Holiday editing slots now available for new clients!

Between today and November 25th I am accepting new editing clients to fill a limited number of holiday slots. These slots will have 2-3 week turn-around times (time needed depends on length of manuscript) and are reserved exclusively for new clients on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Also available between now and January 1, 2018 is the NaNoWriMo Editing Letter Special. For just $100 you get a synopsis-style editing letter and comprehensive editing plan to help you turn your rough NaNo draft into a polished manuscript at your own speed.
Add a 30-minute skype session for only $30 to any editing package (limited availability).


What genres will I edit?
Science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance, and crime fiction for any age group. If it goes boom, bang, or crash, I can help.

Why let me edit your work?
I started beta reading and critiquing in 2005. Prior to that I was a newspaper editor for a local paper. I’m a hybrid author with experience prepping books for Big 5 publishers, agents, small presses, and self-publication. I know what people are looking for right now and I know how to fix your manuscript.

Email me for samples of my editing style or referrals.

Why hire an editor?
There are no good writers, only good editors. And while every author should learn to edit themselves, we all need help on every book.

None of the books you love went unedited. There isn’t a single book on the bestseller list that wasn’t worked on by an editor. You can write a book alone, but you cannot prepare it for publication alone. A good editor won’t rewrite your book, but they will tell you what needs to be fixed, what needs to be cut, and what needs to be kept.

Every writer is at a different stage of development. All writers (including me) have trouble editing their own work. A fresh set of eyes can not only improve your writing, but can help you refine your style so you stand our in a crowd.

Do you have more questions?
You can always email me at liana.brooks1 @, subject- Editing Question, if you have a question that isn’t answered here.

October Editing Special


October editing special! Book a content edit and hand the manuscript in before November 1st and you get a free query/back-of-book blurb critique with it. The standard submission formatting and rates apply. ($1/page – Times New Roman font – Double Spaced)

What is a developmental/content edit? Think of it as boot camp for your book. Your emotional scenes get stronger, your action scenes get fiercer, your prose loses the flab and comes out fab.

Developmental, or content edits are the second stage of editing. After you’ve gone through and made sure you’ve used the same name for your hero, haven’t left any scenes that way [insert fight here], and have done a basic spellcheck you hand your manuscript to a beta reader or editor to find the plot flaws.

Then you give the manuscript to me. I look at pacing, plot, character development, and context within the genre then tell you where things are working and where you need to do some major work. Content edits keep your book from being flabby, slowly paced, or meandering to the point where you lose your readers.

After a content edit your book will need at least one round of revisions (possibly more), and then a line edit to find any grammatical errors or typos.

To reserve a space please contact me at

Fine Print: 
– I do not edit erotica or horror. I can recommend editors for these books if you need them.
– To qualify for the free query critique you will need to hand the full manuscript in by October 31st.
– This promotion is offered on a First Come/First Served basis. Reservations are highly encouraged.

Editing for #PuertoRico

It’s simple: Puerto Rico needs help.

Three point five million (3.5 million!) people are without water or power, they’re in danger of damns breaking, have limited access to communications, and medical services are spotty at best. These are Americans in need and it’s time to give.

For the rest of the week (until October 2, 2017) every dollar donation you make to Hispanic Federation to help rebuild Puerto Rico gets you 2 pages edited. That’s a 50% discount from my usual editing rates and is first come, first serve.

Five dollars for Puerto Rico gets you ten pages edited.

A hundred dollars for Puerto Rico gets you 200 pages edited. That’s a full novella.

Ready to help? Here’s how:
1) Go to and send them money.
2) Take a screenshot of your receipt.
3) Send me your manuscript formatted in Times New Roman size 12 font double-spaced and the screenshot of your receipt using the subject line EDITING FOR PUERTO RICO
4) I will let you know where you are in line and the estimated return date for your edits.

It’s that simple. You help the people in Puerto Rico rebuild, and I help make your book better. Together we can do a lot of good.


