In being able to focus on detail and perspective, Herta gives her clients the best of both worlds. She is as talented with copy editing as she is with discussing broader structural issues. Her work clarified significant issues, enabling me to complete an immensely satisfying rewrite of my manuscript. Herta is perceptive and genuinely interested in the writer’s process. Her critique is generous, muscular, and thorough. I highly recommend her services.
-Sandra Hunter
(novel, Losing Touch, Oneworld)

Manuscript Critique

Our critiques, though sensitive, are not for the faint of heart. When you hire Chrysalis Editorial to evaluate your fiction or non-fiction manuscript you will receive an honest, in-depth and constructive response. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript will help jump-start your revision process.

For all manuscript (ms) critiques, both fiction and non-fiction, you will receive:

  • A 5-20 page evaluation of what’s working and what isn’t (depending on length of ms)
  • Notations and edits on the ms pages themselves to help focus your revision
  • A follow-up telephone conversation to address questions and concerns you may have

For a novel or short story, the comments include:

  • An overarching summary of the story’s strengths and weaknesses
  • What works well and what might be improved, referencing the various elements of fiction: structure, character, voice, plot, tension, setting, point-of-view, dialogue, etc.
  • Suggestions and examples of how you might revise problem areas

Herta’s enthusiasm for my work was certainly very welcome, given that writers generally receive a lot of rejections. Her ideas for improvement were thoughtful and on the mark. Herta is a great editor and advocate for writers.
-Jyotsna Sreenivasan 
(novel, And Laughter Fell From the Sky, William Morrow)

For short and full-length memoir, the comments include:

  • Many of the same comments you would receive for a work of fiction
  • Because memoir is more closely aligned with writing a novel than writing non-fiction, we address the elements of fiction (see above) that are working and those that need to be enhanced.

Note: memoir is not the same as an autobiography. A memoir is a slice of one’s life, not a cradle-to-present-moment story. It is thematic, not a comprehensive account of your life.

Herta and Emily proved to do everything they promised they would do, and more: honing, revising, and refining my manuscript. Their not so subtle critiques were invaluable in my tedious rewrite stage and in transforming my work into better and publishable shape. Thank you, Herta.

– Dr. Asome Bide, MD (author, As Waters Gone By, Tate Publishing)


For non-fiction, the comments discuss:

  • The work’s structure
  • Cohesiveness of the material
  • Faithfulness to the stated focus/purpose of the book
  • Accuracy of the subject matter
  • Suggestions and examples to help you revise your manuscript

Book Proposals & Query Letters

We assist authors in crafting successful book proposals for their non-fiction (and memoir**) manuscripts. We are skilled in evaluating each aspect of the proposal—from overviews, to chapter summaries, to market competition, to building an author platform. We can help you create your proposal from scratch or revise an existing one.

For novels and short story collections you don’t need a book proposal, you do need a complete manuscript and a compelling query letter.  We’ve written and edited scores of query letters and welcome the opportunity to help you compose one that will draw an agent’s attention.


**Note: sometimes agents or publishers do not require a book proposal for memoir, but if that’s the case, they usually require a full manuscript.

Thank you so much, Herta. I am laughing because I think I am posing such a challenge for you. But your guidance has been invaluable, and I’ve never heard this type of input before. I admire your talents and tenacity and appreciate your encouragement. Here’s to my next rewrite!
-Irene Schindler
(YA novel, Dirty Laundry)


I have worked with a number of editors during the last decade, but Herta has been the most versatile and talented of them all. Many big name editors I have worked with, who once worked as publishers, were great, but usually only at one or two things (plot or character, setting the scene or dialogue, etc.). Herta does it all, whatever you need, whatever your book needs, she can figure it out and help you on your way. I can’t say enough about her, though I fear she will become so popular it will become harder to schedule my work with her! 
-Rangeley Wallace
(novel, No Defense, St Martin’s Press)


Working with Herta was like getting a whirlwind course in creative writing. In editing my work, she helped me…clarify story, plot, and character. The end result was a tighter, more concise, and infinitely more readable manuscript.

–Cynthia Tocci
(YA novel, Stone Voice Rising, Harcourt)