Editorial Services

Manuscript Critique

A written critique of your manuscript discussing content, structure, and writing style—with recommendations on how to move forward. My assessment will target the specific areas on which you’ll need to focus when revising. For fiction, this typically covers voice, characterization, plotting, and dialogue. For nonfiction, I’ll help you clarify your overall arguments, question the larger structure of your manuscript, push you to expand and develop strong sections and eliminate or improve problem areas, and generally help you deliver a manuscript that’s exciting, profound, and living up to your original intent.

My manuscript critiques tend to run five to eight pages; generally it takes me ten to twelve hours to read the manuscript and write my critique. Estimates are provided.

Developmental Editing

Books need to be edited. Period. Everyone’s writing improves through working with a good editor. Pick up a few of your favorite books and check out the acknowledgments. All successful authors—whether writing commercial fiction or serious nonfiction—thank their editors for helping them find their voice and express themselves clearly and fluidly. If you’re planning on self-publishing, I strongly urge you to hire a top-notch editor so that there’s no chance snarky readers will pick up on flaws and your book will then flounder in the 1,000,000 range on Amazon. I love editing. Sometimes this entails a major structural reorganization of the entire book or specific chapters. Other times it’s a question of tone and style and basic cutting and line-editing.

A full developmental edit with me typically includes an initial manuscript critique (described above) and then a line-by-line edit of a revised manuscript. Estimates are provided.

Book Proposal Development

If you’re interested in pursuing the traditional publishing path, you will need a formal book proposal with such components as book summary, book overview, author biography, audience and market, comparison titles, author publicity and marketing, chapter summaries, and sample chapter. As a former in-house editor and an agent who has read and helped shape hundreds of book proposals over the past two decades, I know what publishing boards are looking for in a proposal to give the go ahead on a project. But I also see writing the book proposal as a vitally important exercise for authors to figure out the actual structure of their books and to think through the best ways to position them in today’s extremely competitive book market. If you’re thinking about self-publishing, I think writing a book proposal is an immensely valuable exercise. I’ve just seen so many authors only begin to truly understand their books through the process of writing a proposal.

Come to me with at least the bare bones of a proposal, and I will give you an estimate for three rounds of editing and revision, from overall elaboration and reorganization to line-editing.

"Matthew is a brilliant editor and story developer, and often he challenges me to go places I never consider going. Nothing escapes him."

Felicia C. Sullivan, author of Follow Me Into The Dark
"(My) book was made possible by the energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement of Matthew Carnicelli. It was Matthew’s vision and gentle prodding that helped me focus my mind and put my fingers to keyboard, turning various proposals into a reality. I am very much in debt to one of the best editors and agents in the business."

Joseph P. Quinlan, author of The Last Economic Superpower

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