Questions about what I edit or how? Check out the FAQ.


Think Spring! It’s time to book content edits for all your spring releases!

It’s that time of year again! With only four months left before the new year rolls around it’s time to book content edits for all those themed release you have planned for 2018!

The fluffy winter story, the wistful New Year’s Day story, the MeetCute Valentine’s story, even the epic fantasy you have planned for a spring release need to get booked now!

Why should you book so far in advance?

1) Content edits aren’t line edits. They’ll usually entail 3-4 weeks of writing and editing before they can be handed off to your line editor. Even a fast author will need a minimum of two weeks turn around for a professional level of content edits.

2) Deadlines help you focus. Time and again it’s been proven that setting a deadline is one of the best ways to achieve your goals. If you plan on publishing, you need to finish that book, and handing it over to an editor means you stop dithering.

3) Editing slots fill fast! Whether you’re booking a content edit with me, a line edit with someone else (I have recommendations if you need them), or scheduling cover art you need to do this 3-6 months (sometimes 6-9 months for artwork) before you need to finished project.

Ready to see your book on the shelf? Book your content edit today!


Book Your Content Edits Today

I am taking on new clients now!


For a limited time I am taking new clients. Editing slots are available between now and December 1st, but space is limited. Reservations are made on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Full novel edits usually take four weeks, full novella edits (under 200 pages) usually take 2 weeks. These are content edits, not line edits, and you will need to plan several weeks to edit your manuscript after I return it. If you are planning on releasing a new book before the winter sale season I recommend bookings a content edit between now and September 1st. If you are book a content edit you plan to query or publish during the Valentine’s sales season a turn-in date in October or November is recommended.

Please note that my fee schedule has changed from last year. Returning clients will continue to pay the standard $1/page. New clients will be paying at a per word rate of $0.005.

Mention this post when booking and receive 10% off!

Submission Packet Critique (synopsis, query, and first 5 pages) $25
Indie Author Special (blurb, 5 twitter pitches, and first 5 pages) $25 
First Chapter
(up to 20 pages)  $50.00 and a 1 work-week turn around time
Contest Critique (first 50 pages + blurb) $100
Full Manuscript Critique minimum fee of $100 (20,000 words and under pay a flat $100 fee) – $0.005 per word
Prewrite Consult (one-on-one time to help you develop the story before you write) starting at $20
A La Carte (add-ons and package deals) starting at $5
Emergency Fee to Jump the Queue  $50
* all page counts are double-spaced, Times New Roman, size 12 font, formatted for Microsoft Word *

To reserve a space please contact me at





What genres will I edit?
Science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance, and crime fiction for any age group. If it goes boom, bang, or crash, I can help.

Please note that at this time I am NOT taking erotica, extra hot romance (more than 4 sex scenes per book), horror, or gore/slasher books.

What does a full manuscript edit entail?
What I offer is a content or developmental edit. That means I read through your story looking for character development, pacing, plot, and weak points. I usually read through the manuscript 2-3 times leaving inline comments, and writing an editing letter that addresses your weak areas and helps you plan your next round of editing. Because editing isn’t always easy and you still need to bounce around ideas, full manuscript clients are invited to email me with follow up questions and concerns as they edit their manuscript. Previous clients also have first pick when I open my calendar and can book up to six months in advance.

What does a query critique/indie author special look like?
Both these packages include an honest critique of your query or blurb along with helpful feedback and up to three suggested queries/blurbs for you to build on. These will look very much like the free query critiques I’ve posted on the blog HERE. Pitches are the small ads you post on social media and pitch help will follow the same formula I used for #SonOfAPitch, HERE. The turn around time on these packets is usually 3-4 days and you can add the query/blurb critique to a full manuscript edit at any time.

