Editing and Critique
Two recent testimonials (see below for others)
Morgen is a fabulous editor with a keen eye for detail… I landed a publishing deal with Penguin soon after Morgen had finished with my manuscript. The publisher commented, “…a remarkably polished piece of work…”. AA Dhand, England (Streets of Darkness – and I’ve just edited his second novel!)
Morgen is a delight to work with. Her edit was returned to me faster than I would have believed possible, and with insightful comments which improved the novel significantly. She even picked up on issues I thought I was already aware of and watching out for – highly recommended! Katy Haye, England (Rising Tides – I’ve also since edited a connected short story for Katy)
I (Morgen) welcome fiction manuscripts for editing and critique, and have been working with authors, shaping their novels, since 2008 (testimonials below). I have worked with poets and scriptwriters but these are not my areas of expertise. The free 1,000-word full edit sample mentioned below applies to prose including short stories, novel extracts and script. The equivalent for poetry is the first three poems (max 100 lines total).
As well as having chaired three Northamptonshire-based writing groups (2008-2015), I am a fully-qualified BTEC Level 3 Creative Writing Tutor teaching adults aged 19+ for Northamptonshire County Council Adult Learning (evening classes and Saturdays).
The options below cover the services I offer but feel free to email me should you need more information or have any queries. Please contact me if you are looking to have poetry appraised as I have a flat fee for £5 (€7 / US$7.5 / CA$ & AS$10) per poem (max 40 lines).
OPTION 1: Full editing (content, copy editing & line editing): In-depth ‘firm but fair’ editing with feedback which will include grammar, punctuation, story structure, character depth / dialogue, highlighting potential copyright issues, fact checking, chapter structure / order, narrative drive… the whole shebang. This comes in the form of an edited manuscript together with separate commented document. Suitable for all writers, regardless of experience. See below (option 6) for synopsis / cover letter feedback. This option also includes a Kindle listen-through (see optional extras below for details) of a ‘clean’ copy (the revised manuscript with all amendments accepted). Charged at the competitive rate of £7 (€10 / US$11 / CA$ & AS$14) per 1,000 words. To work out the cost, multiply your word count by 0.007 / 0.010 / 0.011 / 0.014 respectively (so a 100,000-word novel would be £700 / €1000 / US$1100 / CA$1400 / AUS$1400 respectively). Minimum fee: £15 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$30), my hourly rate. When you submit your full manuscript, feel free to send me a list of areas you’d like feedback on. I use PayPal – see below for details.
OPTION 2: Line editing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage (e.g. stationery vs stationary, story vs storey, their, there, they’re etc.), repetition, clichés, sentence construction, consistencies. Here the concentration is on sentences and paragraphs instead of pages and chapters. Suitable for more advanced writers.
OPTION 3: Copy editing: a copy-editor makes sure that an author’s raw text, or copy, is correct in terms of spelling and grammar and is easy to read so that readers can grasp his or her ideas. A copy-editor also tries to prevent embarrassing errors of fact, and alerts the author to any possible legal problems. It is not as comprehensive as a full edit so suitable for more advanced writers.
OPTION 4: Proofreading: a human spell- and grammar-checker, concentrating on individual words rather than the context. This is the option to take if you are confident of your characters, plot, structure and layout etc. but you want someone to go through it before you submit to an agent or publisher, or self-publish. My non-fiction writing is about writing so I concentrate on fiction but have proofread non-fiction manuscripts. This option also includes a Kindle listen-through (worth £2 (€2.75 / US$3 / CA & AS$4) – see optional extras below for details) of a ‘clean’ copy (the revised manuscript with all amendments accepted).
These three options are charged at £5 (€7 / US$7.5 / CA$ & AS$10) each per 1,000 words. To work out the cost, multiply your word count by 0.005 / 0.007 / 0.0075 / 0.01 respectively. Minimum fee: £15 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$30), my hourly rate. I use PayPal – see below for details and / or optional extras.
OPTION 5: General feedback: no proofreading / editing, no changes to the document itself, just a typed summary report. This is useful if you’re not sure whether the story is working, your characters (or plot) are believable or you’ve not edited it yet but have sent it to beta (first-round) readers and the feedback you’ve received makes you wonder whether you want to progress it. I will be honest and tell you, although for most authors who have taken this option, I have seen promise with their work, they’ve just needed a steer in the right direction. Charged at £3 (€4 / US$4.50 / CA & AS$6) per 1,000 words. Multiply your word count by 0.003 / 0.004 / 0.0045 / 0.006. Minimum fee: £15 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$30), my hourly rate. I use PayPal – see below for details.
