Editorial Consultations Available

First, Some Background
After more than a decade as a freelance writer, book reviewer, and editor, I took a job in March 2014 as an acquiring editor for a newly launched publishing company called Regan Arts. By the end of my first week there, I’d acquired a futuristic noir thriller by Lev AC Rosen called Depth. That novel went on to earn a Shamus nomination for Best First Private Eye novel.

“Ron is an amazing editor—not only did he get the vision of my novel and take a chance on it, but as he made suggestions, they were all in keeping with the book—he didn’t try to change anything, but only genuinely improve it. And his insights and skills did just that. Additionally, he was a real pleasure to work with—funny, kind, responsive, and able to explain exactly where he was coming from. He took more than one bullet for me in the whole editorial process, too—a real defender and promoter of the work. Everything you want in an editor.” —Lev AC Rosen

Over the two years I spent in that position, I went on to acquire, edit, and publish several more great books, including Beth Hahn’s The Singing Bone, Lisa Glatt’s The Nakeds, Karolina Waclawiak’s The Invaders (a finalist in the 2016 Tournament of Books), Kermit Roosevelt’s Allegiance (a finalist for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction), and Steve Fiffer and Adar Cohen’s Jimmie Lee and James (a finalist for the Wheatley Book Award for Nonfiction).

Each of those books is as great as it is because the writers were phenomenal to begin with; my role was to approach their work with a strong sense of literary voice and narrative clarity, interrogating the authors and helping them zero in on the story that they want to tell. I’ve worked on a wide variety of genres, from literary women’s fiction to historical legal thrillers, from psychological suspense to upmarket urban fantasy, from civil rights history to pop psychology—if you’ve got a story to tell, chances are I can help you bring your manuscript to a point where agents and editors are more likely to take notice.

“Never in my work with Ron did he say something was good or bad. His comments focused, rather, on whether the words on the page were the best ones possible. And he was fair, not only, to me, but to my characters, including a late arrival who needed to arrive much earlier—on the first page, in fact.

It’s the writer’s job to create a fictional world and to imagine what happened then and then and then. It’s the editor’s job to say, yes, well, that’s all very nice, but reading your novel is like watching a train go by. What if we re-arrange things? Ron did that, and that’s exactly what I needed him to do.”—Robert Oldshue, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award

The First 50 Pages
This is the simplest form of editorial consulting I provide. It’s very straightforward: You show me the first fifty or so pages* of your short stories, novel manuscript, or nonfiction proposal; I’ll look it over, and then we’ll schedule a fifty-minute conversation to address some of the major issues you’ll need to address as you continue to write, and ideally hit upon some solutions. This consultation is available for $200, with a deposit of $75. Email me to discuss your first fifty pages.
*That’s double-spaced pages, so approximately 12,500 words, give or take.

“It was both a pleasure and an honor to work with Ron. He identified sections in The Singing Bone that distracted or slowed the narrative pace. He read carefully and asked questions about intent before offering critique. He considered what I was reaching for, and we weighed alternatives together before making changes. Whenever we had one of these exchanges about a passage or a plot point, I returned to my work with excitement—with a sense of achievable clarity and elegance.

I never felt that the edits were a chore or that I was making changes that harmed the book—just the opposite—and if I had a question, Ron was always thoughtful and approachable. As well as an editor and a writer, Ron is a diverse reader, and I am impressed by his ability to think across genre and around it rather than to approach a book with preconceived notions of what a story should and should not do. He understands that each writer’s work operates by its own set of rules and principles and does not try to impose a structure that would hinder rather than help. He helped me to become a better writer, and I earnestly, happily, and easily recommend him as an editor to any writer who would like to present his or her best work to the world.” —Beth Hahn

Full Manuscript Read
I’ll read your manuscript (fiction or narrative nonfiction) and give you a detailed editorial critique letter, identifying key issues that you’ll need to address in your next draft—things like plausibility, consistent characterization, plot coherence, and the consistency of your narrative voice. We can also go over those issues during a follow-up phone call. (Note: For nonfiction projects, unless I spot an obvious error, I’m not fact-checking; I assume you know your subject, and my goal is to establish whether you’re writing about it clearly.)

For manuscripts up to 60,000 words in length, this consultation is available for $500, with a deposit of $250. For longer manuscripts, up to 90,000 words, this consultation is available for $750, with a deposit of $375. Rates for longer manuscripts are flexible. Email me to discuss your manuscript.

Advanced Developmental Editing
If you want more intense editing, I can give your fiction or nonfiction manuscript detailed, page-by-page analysis, including questions intended to help you strengthen individual storytelling points, structural notes, and suggested line revisions when appropriate, along with the editorial letter you’d get from a basic full manuscript read—or, if you prefer, we can cover the big issues in a follow-up phone call. (The same disclaimer for nonfiction work applies as before.) Email me to discuss a developmental edit and discuss the pricing based on the scope of your manuscript.

(NOTE: I don’t want to say I can’t fit this type of project into my current schedule, but be aware that while I used to be able to return your manuscript in one month, it would take substantially longer now, or be spread out over monthly installments.)

What If You Don’t Have a Manuscript?
Let’s say you’ve got a story idea, but you haven’t been able to sit down and start writing it yet. Maybe there’s some aspects to the story you’re worried about, maybe you want to write, but you’re not sure where to begin, or afraid you’ll never have enough time. I can jump on the phone with you and listen as you describe what it is you’d like to accomplish with your writing, then offer some advice that should help you find a way forward. Whether it’s talking you through some tricky plot points, discussing how to address sensitive subject matter, or giving you an informal deadline to hit a target word count, I’m here to get you writing. This one-hour consultation is available for $200, with a deposit of $75. Email me to discuss your dream project.

Nonfiction Proposal Writing
A solid book proposal is a key element in pitching any nonfiction book project to agents and editors. I’ll work with you to find the compelling story in what you want to say about your subject, why you’re the person to write that book, and what you bring to the field that previous authors haven’t. Email me to discuss your nonfiction proposal and discuss pricing based on the scope of your project.

I can’t guarantee that you’ll end up with a book that will earn you a nomination for a literary prize, of course—but you should come away from our consultation with stronger confidence as you approach the revision process and begin submitting your work to agents or editors. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!