Thayer Literary Services ~ Book Editing


What I do

My services include manuscript evaluation, critique-writing, copy editing, line editing, and proofreading.


I work on a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction, but I specialize in genre fiction, including mystery/suspense, action/adventure, thrillers, crime, and horror. I also accept mainstream, literary, historical, science fiction, regional, and young adult, plus nonfiction books of various kinds. You may query me about other types of fiction and any kind of nonfiction book.


What I don’t do

I do not work on poetry, children’s books, highly technical scientific or mathematical works, or screenplays. Neither do I work on stories that involve violence against animals.


I am not a literary agent, and I cannot help you get your book published other than by helping you to make your book the best that it can be. Then you will have a vastly improved chance of finding a literary agent.



"You write the Cadillac of critiques.”


All services include a free initial consultation and follow-up questions and answers after you receive my critique. Fees for reading and editing are calculated using the total word count of your manuscript. I can give you an exact quote if you tell me the word count and a little about your book.



I highly recommend this service to budding writers.


Includes reading the whole manuscript, with errors marked and notes made on the pages, along with a substantial critique. The two-part report typically runs to 30 or more single-spaced pages. The Literary section covers the essentials of plot, characterization, dialogue, setting, point of view, scene construction, and other things. It may also include such topics as point of view shifts, flashbacks, character motivation, housekeeping, backtracking, forecasting, inconsistencies, tone, attitude, and pacing. The Technical section discusses errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, and other issues. All topics reference examples in your text.


For nonfiction books, the Literary section includes topics such as the effectiveness of the Introduction; the freshness of the author’s approach; clarity of purpose and target audience; educational and entertainment value; unity, coherence, and development; use of dramatic techniques, anecdotes, and fictional conventions; author’s voice/tone/attitude; inappropriate repetition; and how well the book conforms to the conventions of its type (self-help, how-to, memoir, etc.).



If your writing is below the minimum standards of readability, I will say so. In such cases I read about 50 pages of the beginning of the manuscript and about 50 pages at the end, then write a short report. I charge only for that work and refund the difference.



Your text will not be copyedited during read-and-critique services. I will consider your manuscript to be a first-draft work in progress. The goal at this point is to catch and explain errors and to offer insights and suggestions about how you can improve your craft and revise your work into a more readable and marketable book.



I copyedit manuscripts that are well written and close to final form—not rough first drafts. I prefer to edit directly on a word-processing file, using the Track Changes feature of Microsoft Word.



This labor-intensive service is offered only for manuscripts that are near final-draft form, including manuscripts that a writer and I have developed together through two or more revisions. Line editing is a comprehensive fix-all that often includes some rewriting. This is the stage where I strive to correct every error. I also query the author about such things as issues of clarity, points of fact, inconsistencies, etc. In addition, I send the author seperate files that contain more information about problems I found in the ms. I prefer to do line editing directly on a word-processing file.


The cost is based on the total word count and the nature of the material and figured on my completing seven to ten pages an hour (the industry standard). The fee increases if I’m required to do extensive revisions and/or rewriting. I typically begin work with a sample chapter and a deposit from the writer in order to determine my pace and to provide the writer with an accurate quote to complete the project.





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John Steinbeck

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