Can’t get started? Need a fresh take on your manuscript? Think you’re ready for an agent?
Let an experienced editor help you achieve your writing goals. Whether you’re a seasoned author or a beginner, whether you’re looking for a critique, a proofread, a full rewrite, or help getting your book into print, Chrysalis offers a full suite of author services from concept to publication.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can… begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Johann Wolfgang Goethe
It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense. Mark Twain
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 queries and book proposals, please scroll down.)
For all manuscript (ms) critiques, both fiction and non-fiction, you will receive:
For a novel or short story, the comments include:
For short and full-length memoir, the comments include:
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.
For non-fiction, the comments discuss:
Book Proposals & Query Letters
We assist authors in crafting successful book proposals for their non-fiction manuscripts. We are skilled in evaluating each aspect of the proposal—fromoverviews, 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 novel, memoir 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.
What to do: Click here to email email@example.com the following information:
Chrysalis Editorial provides coaching services for a variety of clients. Whether you live locally or remotely*, we offer ongoing, one-on-one guidance to enhance your writing and to complete your writing project, whatever it may be (novel, short stories, memoir, non-fiction, proposal, etc). We can work with you to move from concept to completion, or we can help you improve your overall writing skills.
Even if you don’t have a particular project in the works, our coaching services can offer tailored assignments and critiques.
Most importantly, working with a writing coach can help you achieve your writing goals and get published.
No matter what your project, we will help you:
If you are working on a specific non-fiction project, you will receive assistance in everything from brainstorming and outlining your work to editing each page and chapter, as well as development of the proposal and author platform.
If you are working on a novel, memoir or short story collection**, you will receive critiques on your project’s fictional elements (characters, plot, dialogue, voice, point-of-view, etc.) to help both you and your writing stay focused. You will receive feedback on each chapter or revision. We can alsogive you assignments to move your work along at the pace you want.
If you’re simply hoping to improve your writing (but don’t have a particular project in mind), we can provide you with exercises and promptsfocused on the areas of your writing that need the most improvement. You will receive feedback and constructive criticism for each of your writing samples.
You can improve your writing no matter what your schedule or location. We can work with you in person or remotely*, via Skype, email and telephone.
*We Skype with clients in Illinois, Vermont, California, and other parts of the US, not to mention in places as far flung as Italy and Holland. Recent clients include a psychologist, a university professor, a healthcare consultant, and a full-time writer. Projects range from novels, memoir and book-length non-fiction to short stories and essays.
**Perhaps you have a great idea for a story, but don’t have the time to write it. Or maybe you’ve written half of your novel or memoir and can’t find motivation to finish it. If this sounds more like you, then our ghostwriting services might be what you’re looking for.
**If you have already written your entire piece and just want feedback, our manuscript critique services may be just what you need.
What to do: Click here to email Chrysalis (firstname.lastname@example.org) a description of your project and a time we can talk to discuss your needs. We find it faster, better, and easier to discuss by telephone (or Skype) the details of such an undertaking.
Does one of the following fit your situation?
Well, don't panic. Chrysalis Editorial's Ghostwriting Service can help you and your project reach the finish line. Herta has worked with a variety of clients on assignments that have varied from letters to partial chapters to full-length books.
One of the most important considerations in such an endeavor is to feel a rapport with your "ghost." Remember, this is a collaborative effort. I will be committed to developing a good rapport with you, to "channel" your feelings and your perspective, and build an understanding of the vision you have for the book. Under your direction, we'll complete the project so that what appears on the page is in your voice, or one that you specify.
Ghostwriting is becoming increasingly more popular. Some sources say that up to 40% of published books were written by someone other than the listed author. (Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea, for example)
What to do: Click here to email Chrysalis (email@example.com) a description of your project and a time we can talk to discuss your needs. We find it faster, better, and easier to discuss by telephone the details of such an undertaking. Besides, it's the first opportunity for us to establish that all essential rapport mentioned above.
Perhaps you’ve finished your final draft, and you are ready for a copy edit. Chrysalis Editorial offers several levels of editing services, depending on your need.
From our perspective, there are three levels of editing: copy editing, line editing, and developmental editing. For our purposes, we consider developmental edits the same as a manuscript critique. So if that’s the service that best suits your needs, I suggest you see our MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE SERVICE.
Often, writers request a combination of copy edits and a manuscript critique. While we charge differently for these two services, the fee is reduced when they are done simultaneously. However, we usually don’t recommend joining a copy edit with a critique. The reason is simple – if you are still in the revision phase, line edits may very well end up on the cutting-room floor. Hence, a waste of your money. Best to wait until after you’ve finished the final rewrite.
A basic level of editing, which corrects errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Copy editing does not address the content or quality of your writing – it solely corrects technical errors.
A more detailed line-by-line process of editing, which corrects spelling, grammar and punctuation, but also includes suggestions of improvement in syntax, style, word choice and language register or diction, and paragraph and sentence construction.
Whether your project is a full-length novel, short fiction, an essay, or a work of non-fiction, our copy and line editing services will whip your piece into shape. This is what most manuscripts need before submitted to agents, publishers, literary magazines, professors, etc.
What to do:
Click here to email Chrysalis (firstname.lastname@example.org) the following information
Publishing (or Self-Publishing) & Agent Advice
You’ve done it. You’ve finally finished your book. Congratulations! But wait, you’re not finished. Now you have some important decisions to make.
