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To compare these rates against industry standards, please visit
the Editorial Freelancers Association's rates chart.

Manuscript Evaluation

$5 per 1000 words

When you've spent months—sometimes years!—working on a project, evaluating it objectively can be incredibly difficult. If you're not sure whether you're on the right track or what exactly your project needs next, Michelle is happy to provide an assessment for you. After a thorough read-through of your manuscript, Chelle will provide a comprehensive write-up that includes examining tone and overall concept; identifying whether it is likely to resonate with its intended target audience; outlining its general strengths and weaknesses; explaining what levels of editing it would most benefit from and why; pointing out what areas might require a sensitivity read and what unique areas of expertise to look for in a sensitivity reader, based on the specific content of the project, in order to get the most out of that service; and outlining any other useful steps that would benefit you in further developing the manuscript. In order to hone in on your areas of top concern, Chelle is also happy to address and answer up to five specific questions from you about the manuscript contents.

A manuscript evaluation is most effective when applied to a completed first draft. Please note that there is a $30 minimum for this service and that word counts are rounded up to the nearest thousand.

Developmental Editing

2¢ per word


Developmental editing's focus is all about assessing early manuscripts on a big-picture level. Rather than correcting language, it deals with overall issues and structural elements. In the process of a developmental edit, you can expect an editor to provide feedback on story structure, pacing, and characterization; point out sections that can be combined, omitted, or elaborated on; suggest ways to tighten up parts of the narrative that are dragging; point out plot holes and themes that don't fit with the rest of the story; and flag elements that may alienate readers. For developmental editing of creative nonfiction, you can expect an editor to suggest ways that the chapters might be reorganized, or divided and recombined, to improve flow; provide feedback on recurring themes and messages with an eye to strengthening them; suggest increasing or decreasing the level of personal information in order to best serve the intended purpose of the manuscript; point out sections that are rambling or aimless and could be tightened up or omitted; and flag areas that might benefit from more research.

For developmental editing, Michelle will provide detailed feedback in an extensive revision letter that outlines problem areas, with general suggestions on where and how those issues might be fixed, as well as more specific observations in comments on the manuscript document itself. In cases where pacing is an issue, Chelle may also include a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of story arcs and plot elements to help a client better understand the peaks and valleys of their piece, and to identify plot threads that have been unintentionally left unresolved or unaddressed.

Developmental editing is appropriate for completed manuscripts in their first or second drafts. Most manuscripts require more than one round of developmental editing, as it is difficult for both author and editor to effectively address all issues at once.

Copy Editing

2¢ per word

Copy editing focuses on the nuts and bolts of language, as well as maintaining internal consistency. In the process of copy editing, you can expect an editor will do things like tweak sentence and paragraph structure to improve readability and flow; make sure the text is coherent and on topic (or at least that digressions serve a purpose, like injecting humour); apply appropriate paragraphing (including for dialogue); curb run-on sentences and comma splices (unless appropriate for the situation or character); check content for consistency in names, dates, locations, mechanics, world-building elements, and other such details; and correct grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb tenses, missing words, etc. (These tasks are sometimes divided into two stages, with the first often called "line editing", but here they're combined. See the FAQ for more about this.) Copy editors work off a set style guide (most fiction and creative nonfiction content published today uses the Chicago Manual of Style) and dictionary (Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Australian Oxford Dictionary, etc.) as their base for which language rules to follow, but they should also keep notes about style choices and other important information that is unique to each author and project.


Copy editing is appropriate for manuscripts that have already been overhauled on a structural level and now only require some polishing. Copy editing is not appropriate for partial or incomplete drafts, and industry standard involves working in Word documents using the Track Changes feature so clients are able to review and approve each suggested edit. Manuscripts that received a considerable number of edits and queries at this stage will be best served by a second "clean-up" round of copy editing (at a reduced price; see below for more details) after revisions from the first round have been completed.


1¢ per word

Proofreading is the last chance to go over a manuscript before publishing. The contents of the manuscript should already be well organized, well written, and easy to understand. In the process of proofreading, you can expect an editor to double-check fonts and formatting (margins, line spacing, running heads, etc.), as well as that pagination is consistent with the table of contents. They will also look for any small errors that may have been missed during copy edits (typos, missing spaces, accidental line breaks, or incorrect punctuation, etc.) and will eliminate any new ones that might have been introduced as a result of transposing and formatting the manuscript copy into design and layout software.

