Editing and Book Whispering

Do you need help to find your novel’s sparkle? Have you got a first draft that needs a fresh pair of eyes? Or a novel that needs a final spruce before submission?

What is book whispering?

My ‘book whispering’ service will help you understand the story you’re telling and develop it to the point where you’re ready to submit or indie publish.  Lots of people call this a book doctor service but your book’s not sick, it just needs a bit of help to really shine.

Seeing the wood for the trees

Let’s be honest, writing a novel is hard work. It’s also lonely work because only we know the story we’re trying to tell and the characters who inhabit it. It’s not surprising that we get to the point where we can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s at this point, when you know the manuscript isn’t working but can’t figure out what the problem is, that it can be really helpful to get some advice.

As a book whisperer, it is my job to help you understand what the problem is and what you can do to sort it out. Because I’m objective, I can see the key building blocks that make up your story and figure out which ones are not working hard enough. When I write my report on your manuscript, I’ll not only make sure that you understand what needs sorting out and why but I’ll also provide ideas on how you might make these changes which will take your manuscript to the next level.

Experience

I have worked one-to-one with writers at all stages of their careers, from beginners to Amazon best-selling authors. I’ve been a reader for the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme which provides critiques for early-stage authors. Through my teaching experience, I’ve developed skills in giving positive, honest and constructive feedback and building confidence.

As I’m a writer myself I understand that receiving feedback can be challenging. We can get very attached to our own work and not want to hear that there are things which could be improved. Don’t worry, I understand that. I’ve been there and faced that struggle. I’m very good at listening to both you and your writing. I don’t want to impose my ideas on your book. My role is to take the work you’ve already got and help you to make it the best it can be.

What I offer

Writers need different levels of support at different stages of their careers. These are my most popular packages, but I’m also happy to create something which suits your needs better.

Manuscript Assessment – I will read your manuscript, annotate it with comments and points for development and write a report covering key areas including story structure, character development, conflict, pace, setting, dialogue and craft issues (e.g. showing not telling). Please note that the assessment is not a copy edit or a proofread and although I’ll flag issues that I spot, you’ll need a separate copy edit and proofread if you’re planning to indie publish.

Follow up session – in person or Zoom session(s) to discuss your manuscript. I recommend these as an addition to the manuscript assessment as it gives you an opportunity to discuss the changes I’ve suggested and make sure you feel ready for the next stages of the editing process.

If we’ve not worked together before, I’ll ask you to send me three chapters from your manuscript so that I can get a feel for your work. It may be that I’m not the best person to do the assessment for you or that you need additional skills that I don’t offer. It’s really important that we both understand what’s involved and how long it’s likely to take before we start working together.

What my happy clients say…

Working with Alex has led to some real revelations

“Alex gave my historical novel so much constructive feedback and encouragement. She pinpointed its Unique Selling Point, highlighted areas that needed some tidying up and made some suggestions on larger themes to work on. I’d been struggling with my lead character’s story arc but I felt a lot clearer about this having talked with Alex.

Writers are a sensitive bunch, but being one herself means Alex is highly respectful of what currently exists. Having an informed fresh pair of eyes look at my work has led to some real revelations. I highly recommend Alex’s ‘book whispering’. Thanks for being such a cheerleader, Alex!”  H.J. Reynolds, historical fiction author.

Alex has an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of the story

“Alex can recognise what a story is really about, what needs to be said to support the themes and what can safely be cut away. She has worked with me on all my longer books, and I’ve always been impressed by the way she seems to see things that I’ve missed, despite living with the story for months.

I would definitely recommend Alex if you’re struggling with story structure in any way. She doesn’t just say something is wrong; she explains why she feels it’s not quite working and collaborates with you to reach a solution. She always gives me the impression that my book matters to her and that she wants it to be the best it can be. I’m so grateful to her for all her help and look forward to working with her on future books.” Sharon Booth, romantic comedy and contemporary romance author. 

Alex’s advice made all the difference to me at a really important stage of my writing career.

“I was so deep into my first novel when I sent it to Alex, that I couldn’t see the problems in the story or any of the holes in the plot; I was just too close to it. Alex was really honest in her appraisal of what needed to change to make it a better book, but equally as encouraging about just how good it could become with some more work. I felt enthused by the changes she suggested and it definitely became a better book as a result. Having an expert who can look at your book objectively, rather than relying on beta-reading by well-meaning friends, is invaluable in my opinion. Alex is a novelist herself, writing across several genres and sub-genres, so she knows just how challenging the process of writing a book is and the sort of hook readers and commissioning editors are looking for from a really good story. It made all the difference to me at a really important stage of my writing career and I can’t recommend ‘Alex’s Book Whispering Services’ highly enough.” Jo Bartlett, Amazon best-selling author.

How much does it cost?

The costs for a manuscript assessment start at £5 per 1,000 words depending on the amount of work involved. Once I’ve received your sample chapters I’ll provide you with a written quote for the work and an indication of how long it will take. If you’re happy with that, I’ll ask you to send over your full manuscript so that I can start working on it.

Follow up sessions are £30 for a forty-five-minute session.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more or want more information please drop me a line at greenmanwords@gmail.com.