I strongly encourage those who are interested in exploring the possibility of working with me to take advantage of my offer to do a trial editorial & marketing assessment of 2000 words of your work for the nominal fee of $180. (These should be the first 2000 words if there is a completed manuscript).

 

This sample feedback will provide you with a much clearer understanding of the depth of my insights into the writing and marketing strengths and weaknesses of your work; as well as a greater appreciation of my professional approach, and communication style.   

 

Should this 2000 word sample review lead to a commitment to an overall developmental edit; and/or marketing assessment; and/or book coaching contract, the $180 fee for the trial feedback will be deducted from the larger contractual fee. 

In your email request for the 2000 word trial critique, please include a short paragraph overview--or synopsis-- of your project; the word count of the completed manuscript or material to date; and note one or more successful books to which you would compare the market/readership of your work.  The 2000 word excerpt should be in the body of your email.   

Please Note:   Book industry protocol when making multiple queries to literary agents simultaneously is to fully disclose that fact in your initial approach to each literary agent.  I ask that the same courtesy be extended to me if you are seeking trial reviews from other editorial professionals, and, if so, how many.   Full-disclosure of multiple editorial reviews, will allow me to budget my time accordingly.   If my sample editorial and marketing critique is the only one under consideration, I will spend more time on the material than I would if you are seeking feedback from a number of editors concurrently.   My time, like yours, is extremely valuable, and my first priority is to give my full attention to the work of writers who have already made a commitment to my expertise.

 

In addition to my long tenure and success in acquisitions, acquiring and publishing over 125 fiction and non-fiction hardcovers as a Senior Editor at Picador USA/St. Martins Press, I spent over ten years in in book publicity and marketing: five years at Houghton Mifflin, Co.; and five years at St. Martins....first, as SMP's Associate Director of Publicity, and then, as the Publicity Director of Picador USA.  My unique publishing background in both marketing and acquisitions affords me extraordinary insights and perspectives on both the content and the marketability of a writer's work.  

The uncompromising standards of excellence required for a book's ultimate success in a fiercely competitive market are exactly the same, whether a writer is self-publishing or seeking traditional publication.  Even if writers choose not to run the often humiliating gauntlet of literary agent queries and rejections, and, instead launch their self-published books into the anonymous tsunami of hundreds of newly released titles on Amazon any given day, presumably, their ultimate goal remains identical to that of the mainstream publisher: to sell thousands of copies to besotted book buyers.

 

I am surprised and confused by the large number of writers who have told me that they are considering self-publication because it is "easier" than engaging in the agonizing, and often futile, process of finding literary representation.  Well, that's true. But, self-publishing also makes it much "easier" for a writer to turn his or her flawed manuscript into a flawed book; and much "easier" to guarantee that the total sales of that flawed book will be limited to an intimate circle of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.  

                                                                                             

Those who are just beginning a manuscript, or those who are recognizing that they must take new and more marketable directions on an existing project, will benefit most from my immense experience and expertise as a one-on-one writing/publishing coach. Before I could provide details and time estimates as to the sort of book coaching that would be required to take a revised version of the project in new, exciting, and more marketable directions, I would need to do an initial marketing/editorial review of all of the writer's original material (cf. word-count-based fee schedule on the "Financial Commitment" page of this website).

If your writing project is still in its infancy, please send me a page or two about the book idea and its inspiration.  Many writers spend years working on a manuscript, oblivious to the marketing attributes and angles needed to mesmerize scores of readers and book buyers, whether self-published or traditionally published.  I cannot stress enough how rewarding it is if the writer and I are afforded the opportunity to work closely on a book--or a significant revision of it--from the very beginning. 

 

Turn around time on the 2000 word sample review is a week to ten days.

                                                                                                          Important Note:  

My 2000 word sample marketing and editorial review is tailored for those who are seriously exploring the possibility of working with me in the future.   However...if you look over my fee schedule on the "financial commitment" page and can see that your budget will not accommodate my expertise on your entire project--and yet you are still curious as to what publishing and editorial insights I can offer on your work--- just be upfront and honest with me about your financial situation.  I will gladly give you my professional assessment of your 2000 words (for the same $180 fee), but I will allocate my time accordingly.  If the sample critique is a one-off, I will spend two+ hours on it; if the review might be opening the door to a bigger contract, I will spend at least twice that amount of time on it. 

 

UPDATE: 

In the months since I posted the "Important Note", above, I have done many sample reviews that have turned into truly exciting projects for both me and the writer.

And…. I have spent countless hours on other sample reviews that went nowhere, because the writers did not mention in their initial emails that they had very real budgetary constraints that would make future commitments to my expertise unlikely, if not impossible.  These financial limitations were revealed to me only after I had completed the exhaustive sample critiques.

I can understand the urge writers might feel to “fudge” a little in their initial approaches to me, because I have made it clear that I will spend four or more hours on a sample critique that might lead to future work; and two hours on a sample critique that won’t.  However, writers who try to get "extra" time and expertise from me in the trial review by neglecting to disclose budgetary realities that would prohibit committing to my future guidance on their whole project, are are taking wanton advantage of my personal and professional largess.

Please be honest with me (and yourself) when requesting a sample critique.  My two hour review will be eye-opening and inspiring; the four-hour review will be twice as illuminating.  However, implying that you can afford my professional expertise and insights in a future collaboration in order to get the longer trial critique—when a future collaboration is highly unrealistic---is bad mojo.

Let’s keep our sacred places in the book world clean and kind.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Preferred method of fee payment: 

a no-fee Zelle transfer through your bank's mobile app.

Zelle Account: 

dianehiggins.lit@icloud.com 

If your bank does not have Zelle, please contact me for alternative methods.

(Please note: I am not set-up for credit card payments).