Proofreading is appropriate for projects that are otherwise effectively ready to publish. Typically, this means the editor works on a printers' proof PDF of the manuscript after it's been through the design and typesetting stages, but it's becoming more common for proofreading to be performed on Word documents with Track Changes, just like line and copy edits, especially for works that will ultimately be published only as ebooks.


Please note that Michelle will only proofread projects that have been professionally copy edited and come with a comprehensive style sheet.

Sensitivity Reading

$3 per 1000 words

A sensitivity reader is a specialized expert fact-checker whose focus is on ensuring that the contents of a manuscript are as authentic as possible, as well as flagging anything that is likely to offend readers. Think of it as a very targeted manuscript evaluation.

Topics that Michelle is able to provide sensitivity readings for include:

  • The millennial generation (pop culture references, avoiding misconceptions and stereotypes)

  • Poverty (childhood and adult)

  • Disability and health issues (Ménière's Disease, fibromyalgia, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, hearing loss, chronic fatigue, long Covid, chronic pain, vestibular and mobility impairments, bleeding disorders, reproductive disorders and infertility, stigma, experiences of being discriminated against, experiences of workplaces refusing accommodations either passively or overtly, experiences of paternalism and being infantilized, the social model of disability)

  • Abuse (domestic violence, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse)

  • Mental illness (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, post-traumatic stress)

  • Neurodiversity (synaesthesia, sensory processing/integration disorders, attention deficit disorder, "high-functioning"/low-accommodations autism, ingrained habits and struggles relating to late-diagnosis neurodivergences)

  • Gender issues (misogyny; intersectional feminism; avoiding paternalism, tokenism, and stereotypes)

  • LGBTQIA+ issues (terminology; gender-nonconforming identity; nonbinary identity; transgender identity; bisexuality/pansexuality; dysphoric experiences; experiences of stigma, transphobia, and bigotry; avoiding tokenism and stereotypes)

  • Sexual assault and harassment (realistic victim experiences, realistic reactions from bystanders or other third parties)

  • Fat bodies (realistic depictions of fat bodies, realistic experiences navigating the world, realistic traumatic experiences of same, social fat stigma, medical fat stigma, disordered eating)


A sensitivity read is most effective when applied to a completed draft as part of the developmental editing and copy editing processes. This means doing it twice, with different focuses: once in order to identify issues on the larger scale (such as a trend of female characters needing to be rescued by male characters, harming female characters solely to facilitate the emotional growth of male characters, all queer characters being unlikable or tragic, etc., each of which might require substantial rewriting) and once to identify issues on the smaller scale (appropriate use of slang, flagging offensive terms, etc.). For more about how your manuscript might benefit from a sensitivity/authenticity reader, please see the FAQ.


Please note that there is a $30 minimum for this service and that word counts are rounded up to the nearest thousand. However, Chelle is willing to discuss, on a case-by-case basis, only looking at the relevant parts of a manuscript.


Only one discount may apply to any given service at a time.

Follow-Up Copy Edits


Sometimes one round of copy edits is all a manuscript needs; other times, a copy edit reveals a need for moderate revisions in order to fix continuity errors, clarify sections that were confusing to the reader, and so on. Clients who hire Michelle to do a second round of copy editing with a view to eliminating any new errors that may have been introduced during rewrites (and to continuity-check the fixes!) will receive 50% off that second round.

Sensitivity Bundle


Because sensitivity reading is most effective when applied as part of both developmental editing and copy editing, this service comes with a bundle deal: Clients who hire Michelle to sensitivity read their manuscript during both stages will receive 30% off the second round (to be completed after copy edits).

Supporting Marginalized Creators


Because of the need for more diverse voices in the publishing industry, Michelle offers reduced fees for writers from marginalized backgrounds. (This means disabled writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, writers of colour, etc.) If this is something you'd like to avail yourself of, just ask. How much you say is up to you; Chelle does not require, and will never attempt to coerce anyone into, the disclosure of specifics.

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