Years ago, I dreamed of being a published novelist. Thanks to Jeff Gerke's editorial insight, I now have six novels in print and more on the way. Jeff has seen the publishing industry from all sides, so he understands what it takes for a writer to sharpen craft and get past the slush pile. He doesn't pull punches. He tells it like it is. Most important, he has a knack for knowing which tool an individual author needs to take it to the next level. I know—because he did that for me!
The Editorial Services of WhereTheMapEnds.com
I love working with Christian novelists. I know this site is dedicated to Christian speculative fiction, and I do have a great time working with the authors of such, but I simply enjoy working with any kind of Christian novelist, especially aspiring novelists.
It is my goal to help Christian novelists better do what it is they're trying to do in their fiction. I love the whole process: brainstorming, plotting, writing, editing, revising, polishing, and, of course, seeing the book hit the shelf. Christian novelists are the coolest people on earth, in my opinion, and Christian novelists who write speculative fiction are the coolest of the cool in my book.
Wherever you are in the writing process, I'm standing by to lend a hand. Hopefully the articles I've posted here about writing and publishing have been a help and an encouragement to you. The books and utilities I recommend are wonderful.
But I also know that books and even seminars and critique groups can take you only so far. At some point you may need a sympathetic person, someone with experience in writing and publishing, to come along beside you and give you some help.
Perhaps you're just getting started in your book and you've gotten stuck. Perhaps you've tried to get through to publishers and agents but keep striking out and would like to know why. Perhaps you've put together a proposal that you're about to take to a writer's conference or an agent and you'd like some consultation on how it looks—or maybe you need help knowing how to put a proposal together at all. Perhaps you love your book but everyone else says it's got problems and you want feedback from someone in the biz. Perhaps you've decided to self-publish but you know your book would benefit from an editorial eye.
If one of those, or any of dozens of other scenarios, describes you, then maybe the editorial services of WhereTheMapEnds.com will provide the help you're wanting.
You can learn all about me at the Who Is Jeff? link, but here's the short version. I have worked on the editorial staff for three Christian publishing companies: Multnomah, Strang, and NavPress. I was the fiction imprint manager at NavPress and Realms (an imprint of Christian speculative fiction that I launched at Strang Communications). I have written and published six novels of my own (see my site). I have been writing and editing and encouraging writers in the Christian publishing industry since 1994. I teach fiction and advanced fiction at several Christian writer's conferences around the country. I am also the publisher of a small indie publishing company called Marcher Lord Press. And I like Mountain Dew, but that's beside the point.
In short, I am qualified from virtually every aspect of the Christian publishing industry to evaluate your writing and help you make it publishable.
These are the services I offer to individuals like yourself, to agents, and to publishing companies. If you don't see something on the list that fits what you need, just drop me a note and we'll work something out. For current rates, click here and send a blank message. You'll get an automatic reply with the rates.
Note that in May 2008 I revised these services and my pricing structure. If you were familiar with the old way you might want to take a careful look at what follows, as some things have changed.
This is the most common service I provide. When I do an editorial review for you I read over your manuscript and give you a 2-4-page overview of it from my perspective as a former acquisitions editor and current publisher.
I'll evaluate the strength of your beginning, the originality of your premise, how engaging your story is, how high your fiction craftsmanship is, what your book's strengths are, and what are the major areas of improvement to concentrate on. Finally, I'll discuss your book's marketability (i.e., it's "chances") in Christian publishing.
For the low price and the quick turnaround time, this is often the most cost-effective service for writers, agents, and publishers alike.
If you want to know what may be sabotaging your efforts at getting your book published, this is the service for you.
This may be the best editorial help you will ever receive. In a comprehensive critique (also known as a substantive edit, developmental edit, or macro edit) I go deep with you on your book. Way deep. I give you a 10-20-page review document that is worth much more than its weight in gold.
In a comprehensive critique I tell you not only what's working and what's not working, but exactly where it isn't working, exactly why it isn't working, and exactly how to fix it. You get both the strategic big picture and the tactical brass tacks views of your manuscript.
You'll receive a document containing an overview followed by a painstaking, itemized list of specific comments so thorough that you may find yourself momentarily overwhelmed. But you will find it an invaluable guide as you revise your novel.
My fee for a comprehensive critique is, as you would imagine, higher than for an editorial review. But what you are getting is superior to an editorial review. Indeed, what you're getting with a comprehensive critique is superior to what you'd get from reading a book on writing or from sitting in a conference workshop with 60 other people while the teacher doesn't talk specificially about your book. What you get is better even than one-on-one tutoring.
What you're getting with a comprehensive critique is master's degree-level instruction about the craft of fiction as it specifically relates to your novel.
Writers who receive one of my comprehensive critiques find their writing —not to mention their prospects at being published—hugely improved. If you're serious about knowing how to drastically raise the level of your fiction craftsmanship and storytelling abilities, a comprehensive critique is for you.
Note that I can do a comprehensive critique on all or only a portion of your manuscript. If the former, we will arrange payment based on your total wordcount. If the latter, you pay my hourly rate to simply begin at the beginning and keep giving you these detailed notes until the hours you've paid for run out.