OPTION 6: Kindle listen-through: At any stage in the process (I would suggest at final copy stage), I can utilise my Kindle’s text-to-speech function on your manuscript and suggest any additional changes to be made. This carries an additional fee of £2 (€2.75 / US$3 / CA & AS$4) per 1,000 words (based on the length of the manuscript at that stage) for chapter-by-chapter feedback (including some suggested corrections) or £1 per 1,000 words for a general overview of your story, characters etc. This is an audio-only process; I would not be reading your manuscript on the screen and is therefore not as thorough as the editing options. See below for optional extras. PLEASE NOTE: I help you polish on your writing. I do not offer a ghostwriting or rewriting facility.
OPTION 7: Synopsis / cover letter feedback: included with the initial free 1,000 sample of your novel is feedback on your synopsis (two-page maximum) and cover letter, should you have them ready and wish to have this undertaken. Thereafter there will be a minimum fee of £15 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$30), my hourly rate, for synopsis and / or cover letter feedback (four pages maximum). I use PayPal – see below for details and / or optional extras.
Regardless of the option taken, the first 1,000 words* are free (usually returned within 48 hours), given as the ‘full’ editing service (worth £7 / €10 / US$11 / CA$ & AS$14) for your free sample, unless you advise otherwise. This is sent to you first and there is no obligation thereafter. You can also read some of my critique on the Book & Story Reviews section of this blog. *or first three poems (max 100 lines). PLEASE NOTE: I help you polish on your writing. I do not currently offer a ghostwriting or rewriting facility.
- The prices cover a first read-through only with extensive suggestions (track changes on the manuscript for some options) and feedback (separate document) given throughout. Changes would then normally be made by the author. If there are additional changes or corrections to be made (i.e. if you let me know, via email, what you agree with and want me to make the changes rather than doing the amendments yourself) until you are happy with the document. This will be chargeable at an additional £1 (€1.35 / US$1.50 / CA$ & AS$2) per 1,000 words (based on the length of the original manuscript).
- Feedback on synopses / cover letters received with a 1,000-word free sample will be chargeable at the minimum fee of £10 (€14 / US$15 / CA$ & AS$20).
- I can run your manuscript (again, I would suggest at final copy stage) through my editing software which feeds back on pacing, dialogue, word choice, and repetition. I would then analyse this and feedback to you, suggesting other changes. This also carries an additional fee of £1 per 1,000 words (based on the length of the manuscript at that stage).
- If you are looking to self-publish via eBook and / or paperback, I can get your document ready (in .doc and .pdf formats) to upload and / or send to your printer / publisher. This would mean the change of fonts, header and footer layouts, blank pages (so that your titles / chapters always start on the right side of the page) etc. This also carries an additional fee of £1 per 1,000 words (based on the length of the manuscript at that stage) up to the equivalent hourly rate (i.e. a 60,000-word manuscript would be charged at £60, equating to a maximum of 4 hours’ work). Anything thereafter charged at my hourly rate of £15. I would advise when your hours have been reached and what work would be needed before an additional charge is incurred. Please note that I am not a typesetter so any technical work required would not be guaranteed and would be in liaison with your printers.
- At any stage in the process (I would suggest at final stage), I can utilise my Kindle’s text-to-speech function on your manuscript and suggest any additional changes to be made. This carries an additional fee of £2 per 1,000 words. It is an audio-only process; I would not be reading your manuscript on the screen and is therefore not as thorough as the editing options should you solely choose this option. It is included in the full edit (option 1) and proofreading (option 4).
- Any other work would be charged at my hourly rate of £15 (€20 / US$22 / CA$ & AS$30), agreed in advance.
- NB. I cannot be held responsible for any errors unchecked by the author so the final version will be sent to the author (or designated representative) before submitting to any printers / publishers / editors.
- PLEASE NOTE: I help you polish your writing. I do not currently offer a ghostwriting or rewriting facility due to the high costs involved in the time it would take for these options.
Prices valid until January 2017. Fees agreed in advance of any work undertaken, and more importantly, stuck to (payment options below). There are two formats of feedback:
- I use Word’s track changes (see picture immediately below as a generic example) as it keeps the file size small and the feedback in one place (other than the accompanying comments document).
- For authors without Word, and therefore the facility to use track changes, I can usually convert whatever I am sent (Open Office, rtf etc) into Word then do the track changes and save it as a PDF so you can see the changes I suggest.
What to do next?
