Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some of the questions I hear a lot, plus helpful answers. No Jeopardy theme music required.

Have Other Questions? Contact Reforge »
Or Get Your Free Quote »


»This all seems complicated. Can you make it simpler?

Sure. You’re a writer with a hot potato of a manuscript burning a hole in your laptop. Reforge is a novel editing service with a flair for fantasy and science fiction. You should hire me to edit your novel and help you take it up a whole bunch of notches. Let’s make some magic (or sufficiently advanced technology) happen!

»How do i know if my novel is ready for an editor?

Is it a finished manuscript? Then it’s probably ready for an editor. Not all writers can (or want to) edit, or have any idea where to start with revisions, and that’s okay. If you read through your manuscript and feel like something’s missing–arcs are falling flat, plots are petering out, and characters are lacking life–odds are pretty good you’re right. That’s where an editor can help.

A book editor is like a manuscript doctor who can identify your book’s symptoms, diagnose its issues, and prescribe solutions that you, the writer, can put into practice.

»What about beta readers?

Beta readers (often friends, family, writing group members, etc.) are awesome. But they’re rarely trained and experienced editors (if they are, that’s even more awesome, way to go).

Beta readers can give you a good sense of where things are working and where they aren’t. But most of the time, they won’t be able to help you fix the issues they identify. Editors are critical (in a good way) and well, aren’t interested in staying on your good side. Editors will give it to you straight, every time, and then they’ll help you make your story a whole lot better, because that’s what you’re paying them to do.

»What if my novel isn’t finished?

Well, if you have specific issues with a scene, a character, or your plot, one of my Writing Fixes can certainly help.

But, if it’s just a matter of getting words on the page, then get thee to a keyboard, sit yourself down, and finish it. If you’re not sure how to do that, exactly, then the service you’re looking for is “story/book/writing coaching” which isn’t something I offer on the website, though I am currently looking for the right coaching clients. Send an email to and we can talk.


Editing a book can be a complex process, and a lot of editors out there refer to the different steps in the process differently. I’ve tried to make it easy by naming the type of editing after the level of detail of the editing.

  1. Big Picture Edit – Sometimes called a “manuscript critique,” with this level of editing, you get an editorial report that looks at the whole manuscript from a “big-picture,” 10,000-foot level. You don’t get your manuscript marked up with suggestions and edits. Just the report.

  2. Chapter-level Edit – A deeper dive and more detailed feedback, including notes and comments on each chapter, and critical sequences and scenes. You get the same report as in the Big Picture edit, but you don’t get line edits at this level

  3. Line-level Edit – Everything included in the other two levels, plus line edits and comments throughout your entire manuscript. This is the most detailed analysis and the most comprehensive feedback.

»Okay, what about worldbuilding?

Every story ever written includes a setting. But, your average thriller or literary author can generally assume that most of their readers live in the same setting/world/time as the book they’re reading, so they don’t have to explain things like how cars work, the color of the sky, or what a refrigerator is.

Here’s where fantasy and science fiction authors have it a little harder, unfortunately. Most readers don’t live on space stations, or in faerieland, or in a city that’s a cross between Enlightenment-era Paris and Burning Man, with magic. So, fantasy and sci-fi authors have to explain to readers what they’re seeing, how their settings work, and why things are the way they are, in addition to telling their stories. This usually involves some combination of history, geography, geology, meteorology, historiography, cultural evolution, biological evolution, religion, politics, government, art, architecture, sociology, anthropology, international relations, technology, and/or magic. That’s worldbuilding.

But! The art of providing this information without slowing the pace of the story down to a crawl, while at the same time unfolding conflict, deepening character, heightening tension, foreshadowing events to come, nailing a kickass action sequence, landing a few jokes, and kicking off a romance or two? That, dear friends, is worldcrafting.

»So you’ll craft my world for me?

I’ll help you do it. I’ll ask you a ton of questions to figure out what, exactly, you need your world to do for your story (lesson 1: worldbuilding has to always serve the story first), how much detail you need to make it work and how much is too much. Plus I’ll give you the tools and resources to keep your world humming at peak efficiency.

