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.
Finding Herta and Emily was, for us, just one of those incredible coincidences that guide our lives. I think that no one could have understood our needs as they did. The editing process was very complex: days and days of work, many emails and Skype sessions. Only their resolution and open-mindedness could have helped to choose and find the right words. The end result was a beautiful book, which I could not stop reading. —Tiziano Tazzi, President, Fondazione SAMIARC about: The Healer of the 13th Ray, by Sergio Mari
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 CritiqueOur 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:
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:
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)
After making the decision to write a memoir about my time among Tanzania’s Maasai, I met Herta at a writing conference where I showed her an early draft of my book proposal. She took the time to look at it, and I recognized immediately her sharp eye for details, her good instincts for what works and what doesn’t, and her capacity to be a trusted advisor and mentor to me in completing my book. Over the course of the last several years, I have worked with Herta mostly via email and Skype, as she lives in Washington and I live in The Netherlands. Her editing skills are exceptional, and she has a good sense of when and how to push me in order to evoke my best work. My book is better and my writing is stronger because of her coaching. In short, I couldn’t have completed my manuscript without her. Herta remains my champion—something every writer needs. --Julie Cutler, author
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). Even if you don’t have a particular project in the works, our coaching services can offer tailored assignments and critiques.
I began working with Herta in 2010 and in less than two years, my first book was published in June of 2012 and I have another book under contract. If you are interested in results, then Herta is the person. If you are interested in developing as a writer, then Herta is the person. If you are interested in working with a professional who meets deadlines and is easy to do business with, then Herta is the person. –Marty Martin (non-fiction, The Inner World of Money: Taking Control of Financial Decisions and Behavior)
No matter what your project, we will help you:
Herta Feely and her colleagues at Chrysalis Editorial are the best! Not only did they provide helpful suggestions and necessary edits to what I wrote, Herta was gentle–yet persistent–in getting me to finish the text in the first place! Were it not for her, I might still be dawdling! -Les Francis, DC-based public affairs consultant and aspiring authorIf 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 also give 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 prompts focused on the areas of your writing that need the most improvement. You will receive feedback and constructive criticism for each of your writing samples.
My experience with Herta over the past eighteen months has been rewarding. She has been thorough, supportive, encouraging, appropriately critical when needed, and always sought and been open to my ideas, thoughts, and direction in all the writings we have discussed. She will have played a major role in this writing journey when my work is published. - Roger Marum, PhD, blogs about spirituality and psychology: www.yourreluctantdisciple.com.
You can improve your writing no matter what your schedule or location. We can work with you in person or remotely, via email, telephone or Skype. 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.
Herta helped me resurrect a book I started fifteen years ago. Due to her fabulous coaching, in very short order I have really managed to get some traction and wonderful results. She has kept me on point, brilliantly editing my work and making suggestions both large and small. Organization is not my middle name, so her ability to help me stick to deadlines and prioritize next steps has been invaluable. It all comes down to respect for the teacher, and I have the highest regard for Herta’s intellect, her writing abilities and her strength in editing and coaching. –Kathy Pasley (non-fiction, Depression: A Hurt in Your Soul and How to Heal It)
Thank you for your very professional criticism, editing, and encouragement as I have tried to convert amateurish scribblings into something resembling true creative writing. I began putting words on paper when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until you included one of my pieces in, Confessions: Fact or Fiction?,that I finally decided to make a serious effort to write a book of my own. That I can now see the possibility is due in no small measure to your skilled help in honestly critiquing and editing each chapter. -Larry Russell, U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (work in progress, Some Things That May Have Happened: Memories of Southern Salad Days)
Herta, you can tell the world that I love working with you. I'm not an accomplished writer, so your patience with me and your wonderful insights really help and motivate me. You, in short, make the process thoroughly enjoyable. -Malcolm Lassman (memoir in progress)
GhostwritingDoes one of the following fit your situation?
Please Note: One of the most important considerations in such an endeavor is to feel a rapport with your "ghost." Remember, this is a collaborative effort. We 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.
Statistic: 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)
In my experience, there are editors who excel in the minutia of comma and semicolon while others reach best across the wide chasm of plot and characterization. Herta Feely’s editorial purview revealed itself in the form of a utilitarian midi-cosm which proved highly valuable to my novel; my book is better now. -David Reynolds, The Peabody Institute (novel, A Woman the Taste of Almonds)
Copy EditingPerhaps 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, an early copy edit may be a waste of your money. Best to wait until after you’ve finished the final rewrite.
Copy Edit 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.
Line Edit: 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 being submitted to agents, publishers, literary magazines, professors, etc.
Herta’s evaluation of my essay collection was extremely useful–well worth the investment. I had shelved my manuscript but now feel encouraged to continue work and seek publication eventually. Thank you, Herta. -Melvin Adams (memoir, Netting the Sun: A Personal Geography of the Oregon Desert)
Publishing (or Self-Publishing) and 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. We’ve worked with writers pursuing both options, so let’s take a closer look.
Traditional versus Self-publishingThere 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. See our Services page for Query Letters and Book Proposals for more information. 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, etc.
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.)
I would not have received a book contract had it not been for Herta. She helped me revive a project that I had abandoned a year earlier. She helped me rethink and reorganize the project in a way that rekindled my interest and energy. She was emotionally supportive and encouraging while providing invaluable assistance in organizing and editing the material. Herta is knowledgeable about the world of publishing and able to provide practical advice about how to structure a proposal. She is rare in her ability to listen and to understand exactly what is needed to move forward. Herta has all the skills anyone might need who is looking for assistance with a writing project. -Barbara Blitzer (The Infertility Patient’s Mind-Body & Stress Reduction Workbook)