The first question to ask yourself:
• Do I want to self-publish or opt for traditional publishing?
Perhaps you made that decision at the beginning of your writing project and so already know the answer, but if you need help, we are here to advise you, because it can be a grueling decision.
Traditional versus Self-publishing
There are many things to consider when deciding between these two options, and please note that a third option has appeared on the scene, called partnership publishing, which is a kind of hybrid between the two, but we’ll discuss this briefly under the heading Self-Publishing. So, here are a few factors to think about:
Moving along the path toward traditional publishing requires patience, diligence and the recognition that competition is stiff. Even within the category of traditional publishing, you should ask yourself:
(BTW: Many smaller presses do not require having an agent, so that might be a consideration.)
But let’s say you’re going for one of the big five. In that case, you’ll want to find an agent. The first step is the query letter. Sending a query out to agents should be easy, right? Well, it’s also a process that requires strong and concise writing. You’ll need:
[*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.]
Querying agents may not seem as mentally draining as writing the actual book, but it’s no easy task. From a variety of sources, you’ll need to cull a list of agents who might be interested in the kind of book you’ve written. (Perhaps you’ve met some or pitched a few at writers’ conferences?) Then you’ll need to find the correct email or street addresses of those agents, make sure each letter is addressed appropriately…
To put it bluntly, unless you’re extremely lucky, it’s an exercise that can keep even the most dedicated writers from moving their manuscript off their desktop and into print. At the very least, it’s certainly less fun and can take weeks – valuable time you could spend (dare we say it?)…writing your next book! (see Resources for Writers page for a shortcut.)
Let Chrysalis Editorial help you.
Some years ago, Herta worked as the executive editor of a literary agency, where she received and read hundreds of query letters, book proposals and manuscripts. During the past eight years at Chrysalis, she and Emily have written scores of query letters and book proposals for clients. We welcome the opportunity to help you compose a query or draft a book proposal that will draw an agent or editor’s attention.
Query letters follow a basic formula, which we can provide you, and once you’ve written a draft, we can help you polish it to perfection. Query letters can be tricky though…
Book proposals are an entirely different beast. While you might write a query in a day (or two), a solid book proposal can easily consume a couple of weeks. If you’ve never written one, we recommend purchasing a book that can help you (there are many). For some of our favorites go to the Resources for Writers page of this website.
Please note that whether you are approaching agents or editors at a smaller press (that might not require an agent), it’s always necessary to have a well-written query and book proposal.
With Chrysalis at your side, you’ll feel confident that your query letters are enticing, your book proposals substantive and complete, and that the agents and editors you approach are right for your project. We can take care of some of the process or all of it, including giving you advice on how to negotiate fees and avoid scams.
Note: This service does not guarantee that you will find an agent or a publisher. Every agent and editor receives hundreds of manuscripts, and anyone who guarantees that yours will be chosen from the slush pile is not telling the truth. But we will do everything in our power to make the process more manageable.
Visit our Resources for Writers page for more tips on finding an agent or publisher.
In many ways, you’re lucky to be a writer today. Self-publishing is not what it used to be, and now more than ever, self-published books have just as good a chance of “making it big” as traditionally published books do. But it’s not an easy process either, and you should learn all you can about self-publishing to give your book the best chance at success.
• Which self-publishing option should I use? There are hundreds of options, but there are some books out there that can help with your decision. See the Resources for Writers page for a couple we recommend.)
• What do I need to do to prepare the manuscript for publication? For a professional manuscript you ought to hire an editor to proofread and edit the final draft. Earlier in the process you might want to work with an editor to receive a manuscript critique and/or some coaching. Then you need a graphic designer for the cover and possibly to format the book.)
• What else do I need to do? We highly recommend that you develop a marketing strategy and a budget for your book at least three months in advance of the publication date. You might also want to assemble a team of experts – a publicist and/or book marketer, etc.
• Should I use crowdfunding to finance my project? We know several authors who have used Kickstarter to great success. It is time-consuming, but will give you a feeling of support for your project and ease the pressure on your bank account.
Chrysalis Editorial offers a full complement of services to get your book published, from copy editing to formatting the book and helping you devise a marketing strategy.
Finally, a brief note on Partnership Publishing:
One of the newest forms of publishing to emerge is called Partnership Publishing. In short, it’s a hybrid of traditional and self-publishing.
Such publishers usually have a process for deciding whether they would like to help you publish your manuscript or not, and if they accept, both you and the publisher share not just the costs of getting your book into print and on the market, but also other aspects of the publishing process, including marketing and distribution. Some, like Inkshares, use crowdfunding to finance their books.
A warning is in order. Recently, when we did an Internet search of “partnership publishing,” we had to do quite a bit of work to find such companies. And they are not to be confused with established publishers, such as Simon & Schuster, which have “partnered” with a self-publishing press (in their case, Author House) to create their own “brand,” in this case Archway Press, about which we found quite a few negative reports.
We are not making a judgment here, but encourage you to be very careful when assessing the value of such an investment. Packages can be hugely expensive (in the case of Archway, the costs are up to $14,999 for fiction and non-fiction; and up to $24,999 for business books). In most of these cases, the traditional publisher has absolutely no bearing or connection to your work, though they might like you to think so. One of the spiritual book publishers, Hay House, also has its self-publishing arm, called Balboa Press. Again, we encourage you to look closely at whether such affiliations afford your book any greater credibility than any other self-publisher.