This is a highly contextual service, so it does involve some significant 1-on-1 time up front. Go here and submit the quote form to get started.

»so how do i become a client?

I thought you’d never ask! Just follow the steps:

Step 1 - Complete the form here and I’ll send you your quote and an example of my feedback.

Step 2 - If you like what you see, I’ll send a contract for the services you selected.

Step 3 - Sign the contract and pay 50% of the total up front. Then, you’ll submit your manuscript and get an author questionnaire to complete. Meanwhile, I’ll start reading!

Step 4 - Editing! There’s no magic to it, I read your story, take notes, and figure out how to make improvements, based on the guidance you’ve provided. All levels of editing come with 1-on-1 consultation, so I’ll check in with you to make sure I’m on the right track.

Step 5 - Once my work is complete, you’ll receive an editorial report and/or a marked-up version of your manuscript, and I’ll set up a call/chat to go through it together.

Step 6 - Pay your balance and I’ll send you a discount code worth 15% off any follow-up work or subsequent edits on the same story. I’ll also ask (super nicely) that you provide a testimonial for my site.

And you’re finished! Well, except for revisions.

»what if i don’t like your edits?

You don’t have to use them. You’re paying for my advice and expertise, and while I’m knowledgeable and experienced, I’m not all-knowing. I can’t guarantee that my suggestions are perfect for you, but I can guarantee I’ll do my best to improve your story within the parameters that you provide.

The author-editor relationship is exactly that, a relationship. And just like with spouses, dance partners, bffs, and co-pilots, sometimes the relationship doesn’t work out. But no hard feelings, maybe I can recommend another editor who will be a better fit.

»what do your services cost?

Editing services are priced by the page as follows:

  • Big Picture edit - $1.75 per page

  • Chapter-level edit - $2.50 per page

  • Line-level edit - $3.25 per page

I use “standard manuscript format” to determine page length (most of the time this works out to approx. 250 words per page):

  • 12-point monospaced font (Courier New is preferred)

  • Double-spaced

  • 1” margins

  • 0.5” paragraph indents

For all editing services, 50% of the estimated total is required before the work begins. Because I’m often working on multiple books simultaneously, I ask for 2 weeks for a Big Picture, 3 weeks for a Chapter-level, and 4 weeks for a Line-level edit.

Click here to get your free quote for editing services.

Writing Fixes are priced with flat fees, and you can find them here.

»I paid for a BIG PICTURE EDIT and it was great, but now i’m ready for LINE-LEVEL EDITING. can i just pay for that, without THE FULL SERVICE?

Well, no.

If I did my job the first time, then you hopefully made a bunch of revisions to your manuscript after the critique, and I’ll have to read it all over again.

And odds are good that with structural changes, character changes, plot changes, etc. you’ll actually want to hear feedback on the new parts, too.

But, if you still have the discount code I sent you, that’s good for 15% off follow-up work on the same manuscript!

»do i retain ownership of my book?
»Do i have to credit you as coauthor?

Yes to the first, and no to the second. Your work remains your work, no matter how helpful my services are, and language to that effect is included in the agreement you sign when you hire me.

Like all feedback on your work, you’re free to incorporate or disregard my suggestions as you see fit. What’s more, you’re purchasing my work, so even if I persuaded you on a plot point or suggested a structural solution you ended up using, you bought those ideas and they’re yours now, too.

The only things I want from you are a prompt payment, an honest testimonial, and maybe a referral to a friend or twenty.

You can read the complete terms & conditions here.

»do you also publish books?

Nope. I understand that publishing isn’t the end goal for every writer. And frankly, I don’t love publishing books, I love editing them! I’d do it for free, if I didn’t need the money (I won’t do it for free, sorry). Publishing is a whole different animal with its own ins, outs, etc.

All that being said, I’m working on offering a consultant service to help authors with self-publishing across a couple of platforms (including Amazon). If you’re interested in learning more, email me.