The Book Guru
Make Your Book Project as Strong & Marketable as it can be with the close one-on-one Expertise of an accomplished New York Book Publishing Professional
Diane Sheya Higgins
Writing & Publishing Coach
Developmental Book Editor Writer/Ghostwriter
My strongest credentials for coaching emerging writers are not the 125 books I have acquired and published, but the thousands of submissions that I had to reject (the vast majority of which had literary representation).
The chances are excellent that no matter how strong your fiction or non-fiction manuscript is at this point, it is not yet one of the very small number of submissions that will snag literary representation and traditional publication; or earn a popular following, and sell thousands of copies, as a self-published book.
Making your work and writing voice powerful enough to win-over thousands of book buyers is a momentous challenge. However, if you are ready to embark upon that rigorous climb, there will be light at the top of the mountain.
When it comes to the writing journey, getting on the right path is much more important than taking a flower-lined trail—alone or with an inexperienced guide—to the place of false-promises.
"Writer beware!" If you are considering using the "
developmental editing" services of a "professional editor" who has no experience acquiring (and rejecting) thousands of queries and manuscript submissions---as a literary agent or as acquisitions editor at a mainstream book publishing company---put away your checkbook, and run the other way.
Marketing & Editorial Critique:
In a comprehensive marketing and editorial critique of a non-fiction non-fiction or fiction manuscript (or partial manuscript)---or a non-fiction proposal---I will share my observations of the weaknesses and strengths of the language and content of the current book and its real chances of reaching a targeted readership and book buying market.
Determining the sales worthiness of a book involves assessing the precision and mastery of the language and descriptive prose; the freshness and resonance of the narrative voice; the general interest level of the non-fiction topic---or the strength of the dramatic narrative and characterizations in fiction.
In the marketing and editorial review, I will make page-by-page notations, pointing out: weak, vague, or incorrect vocabulary choices; obvious grammatical mistakes; disjointed narrative flow; underdeveloped characterizations; the lack of depth, resonance, and credibility in the narrative voice; as well as, the need to add more precise and "visually rich" descriptive details to particular chapters or sections. I am not a copy-editor, so the marketing and editorial assessment does not involve a comprehensive line-by-line correction of grammar, punctuation, etc..
The primary objective of the overall marketing and editorial review is to highlight the most critical areas for the writer to address in a revised or rewritten manuscript so as to increase the chances that his or her book will be "discovered" by readers if self-published; or by literary agents, if seeking mainstream publication.
Word-count-based fees for a 'marketing/editorial assessment' & 'developmental edit' of an entire or partial manuscript; proposal; essay; short story; or sample writing:
100 - 499 words: $ 500
500 - 999 words: $ 800
1000 - 2999 words: $ 2000
3000 - 4999 words: $ 2500
5000 - 7999 words: $ 3000
8000 - 12,999 words: $ 3500
13,000 - 19,999 words: $ 4000
20,000 - 31,999 words: $ 4500
32,000 - 44,999 words: $ 5000
45,000 - 57,999 words: $ 5500
58,000 - 70,999 words: $ 6000
71,000 - 83,999 words: $ 6500
84,000 - 96,999 words: $ 7000
97,000 - 109,999 words: $ 7500
110,000 - 119,999 words: $ 8000
120,000 - 129,999 words: $ 8500
130,000 + words $ 9000 + $1.00/word over 131,000
All of my professional work involves a “holistic” process in which I devote countless hours; the only fee model that makes financial sense is a “fixed fee” up front. This way, there are no hourly accruals and all financial matters and concerns are settled and behind us. So...Let the fun begin!
Query Letter Writing/ Review/Rewrite:
The fee for writing an original query letter (or reviewing and rewriting an already-written query letter) is determined on a case by case basis after I have considered the drafts of the current submission material---e.g. the novel synopsis or non-fiction overview---and the entire manuscript, to date.
I strive to practice what I preach and have ghostwritten two books, anonymously: a memoir for a Fortune 500 CEO; and a self-help/inspirational book by a successful life coach. One of my strengths as a writer and ghostwriter is the ability to understand the hearts, minds, souls, and intentions of authors and narrators whose points-of-views and life experiences are very different from my own.
I wrote the memoir from a very rough original draft; and I composed the self-help/inspirational book from telephone and Skype interviews --and from watching the life coach "in action" (there was very little original writing). If you don't have the time or inclination to toil away on the pages of the book you were "called" to write--or you have another sort of writing project that you would like to pass-on (such as composing lively and often witty website copy)--shoot me an email and let's talk!
My Marketing Credentials:
My editorial path at Picador USA/St. Martin's was unique in that I made my way to acquisitions through publicity and marketing. My first publishing job was at Houghton Mifflin Company as an assistant to the Publicity Director, and I eventually became a Publicity Manager. After five years at HMCo, I was offered the Associate Publicity Director’s job at St. Martin’s Press and went on to become Publicity Director of SMP’s literary imprint, Picador USA, where I oversaw publicity and marketing,, as well as, acquired books as a Senior Editor, for both Picador and SMP. I have worn both hats over my many years in book publishing and this background has sharpened my insights into the selling potential and targeted readership of the manuscripts and proposals that come my way.
2000 word Sample review:
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. (these should be the first 2000 words if there is a completed manuscript).
This sample feedback will provide you with an appreciation for the breadth of my language and marketing observations, as well as an understanding of my professional approach, and communication style.
Should this 2000 word sample review lead to a commitment to an overall developmental edit & ; marketing assessment, the $500 trial review fee will be deducted from the larger contractual fee.
Fees for Book Coaching:
After I have done an initial overall marketing/editorial assessment and developmental edit of a manuscript or proposal, a writer may choose to work with me further in a very close one-on-one mentoring relationship in which I would guide him or her in rewriting and re-envisioning the original material---chapter by chapter---in a new manuscript, to make the narrative voice more resonant; the descriptive prose more powerful and, in general, to increase the book's overall quality, marketing viability, and sales potential.
Fees for ongoing book coaching after an initial overall editorial/marketing of the original manuscript are determined on a case by case basis, by considering the projected word-count of the new final manuscript and by my overall assessment of the steepness of the climb ahead.
I have coached a number of writers and books to publishing success, including a novel that sold to Viking for a solid advance; a memoir that received national awards and reviews; and a bestselling self-published series of lifestyle advice books for young professional women, the latest of which has risen to #4 on Amazon's bestseller list of "women/advice/business" books, both as a Kindle book, and as a trade paperback.
U.S. Preferred method of fee payment:
A no-fee Zelle transfer through your bank's mobile app.
My Zelle Account: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact me about alternative fee methods.
Please note: I am not set-up for credit card payments.