My strongest credentials for coaching emerging writers are not the 125 books I 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 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.  

 

My Services

 

Marketing/Editorial Assessment:

This critique consists of an overall review of your manuscript or non-fiction proposal to assess the general editorial and marketing weaknesses (and strengths) in the material: the eloquence, 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 presence of tension and drama in the narrative arc of the novel or memoir); and the real chances of the book, as is, to reach a targeted readership and book-buying market.

 

My objective in this marketing review is to highlight the most important areas for the writer to address in a revised 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.

 

In this marketing/editorial review, I will correct some of the most glaring grammatical mistakes and point out incorrect word usage and weak descriptions on a number of pages to illustrate general weaknesses in the descriptive language, narrative flow, characterizations, and narrative point-of-view and voice, etc.  However, this overall critique will not involve a comprehensive copy-edit or a line-by-line analysis of the descriptive language (cf. the developmental edit, below). 

 

This marketing/editorial assessment will include a separate 800+ word document pointing-out the most problematic descriptive writing and narrative voice issues in the original material and suggesting ways in which the writer could (and should) address these weaknesses in a revised manuscript so as to dramatically improve the sales potential of the final book.

Developmental Edit:  

In addition to receiving an overall editorial/marketing assessment of his or her work, most writers choose to receive a concurrent developmental editorial critique in which I focus on the page-by-page language, pointing-out general stylistic and descriptive prose weaknesses, such as flawed locutions or incorrect word choices; faulty grammar and sentence structure; as well as, more far-reaching content problems, such as 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 and scenes.

I say, "Writer beware!"   if you are considering using the services of a "professional editor" who has no experience acquiring (and rejecting) thousands of queries and manuscript submissions as an acquisitions editor at a mainstream book publishing company, put away your checkbook, and run the other way. 

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   -             999  words:     $    499

1000 -           1999  words:     $    799

2000 -           3999  words:     $    999

4000 -           6999  words:     $  1499

7000 -        11,999  words:     $  1999

12,000 -     16,999  words:     $  2499

17,000 -     24,999  words:     $  2999

25,000 -     49,999  words:     $  3499

50,000 -     75,999  words:     $  3999

76,000 -     99,999  words:     $  4499

100,000 - 119,000  words:     $  4999

120,000 - 129,999  words:     $  5499

130,000 + words                     $  5499 + $500 for each add'l 5000 words

Please Note:  It IS possible for me to do a marketing assessment of any amount of material, without doing a concurrent developmental edit of the material; and it is possible (even preferable) to provide, the two types of professional critiques---  a marketing assessment & a developmental edit--- simultaneously. 

 

However, it IS NOT possible for me to do a 'developmental edit', only, of a manuscript.  It would be a waste of my time and your money for me to do a developmental edit on material that would have been cut or radically revised had I done a marketing assessment on the language, narrative voice, targeted readership, etc. prior to, or concurrent with, the developmental edit.  

 

I leave dubious "stand-alone" developmental edits to the thousands of editorial "experts" out there who lay-out their placards and offer "professional editing services", even though they have never assessed the marketing or publication worthiness of a single manuscript submission; or sat behind a real desk, in a real office, at a real book publishing company, or a real literary agency, in their lives.

 

Fees for a 'marketing assessment', only:

Fees for a marketing assessment/critique of an outline, sample material, or full/partial manuscript or proposal, vary, depending on the number of issues I see in a sample of the original material and the length of material to be assessed; but the general ballpark fee is 75% of the word-count based fees (above) for the combined 'marketing assessment' and 'developmental edit'.

Fee Payment:  

 

All of my work---including an overall comprehensive marketing and editorial critique---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.  

 

Writing/Ghostwriting: 

I am a spirited and competent writer.   I 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 my ability  to understand the hearts, minds, souls, and intentions of authors and narrators whose points-of-views and life experiences might be quite 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 task 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.  After five years at HMCo, I was offered a job at St. Martins and eventually became Publicity Director of Picador USA.  For a number of years I oversaw publicity and marketing, as well as, acquired books, and this background has sharpened my insights into the selling potential and targeted readership of any manuscript or proposal.

 2000 word Sample review:

  $180

 

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 appreciation for the depth of my Writing and marketing insights; as well as a greater appreciation for 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. 

 

 


 

 

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:            dianehiggins.lit@icloud.com

Please contact me about alternative fee methods.

 

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