Self-Editing Primer

A crash course in the best practices of narrative style and writing mechanics, based on your work-in-progress or completed manuscript

The self-editing primer provides an in-depth assessment of your writing style and mechanics, based on the principles of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Editorial Department founder Renni Browne and coauthor Dave King, with extensive notes to coach you toward being a better editor of your own work. Any self-editing points that would strengthen your voice and style are explained at length and illustrated with examples from the manuscript and generous line editing samples.

Your editor will put the first 50 pages of a full manuscript or work-in-progress under the microscope, flagging all examples of problematic or ill-advised mechanics and providing detailed explanations of the best alternative approaches, using examples from your own manuscript. In addition to overall notes, a sample line edit of at least 5 pages will also be included, to demonstrate how to implement the relevant suggestions.

Included in the price is a half-hour of phone or email consultation with the reviewing editor. This session gives you the opportunity to ask questions, clarify, and discuss editor recommendations. Consultation beyond the time included with the self-editing primer, if desired, is available at our standard rate of $75 per hour.

Jocelyn Bailey
Ross Browne
Peter Gelfan
Julie Miller
Shannon Roberts

The price for a self-editing primer is $775.

Turnaround time for a self-editing primer is typically 3–4 weeks.

To request a quote, make a submission, or request more information

Please visit our online welcome center, email us at, or call us at (520) 546-9992.

What happens next?

All inquiries to The Editorial Department will be personally fielded by author services director Ross Browne, who will do the following:

  • confirm receipt of your materials
  • gather any further information needed
  • do a no-cost/no-obligation preliminary review, to get a feel for which editor(s) and service(s) best fit your project’s needs
  • provide a written quote with price and turnaround time for any recommended services
  • answer any questions about recommended options or possible alternatives
  • schedule your project with the assigned editor, if you decide to move forward
  • explain and finalize the appropriate billing arrangements
  • provide a firm delivery date and keep you updated on our progress, as appropriate
  • deliver your feedback or editing to you once it’s ready
  • arrange for follow up with your editor by phone or email, once you have reviewed your feedback and/or editing
  • advise on next steps, and schedule reviews of new drafts if requested

Privacy & Confidentiality

We have utmost respect for our clients’ privacy concerns and will never sell, share, or disseminate your contact information. We will treat all materials supplied to us as confidential.

Formal nondisclosure agreements are not required but are available on request. More info is available here.

“The idea that is proposed, supposed, or speculated about in a fiction may be simple, and idealistic, like the notion in Cinderella that the good and beautiful will triumph. Or it may be profound and unprovable, like the theme in Oedipus Rex that man cannot escape his destiny but may be ennobled in the attempt. Or it may be deliberately paradoxical and offer no guidelines that can be used in life, as in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, where the heroine, in order to adhere to her principles, must follow advice given on principles less sound than her own.”

Janet Burroway