In the first instance… Take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writing-101 for my writing tips. If this improves your writing, then it makes my job easier to give feedback on it. Then email me your 1,000-word extract (with 1-page synopsis if from a novel) and I’ll get my feedback to you (on the extract and synopsis) as soon as possible (usually within 48 hours, or I’ll email you to advise).
- First 1,000 words free (usually returned within 48 hours). If you are sending a novel extract for your free sample, please also send a 1-2 page synopsis of the whole novel (including any ‘spoilers’). Agents / publishers usually prefer one page synopses.
- <10,000 words: 100% in advance, when documents submitted. Usually no more than 2 weeks depending upon existing workload.
- Over 10,000 words: 50% in advance, when documents submitted, then remaining 50% within 14 days of receipt of feedback / critique. Usually 2-5 weeks max. for full-length novels depending upon existing workload.
- Feedback on synopses / cover letters received after the 1,000-word free sample, i.e. with chargeable work, will be chargeable at the minimum fee of £10 (€14 / US$15 / CA$ & AS$20).
*To pay via PayPal:
I have written / published over 400 short stories, from six words to several thousand, in a variety of genres. My seven novels are chick-lit (a 105,000-worder, originally a 117,540-word first draft), lad-lit, mystery, and various shades of crime. I am currently writing my eighth novel, a departure from the crime genre; its protagonist is Henry, a talking dog with attitude.
I have been critiquing fellow writers’ novels since 2005, covering all mainstream genres, most recently YA dystopian, YA paranormal, action & adventure, contemporary romance / erotica, mystery, lad lit, thriller, and crime. I don’t write scripts and very little poetry, so please bear this in mind if sending these formats.
Some of the testimonials (in alphabetical order) received to-date…
- “Morgen is a fabulous editor with a keen eye for detail. I have used several editors in the past and always been slightly disappointed with the level of detail. I wanted an editor who would micro-edit my pages, line by line, word by word, and that is exactly what I got. My manuscript was cleaned, polished, and Morgen’s work sharpened the story. I landed a publishing deal with Penguin soon after Morgen had finished with my manuscript. The publisher commented, “…a remarkably polished piece of work…” Morgen has a great turn-around time, is extremely well priced, and quite simply; a pleasure to have worked with. I would recommend her without reservation.” A.A. Dhand (England)
- “Morgen’s critiquing service was really valuable to me. Not only was the turnaround time remarkable, but her comments about my work have given me new impetus. In particular, I found her review of my synopsis really helpful. She shares her feedback in a professional yet inclusive style. It almost feels like she is sitting right next to you. She is a great communicator and highly proficient, yet friendly and easy to deal with. I look forward to sharing more of my work with her in the future.” Angela Watt (England)
- “An amazingly polished piece of work.” (from a mainstream traditional publisher – details to be announced late 2015)
- “Thanks for this. I’m thoroughly enjoying your editing. Amazing how it sharpens up the novel. You’ve got a really keen ‘eye’ for details. I see this being the start of a great relationship!” (Amit, new client February 2015, England)
- “Hi Morgen, I just wanted to thank you for editing my novel… you’re fantastic! I’ve learned so much from the notes (and from your writing course) and it reads so much better now. Everything you suggested was spot on. I’m going to use a cliche now, so sorry in advance :o) … but you’re worth every penny! I’ll be sending my next novel as soon as it’s finished.” and “Morgen, I just wanted to say thank you again. I’ve been through it a couple of times and took everything out… and it reads so much better. I can’t believe how many straights, nows, alls, and names there were! I feel as if I’ve learned loads. You’re fantastic! I’m going to start saving for when I finish my next one.🙂 Thank you so much for this,and for the course.” Deborah S (regular client, England)
- “This is exactly what I was looking for. Exceptional communication and professionalism, and turnaround time was much faster than I expected. I can say that this experience has truly rekindled my desire to write, and I know that my works will be in good hands.” Doug J (USA)
- “I met Morgen at the 2014 Dunford Novelists Conference and was so impressed with her professional skills, that I recently have used her editing services for several short stories. Whilst I have been writing for over twenty years, Morgen has managed to add insight and improve my stories with her suggestions. Her turnaround was incredibly quick and when requested to elaborate, she didn’t hesitate to do so. I would highly recommend her and am delighted to have found an editor who is efficient, honest and skilled. I will be using her services again!” E.L Norry (Bournemouth, England)
- “Thank you so much for the editing work you did on my novel, Small Fish Big Fish. As you know, I had already published the e-book and a paperback version without having a final copy edit undertaken. Silly of me! You took the time to check out dates and other facts and provided many tips and suggestions on grammar and style which helped improve the book immensely. Not only that, but you presented your feedback in a manner that made me feel good about my writing, and all at a very reasonable cost. I will certainly return with my next novel and this time before it is published!” Jacob Carlisle (Australia)
- “The feedback was really useful, and I intend to take advantage of your editing service again. Will be submitting the story, with your suggested revisions, so keeping my fingers crossed that the competition judges will like it. Thanks.” Julia Ann Lees (England)
- “I would also like to take the opportunity to say thank you for your edit. It was clear, comprehensive and made it very easy for me to understand what I why I needed to make changes. As a plus it was also vastly quicker than I had any right to expect – which has been a colossal boon as my deadlines gallop closer!” Katy Haye (England) You can watch Katy’s inspirational ‘How to be a writer’ video here.