For one hour you'll receive at least 2 pages of overview and detailed notes the likes of which you may not have seen before, especially about your own writing.
I've priced it this way because I want to be sure everyone, no matter his or her budget, has access to at least a taste of the help available through the comprehensive critique. And if you like what you see you can always buy more hours.
A comprehensive critique is the first half of a full edit. Indeed, some editors even consider a comprehensive critique to be a full edit. You can see that in the alternate terms used to describe it: substantive edit, developmental edit, or macro edit. In my mind, though, a full edit includes this stage (the comprehensive critique) and the next phase, which is often called a line edit. See "Full Edit" below for more on this.
Because the comprehensive critique is such a large portion of a full edit, if you have me do a comprehensive critique of your manuscript and then later want me to do a full edit, the cost of the comprehenstive critique is deducted from the cost of the full edit.
As I mentioned above, when I do a full edit it consists of two major components: the comprehensive critique (or substantive edit) and the line edit.
A line edit is where I go into the manuscript itself (after you've revised it according to my suggestions in the comprehensive critique phase) and fix sentences, clarify points, suggest bridges, ask questions, correct formatting, identify showing vs. telling or POV errors, and request new content. It's very much the sleeves-rolled-up portion of the process.
There is a lot of give-and-take between you and me during a full edit. It will always remain your book. At the end of the full edit the manuscript will be ready to be handed off to a copyeditor for a final grammar and punctuation check before being given to the typesetter and then the printer.
For more on how I work with a manuscript and its author, see the section "The Editorial Process" on my page about how to get your novel published.
If you're ready to self-publish or if you just want someone to come and help you do the works, then a full edit is just the ticket for you.
If you've put together a proposal for your novel and you'd like a former fiction acquisitions editor to give you professional feedback on it before you send it out to an agent or editor, or before taking it to a writer's conference, this service could be for you.
You'll get my assessment of how your proposal looks, whether it's got the right pieces, and insight into what acquisitions editors tend to care about (and what they don't care about) in a proposal. You'll also get my opinion on how marketable I think your idea is in the current Christian publishing landscape. I'll give you my take on whether or not your story sounds interesting and whether or not your synopsis holds together. You'll even get a quick take on how strong your fiction skill-set appears to me based on the samples you include.
In short, I'll tell you what I would've told you—and, more importantly, what I would've decided —if you'd sent this to me when I was a full-time fiction acquisitions editor. Where else are you going to get that, baby? :-)
Note that in a proposal review I don't critique your sample chapters. I'll glance at them, but the purpose of a proposal review is to tell you what an acquisitions editor will think about your proposal, primarily the front matter.
If you want a review on your fiction craftsmanship, consider the first 10 pages review, the comprehensive critique, or the full edit.
First 10 Pages Review
An acquisitions editor can tell so much about an author's style, skill, and storytelling abilities based only on the first 10 pages of the manuscript. You'd be surprised.
Truth be told, it's probably enough to read the first 3 pages, but I've put 10 just to be safe.
Send me the first 10 pages (double-spaced) of your novel and I'll give you a professional assessment of what I see that's working and what I think you may need to work on.
You've got your novel written and a great synopsis all made up, but you just don't know what kind of format everything should go in. You want your proposal to look professional, but you don't have a clue what to do to make that happen.
I've been creating and evaluating proposals for over twelve years. In my capacity as acquisitions editor I've reviewed hundreds of proposals. Some looked great and some were awful. Some had everything I required, others didn't have enough, and some even had too much.
I can help you put together a fiction (or nonfiction) proposal that will be sure to meet the standards acquisitions editors expect. You write up and send me all the pieces the proposal needs, including the sample chapters, and I'll put it all together for you. Then I'll send it back to you and you can start sending it out to agents and editors.
Writing and Co-Writing
As I've said previously I'm a published author myself. I have six novels of my own plus two co-authored nonfiction works. I've written scores of articles, curriculum, short stories, screenplays, and even comic book scripts. I've written advertising copy, opinion pieces, and comedy, and have taught writing at writer's conferences.
All that to say: If you need a writer or co-writer for a project I could be your man.
I don't do ghostwriting. I feel that the reader deserves to know who actually wrote the book he or she is reading. But just about any other kind of writing, I can do.
But know that this is the most time-intensive, and therefore the most expensive, of the services I offer. If you're thinking you'll pay me to write this awesome SF idea you've had about intergalactic boll weevils, well, I could be persuaded to do so. For a price.
Other reasons to use me in this capacity are if you want to learn the ropes of novel writing by pairing up with a published author or if you really do just want your story written but need someone else to do so. Whatever your need, I'm willing to talk.
New Item: Consulting
I enjoy speaking with authors, especially Christian speculative novelists, about their writing or publishing situations. Maybe you're stuck on something or want professional advice. I'm happy to do so and I have an hourly and half-hourly rate to accommodate.
Drop me an e-mail and we'll line up a phone call.
Remember, for a listing of current rates, click here and send me a blank message. You'll get an automatic reply with a listing of my rates.
Thank you for considering WhereTheMapEnds.com's editorial services!