Why would I get a partial critique?
Partial critiques are best for authors who are submitting a few chapters for a contest, or for authors who are on a budget but can’t afford a full manuscript edit. If you’re a self-starter who can take direction and apply a single line of critique to a whole book, the partial critique is the most economical option. You’ll receive the same feedback I’d give for a full manuscript critique, but only of the chapters you send.

Can I see a sample of your work?
Yes, you can! Several of my previous clients have graciously allowed me to share samples of their writing with my editing with you. If you’d like to request a sample, please email me.

Why should I hire you?
I’m cheap, I’m quick, and I know what I’m doing. There are lots of freelance editors out there. I know most of them, I’ve worked with some of them, and if I can’t fit you into my schedule I have a short list of editors I will happily recommend you to because I know you’ll be in good hands.

The main difference you’ll see from freelance editors is a difference in accessibility and style. I keep my prices low because I know there are many talented people working on a tight budget, and I want to see you succeed. I started as a newspaper editor in 2000, I’ve been critiquing fiction since 2005, I’m a published, hybrid author who has self-published, worked with a small press, and had three novels published by HarperCollins. I’ve worked with some of the best editors in the industry. I know my genres inside and out. I know what readers are looking for. I know what agents are looking for. I know how to help you make the book you’re working on be the best it can possibly be.

How To Read An Editing Letter

Edits in progress for DECOHERENCE. This is what the manuscript looked like after I addressed all the issues but before the changes were accepted. Read means a scene has been added or cut.

Editing… at some point in an authors career they will receive an editing letter and a set of editing notes from someone. It might be a crit partner, a writing group, a freelance editor, an agent, or an acquiring editor, but the edits will come eventually. When the editing letter arrives the challenge shifts from writing the book to addressing the concerns in the editing letter.

Here’s what works best for me, take and adapt this to your editing style…

Sit down with a glass of water, a box of kleenex, and your favorite comfort snack and read through all the notes. A novel is not a monolith, it’s an ecosystem of words and a minor change on page 17 can have major ramification on page 406. So, read through first and look at the big picture. Make a note of what’s working and what isn’t. Remind yourself that a crit partner can’t abandon you (see: Rules of Writing Friendships), a freelance editor is being paid to support you, and agents and acquiring editors already have a contract with you so they can’t reject you at this stage. Take a deep breath, wipe away your tears, and buck up. It’ll be okay.

Save time and brain power by going through and accepting all the recommended changes and fixing all the little things that you can. Typos, comma errors, and questions about word choice (did you mean cay or cave? blooded or bloodied?) can be done quickly. An hour or two and your full manuscript will be half-way edited. It’ll be the easy half, but it’s progress! Reward yourself for a job well done you fabulous person, you!

This is a big one that tends to trip authors up. Editors will leave a question in the inline comments “Why didn’t Selena do XYZ instead of ABC?” Trust me, the editor does not want an email explaining the character choice. The answer needs to be put in the text. If you’re lucky this will mean a few words are added in. If you’re unlucky the editing letter will have exposed a major plot hole and you’ll have to do some serious thinking (or cutting – on deadlines I prefer cutting plot hole scenes).

Editing feedback usually comes in 3 waves: first round content edits, second round content edits, line edits. After the first round with a content editor you should expect to write something new. It may be rewriting a clunky scene, it may mean adding a missing scene, but whatever it is there will probably be something to do. By the second round of content edits you should be only doing minor, cosmetic fixes to scenes. And by the line edits you’re quibbling over commas and word choice. The most important thing here is to make sure you budget in the time for these edits. Knowing what to expect helps you better prepare your schedule and time to accommodate the needs of the manuscript.

Before handing your manuscript over to the next step (from crit partner to query, from agent to editor, from editor to publication) do a final, non-editing read through of your book. If you can, I recommend loading the manuscript into a program like Calibre so you can produce a digital file you can read on your favorite e-reader. If you’re an indie author going to print I’d recommend getting a proof copy from CreateSpace and going over it with a red pen (in traditional publishing these are the unedited ARCs and proof copies). The goal is to read through and make sure that 1) there are no errors and 2) that you are satisfied with the book you’ve written.

