Book Editing

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams, Dilbert

Not everyone wants or needs the same level of editing. And while anyone with a good eye, impeccable spelling, and an excellent grasp of grammar and punctuation rules can copyedit a fiction manuscript, it takes an artist to polish a novel from a rough stone into a fine gem. I am that artist. Through years of practice and a natural talent, I have mastered the art of line editing, and I have a special flair for fiction. Whether your novel needs just a few minor adjustments or a major overhaul, I can help—without changing YOUR unique voice.

Fees (Priced according to the number of words you send me):

surface editing—Sometimes mistakenly called proofreading, this means correcting simple grammatical and spelling errors, plus adding the occasional comment or query for clarification.
• Up to 100,000 words = .01 per word
• 100,001 and over = .015 per word

copyediting—This process includes the above, plus minor sentence revision, vocabulary/tone adjustments, simple sentence or paragraph reorganization.
• Up to 100,000 words = .015 per word
• 100,001 and over = .02 per word

line/substantive editing—This includes all the above, plus major enhancements in tone, organization, and content. Warning: Prima donnas should NOT request this level of editing. These fees are estimates only until I can evaluate the actual manuscript.
• Up to 100,000 words = .02 per word
• 100,001 and over = .03–.05 per word

Manuscript Critique

You finally started working on that novel* you've always wanted to write. Now you're reading through your manuscript and wondering if it's any good—or as good as it can be. Now what?If you just want someone who will tell you what a wonderful job you've done, you can show it to your mom or your best friend from high school.

But if you're serious about your writing, you don't need opinions, you need a critique—an expert evaluation that tells you what works and what doesn't, and some pointers on ways you can improve your book.

If you have a finished book (or a half-finished manuscript and a complete outline or synopsis), I can provide a thorough critique with expert commentary on the elements of style: point of view, voice, plot, character development, pace, tone, diction…and more. Price includes a sample edit of any 5 pages (your choice).

Fee: Priced according to the number of words you send me:
• Up to 50,000 words = .001 per word
• 50,001 to 100,000 = .002 per word
• 100,001 and over = .003 per word

*I critique non-fiction manuscripts, too. Email for a quote.


MAX GORDON probably wrote and illustrated her first story the day she learned to hold a crayon—and she’s been scribbling ever since. After earning a master’s degree in writing and publishing from USC, she worked in publishing, typesetting, marketing, design, and procrastinating, but has never stopped being a writer. She has one son (the light of her life) and a partner (the soundtrack of her life), and lives contentedly wherever there’s waterfront, WiFi, and great coffee.


Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.

—Sylvia Plath



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Good Words Crafted Well