Yes, I’ll Edit Your Sample Chapters

Send an agent only your best work.

The author had finished his novel, but knew it wasn’t quite ready to send to an agent. He wanted the sample chapters in his proposal to make a great first impression—and he’d get one chance.

So he asked if I’d help. Would I edit just his opening chapters?

I’d edited only full manuscripts, but why not? It’s easy to fit in a project of just 3,000 to 6,000 words—especially compared with a 75,000-word novel.

A few days after I received his check, I sent him two versions of his chapters. One, using tracked changes, showed everything I’d done to make the opening shine: every insertion and every deletion. The other presented a clean manuscript: how it would read with all the editing changes accepted—ready to attach with his book proposal.

While the second version looked pretty, the author could derive the greater value from the one with my changes visible.

In front of him are examples of all the types of editing changes he likely needs to make throughout the full manuscript. Among them:

• format corrected
• punctuation standardized
• surplus words deleted
• dialogue streamlined
• attributions made less intrusive
• redundant modifiers trimmed
• too-long paragraphs divided

In effect, he received a custom, advanced course in contemporary fiction.

If you could use something similar, let me know.

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About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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