I started as a freelance developmental editor in January 2019. In the beginning, I exclusively provided written manuscript evaluations and query letter critiques, but since then my work has expanded to include comprehensive, in-document developmental editing and my popular query package, which comes with a combination critique/edit of your query letter and plot synopsis, along with a written evaluation of your opening pages. I’ve helped many querying authors increase their rates of full manuscript requests, some of whom have gone on to sign with literary agents and acquire books deals with both small and major publishers. I love what I do and I hope to continue assisting authors on their journey to publication.
If you’re interested in working with me, take a look at my services below, where you’ll find the details about what you get and how much it costs, but first I think it’s best if I give you an idea of what to expect on a stylistic and—dare I say—philosophical level.
My Editing Philosophy
I believe there are two ways to write a book: with either your conscious or unconscious mind at the wheel. And I believe our best work as writers emerges from the latter. Now before I lose you, note that this applies to pantsers and plotters. Even if you outline your book from start to finish, there’s still a lot of path-cutting between Plot Point A and Plot Point B. And if you’re not getting lost in the story as you write it—if you’re not becoming immersed in your own world, if the words aren’t pouring out of you as though you’re just a conduit through which ideas flow from out of nowhere—then your book probably isn’t anywhere close to ready. It’s most likely going to lack voice. It’s most likely going to be stilted. It’s most likely going to feel stitched together. And it’s most likely not going to flow.
But if you wrote your book with unbridled passion—whether you started fresh from a blank page every day or covered your walls in sticky notes and crisscrossed lines of yarn—then you’re the writer I want to work with the most. I believe the unconscious mind knows how to tell a story, and when you trust it, it will give you most pieces of the puzzle. Revision is the conscious mind’s effort to make sure all those pieces are in the right place—and that none of them are missing. But sometimes you, as the creative mind, get so lost in your own story that—if you’ll pardon the cliché—you can’t see the forest for the trees, and you need an analytical mind to show you what parts of your vision are incomplete.
This is where I come in.
It often happens when I’m reading a manuscript that I have what I can only describe as a revelatory experience about some crucial missing piece in the story. Sometimes it’s the tiniest thing. Other times my recommendation amounts to an overhaul. Yet it’s always something that feels like it was meant to happen. When this occurs and I deliver my notes to the author, they invariably express that I’ve provided them with a thought or idea that was on the tip of their tongue. It tends to invigorate and inspire them. It tends to leave them feeling confident about taking their story out into the querying trenches or the self-publishing sphere. When the feedback makes perfect sense, when it feels right, when it aligns with your vision, when it’s tantamount to solving a math equation your unconscious mind created for you—when this happens, you can feel it, and I can feel it, and it’s a glorious day with clear skies in the forecast.
Of course, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a book has fundamental problems. If your book has major issues, I’m going to express major concerns: plot holes, inconsistencies, improper pacing, one-dimensional characters, or a general lack of cohesion, voice, flow, and readability. I’m going to give you advice on how to go about rewriting the book altogether—and sometimes encourage you to move on and start fresh with a new project.
But my hope is that I read your book and get excited, that when I deliver my feedback I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for you to respond, knowing this is one of those times when you’re going to come back with, “YES! This is what I’ve been trying to figure out!” It’s magical when that happens, and it often means you’re close to reaching the next level with your goals.
Please note that, despite my general enthusiasm, I cannot and will not make you any promises. Publishing is a moody, flaky, trend-chasing, shareholder-pleasing, frequently consolidating, frequently evolving business. I love the publishing industry, but it’s a high-maintenance date who often shows up late and forgets to answer your texts.
If I haven’t scared you away, have a look at the specific services I offer, what comes with them, and how much they cost. I charge by the word, not by the hour, so you can easily calculate exactly what you’ll be paying. For anything under $100, I usually charge the full amount upon booking. For larger projects, I charge half up front with the rest due upon delivery of the critique and/or edited documents. For all services I am available for follow-up questions, feedback clarification, consultation, strategy, cheerleading, venting—pretty much anything except marital advice and murder-for-hire. I prefer email for all communication because as writers we live in a world of words, and advice given verbally is advice easily forgotten.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’m telephone-shy. Just ask my mom.
$5 per 1,000 words (or 0.005 per word)
My manuscript critiques come in two parts: chapter by chapter commentary as I read along followed by editorial notes that address big picture concerns like character development, plot, pacing, structure, voice, genre appropriateness, subtext, etc. The result is typically 1-2 pages of feedback per 10,000 words. I am open to full and partial manuscripts of any length, though there is a $20 minimum charge.
$12 per 1,000 words (or 0.012 per word)
This is a much more in depth version of a manuscript critique and the one I recommend the most. Instead of providing written commentary in an editorial letter, I will annotate the document itself, focusing on issues as small as a single line of dialogue that I believe is out of character all the way to general feedback on an entire chapter or subplot. With this option, I’m able to take a magnifying glass to your story and assess on multiple levels of analysis. The developmental edit also comes with a 1-3 page editorial letter discussing the big picture. And I usually include a bit of line editing throughout the manuscript with a focus on clarity, flow, and consistency of voice. (Any line editing or typo correction will not serve as a full copy edit or proofread and is only done as a courtesy to help clean up the manuscript.)
$50 + $5 per 1,000 words of your opening pages
The query package includes in-document edit suggestions and feedback inserted as comments using track changes for your query letter and plot synopsis, along with a written critique of your opening pages, with the goal of refining your submission materials before you send them off to literary agents.
Query Letter Critique
For a query letter critique, I will provide in-document edit suggestions and feedback inserted as comments using track changes, with the goal of helping you maximize the potential for a literary agent to take a closer look at your work.
Other Editing Services
I am open to working out a customized service if you need help writing a query letter, writing a synopsis, outlining a new project, writing pitches for a Twitter pitch event, etc. Get in touch using the contact form below to discuss!
“After eighteen months of fruitless querying, I enlisted the help of Tory Hunter to do a full manuscript critique, along with synopsis. As a result of her suggestions, I received a revise and resubmit request from an agent. Tory worked with me to address the agent’s concerns, and two weeks later I had an offer of representation on my cozy mystery series, which I happily accepted.” — Kate Jackson [Twitter | Website]
“Think of Tory Hunter as the Manuscript Whisperer. Bring her your tangled, troubled prose and she’ll cure what ails it. Or come to her for an editorial overview and she’ll analyze your work with honesty, intelligence, and compassion. I was pleased beyond all expectations with the work she did for me. Worth every penny!” — J.J. Blacklocke, author of REFUGE: Tradepoint Saga Book One (Aethon Books) [Twitter | Website]
“Working with Tory on my historical adventure novel has been both inspiring and enlightening. The comprehensive editorial assessment she performed identified character development issues, plot weaknesses, and continuity errors I otherwise would have missed. She does good work at a fair price.”—Benjamin J. Gohs, historical fiction
“Tory’s critique was insightful and on-point, and she gave me encouragement that renewed my enthusiasm and love for my upmarket women’s fiction novel. I attacked her points and the MS was made infinitely stronger, and resulted in multiple MS requests from agents, a few of which are still outstanding. So when I finished my next project, upmarket contemporary with elements of suspense (and real ghost-hunting), I knew immediately that I wanted a critique from Tory. Once again, she gave me fantastic feedback, including ideas for fleshing out the parts I knew could be further developed. The result is a MS that I feel confident querying, and hope for success that I wouldn’t have had without her help. Can’t recommend her enough!”—Angela Hoke, author of Missing Pictures [Twitter] [Website]
Book a Service
Use the contact form below to inquire about one or more of my services. I’m happy to answer your questions and I look forward to working with you!