevant points of craft. For fiction this includes plotting, structure, pacing, characterization, dialogue, writing style, mechanics, grammar, and punctuation. For nonfiction key considerations include content, organization, structure, clarity, flow, suitability for intended readership, writing style, mechanics, grammar, and punctuation.

What happens if my manuscript isn’t any good?2020-06-21T15:55:07+00:00

Our policy for nearly 40 years now has been to stand by a firm commitment to candor and always tell our authors the truth, even if that means discouraging more work with The Editorial Department. While it’s our job to consider your manuscript through the lens of its potential, we will always let you know (in as constructive a way as possible) when a manuscript seems hopeless or if your publishing goals are unrealistic.

For more information about how we handle critiques for manuscripts in very poor condition, please check out Candor, Tough Love, and the Delicate Art of the Bounce. 

What is is the difference between developmental editing and line or copy editing?2020-06-21T15:57:35+00:00

Developmental editing is typically focused on the content, premise, structure, and story of a manuscript rather than its wording. There is a good deal of editorial feedback given, but it is usually more conceptual in nature and focused on helping you first identify the best goals and priorities to maximize a work’s potential and then to support the revision effort at the highest level possible.

Line and copy editing is focused almost exclusively on your prose style, narrative voice, and then finer details of grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and in many cases conformity to a specific style guide such as The Chicago Manual of Style.

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