- “Morgen (with an E) Bailey is a consummate editor, with a knowledge of formatting and Elements of Style that would please any author’s publisher. She edited my first mystery novel with three pages of typed feedback, single-spaced, as well as numerous comments on each page, using the ‘track changes’ edit program in Word. All comments were very much relevant and to the point, making my novel much tighter and a better work to submit. I was so pleased that I hired Morgen to edit two more works: a book of short stories (short stories are her first love), and a collection of three paranormal novellas. Her rates are extremely reasonable and she is fast and accurate. What more could a writer ask of an editor? I recommend Morgen Bailey highly. PS Check out her writing, too; excellent flash fiction, short stories, and a book called, ‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’.” Kenna McKinnon (regular client, Canada) Thank you, Kenna. Kenna later emailed to say, “I want to tell you again how very pleased I am with your editing skills. You’ve created a brand new and far superior product for <novel title>. The novellas go back many years as originally novels, and I’d dearly love them to see the light of print.” And subsequently, having edited her biographies, she said, “Thanks, Morgen, you rock.”🙂
- “I have read over your suggested changes and can only say “WOW”, you are right on target! I loved all the changes. I really love the suggestions to the synopsis. I am excited to have you as my editor!” Lorraine Carey (regular client, Grand Cayman)
- “I met Morgen at a writing festival a short while ago and goodness, what a spot of luck. She doesn’t miss a thing. I’ve learnt an awful lot since starting writing some six years ago now, and since meeting her, have learnt even more. I can’t recommend her highly enough. Very professional, very easy to work with, and very good at what she does.” Mark K (regular client, England)
- “I asked Morgen to edit my first novel after meeting her at Crime and Publishment in March. Her rates are extremely competitive and the returned ms along with comments allowed me to bring it up to the standard required to publish or submit. I’m happy to say that the first publisher I approached offered me a contract and I have no doubt that Morgen’s skilful editing hugely contributed to this. I’m a bit wary about posting this without running it past Morgen first TBH as I may have fragmented sentences or something!” Mike Craven (UK) Looks good to me. Thank you, Mike.
- “I discovered Morgen and her writing website while I was trolling for various ways to publicize a friend’s novel. Our relationship grew via guest blogs and author spotlights. When it came time for me to get serious about my own writing and editing, I thought first of Morgen and looked into what she offered – I was not disappointed. Her reasonable rates, free 1000 word trial package, and use of the Track Changes options in MS Word drew me in. Going through each of my edited chapters, I was pleasantly surprised to find side notes and comments in addition to the basic proofreading services I asked for. I loved coming across a comment where she was particularly pleased with my phrasing or story ideas. These little gems of thought created a bond between us – Morgen not only edited my work but she engaged herself with me as writer along the way. In this day and age that kind of thoughtful attention is rare. I looked forward to seeing her notes with every chapter, and her personal attention revitalized my own connection with the novel. Morgen is a master of her craft and has a great pair of editing eyes – don’t overlook her honest simplicity and attention to detail, she’s a treasure.” M.J. Moores, Teacher. Author. Mother. (Canada)
- “Very efficient and to the point. Highly recommended.” and “I’ve used Morgen for a short story. She’s rapid, responsive and very reasonably priced. My subsequent rewrite satisfied even me.” and “I can’t believe you’re so quick! I suspect you’re from a different planet.” and “These are brilliant helpful notes.” and “Thanks so much, that’s just the job I needed.” Rosalind Minett (regular client, England)
- “I wish everyone I was dealing with were as efficient and user friendly as you! Once again, thank you for exceeding my expectations.” Tony Klinger (England)
- “Although I did expect good things from you I did not expect the amount of work, time and attention to detail you have put into this. I applaud you and thank you profoundly.” William Bell (USA)
Listed below are some examples of the free sample critiques I have given…
- The first ‘red pen’ session episode was released on Monday 8th August 2011 featuring a 325-word flash fiction entitled ‘Green’ by San Francisco-based writer and musician J D Mader and the podcast is available via the links at the top of this page (and in the ‘Where to find me’ side menu) with a summary here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Sunday 2nd December 2012.
- The second ‘red pen’ session episode was released on Monday 22nd August featuring a 1,591-word short story from Aneesa – the summary was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback to be blogged t.b.a. (awaiting permission from the author).
- The third ‘red pen’ session episode was released on Monday 5th September and featured a novel extract from crime writer Lae Monie. A summary of the podcast episode was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Tuesday 4th December 2012.
- The fourth ‘red pen’ session episode was released on Saturday 17th September and featured a 883-word short story entitled The Sow’s Ear by J D Mader. A summary of the podcast was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Wednesday 5th December 2012.
- Aneesa returned for episode no.5 which was released on Monday 10th October and featured a short story called ‘You are my reasons’ -– the summary was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback to be blogged t.b.a. (awaiting permission from the author).
- Episode no.6, released on Monday 24th October, was an extract from forthcoming novel ‘Firebound’ provided by teacher and writer Kathryn Wild – the summary of which was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Friday 7th December 2012.
- Episode no.7, released on Sunday 6th November, featured a short story by Aaron entitled ‘On the edge’ – the summary was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Saturday 8th December 2012.
- Episode no.8, released Sunday 27th November, was another novel extract by crime writer Lae Monie – the summary was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Sunday 9th December 2012.
- Episode no.9, released Wednesday 28th December – was my critique of a novel extract from The Desolate Garden by Danny Kemp – the summary was posted here and you can listen to the episode here. Full feedback was blogged – Monday 10th December 2012.
Then the red pen sessions transferred from audio podcast to blog text:
- Red Pen no.10, critique of Circles, a short story from Aaron (see episode no.7) – Sunday 16th December 2012.
- Red Pen no.11, critique of an extract (with synopsis) from Lianne Simon’s novel Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite – Sunday 23rd December 2012.
- Red Pen no.12, critique of the short story Shooting Stars by crime novelist, short story author and interviewee Graham Smith – Sunday 30th December 2012.
- Red Pen no.13, critique of a novel extract from YA, romance and suspense thriller novelist Erica Miner‘s Murder in the Pit – Sunday 6th January 2013.
- Red Pen no.14, critique of Agoraphobia, a short story by non-fiction and short story author Kerry Dwyer – Sunday 13th January 2013.
- Red Pen no.15, critique of Betrayal, a short story by short story author and poet Charlie Kane – Sunday 20th January 2013.
- Short Stories Submitted For Critique
- Poems Submitted For Critique
- Script Extracts Submitted For Critique
- Novel Extracts Submitted For Critique
- Non-fiction Pieces Submitted For Critique
- £3 (€4 / US$4.50 / CA & AS$6) per 1,000 words for general feedback on the story (Word document, pdf or email text, whichever is preferred), no alterations to the original manuscript.
- £4 (€5.50 / US$6 / CA$ & AS$8) per 1,000 words for proofread only (track changes).
- £5 (€7 / US$7.5 / CA$ & AS$10) per 1,000 words for line editing (track changes).
- £6 (€8 / US$9 / CA$ & AS$12) per 1,000 words for a full critique (track changes and full typed report).
- Minimum fee for any of the above services: £10 (€14 / US$15 / CA$ & AS$20).
- Fee agreed in advance, but based on the above and no more than £6 per 1,000 words.
- Please note: Non-sterling rates may vary depending upon exchange rates but will the price on this page at the date of agreement of work to be undertaken will be the price you pay. Fee agreed in advance.
- Payment for items over 20,000 words: 50% upfront, 50% no more than 14 days after complete feedback received via PayPal to email@example.com. Note: Morgen is spelled with an ‘e’ not ‘a’.
- Payment for items under 10,000 words: 100% upfront via the above method.
- Prices valid until January 2017 (held since January 2015).
- NB. First 1,000 words free (or three poems max. 100 lines), no obligation thereafter.
Note: I am English so will feed back based on UK English rather than US English although US spellings will remain unaltered. Fee agreed in advance so there are no further costs unless agreed, and payment to be made via PayPal (details above).
It is stressed that I am not responsible for the accuracy of the content of the authors’ works before or after publication and any factual mistakes not pointed out shall incur no liability on my part.
I also transcribe manuscripts from audio files or handwritten formats (rate by agreement).
Whatever your requirement, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest.
‘Morgen with an E’