If you find yourself unhappy with a scene consider your deadlines, what time you have left, and whether you’re being a picky perfectionist and should just let the book go to print or whether it needs more editing. One of the hardest lessons for an author to learn is when to stop editing a project and let it go. Perfectionism is the enemy of progress.

Whatever the goal of the project is, once you’ve finished edits it is time to push the manuscript off to the next step in it’s progression and free your time so you can tackle the next thing on your To Do list. Whether that means posting to Tumblr, sharing the work on your blog, sending a query to an agent or magazine, or handing it over to the formatter for publication that’s how you finish edits. You push the manuscript out of the nest, treat yourself to a night of self-care and relaxation, and hit the keyboard the next work day to tackle your next project. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, celebrate with friends, and stop worrying about the finished manuscript. You’ll be happier for it.

Write For Love – Publish For Money

Start here with Derek Murphy’s wise words:


The number of times I’ve wanted to punch someone for implying that artists ought to starve to create, that our lives and time aren’t worth more than pennies, is a number higher than zero but not a number so high that you need to call the police. So put the phone down.

See that last sentence? “It’s also the reason we have an epidemic of authors who are feeding a billion dollar publishing industry by spending more than they make on their books.” That’s not a joke. That’s the very awful reality of many authors.

Because, somewhere out there in the web of crazy that is the internet, someone told a young author that giveaways and a pretty cover will sell books. The advice looks something like this…

“To throw a good launch you’ll need a great cover ($800), giveaways ($300 w/ shipping), a launch party ($50 for cake and plates), and don’t forget to send reviewers copies of your book ($7/book/reviewer going up to $500 to pay a big name publication to review your indie work)!”

That will generate a lot of buzz. But you’re spending up to $2000 out-of-pocket to promote the book and earning royalties of something like $0.30 to $3.00 per sale (depending on price and royalty rates). If your book is selling as a 99cent ebook (very popular for a time on Amazon) you need to sell close to 7000 copies of your book to break even.

The average book sells 250 copies per year.

At that rate, the author will earn back their money in 26.6 years.


This is where it all falls apart. People do these big launches, they maximize their newsletters, invest in their careers, and then launch a book into the world that is the what cat drool is to caviar. A poorly written book isn’t going to sell.

I mean, sure, you can buy 5000 copies of your own book and make it look great, but it won’t be a great book. You might get a buzz off of it. If it’s erotica you might get a few sales from hate reads. But a bad book isn’t going to sell 250 copies a year. It isn’t going to sell 7000 copies in 27 years. The idea that an author should write anything they want without thinking about market, audience, genre, or deadlines is absolute horse hockey. Telling writers to write in a vacuum, writing for passion rather than pay, destroys careers and leave authors broke and suffering.

Good authors write on deadlines with an audience in mind.

To quote a friend, “Shakespeare wrote to deadlines, with actors standing, handed out for the scripts he had written that day. Dickens wrote for a magazine with a deadline. If he didn’t write quickly, his story did not appear. Same for Conan Doyle.”

Good authors publish so they can get paid.

Writing is an intimate act. For some it’s therapeutic, for other people it’s a hobby. When you publish you are saying to the world, “I have this thing of value, that I have invested time, thought, and education into. It has worth. It will be good for you. It will sell.”

Never apologize for telling the world what you are worth.

There will always be people lining up to tell you that you, your time, your effort, your education, your intelligence, your talent isn’t worth paying for. Those people are liars and thieves who are hoping to take advantage of you. Ignore them. You have worth. Your work and your effort have worth. A year of your life writing and editing a novel has worth. Real, actual, measurable, pay-me-in-cash worth.

Authors as a collective group need to stop humbly accepting the push to starve authors, to make us work for free. A world without art is not one worth living in. Books are an affordable luxury, a vacation in 300 pages. Books are love, comfort, and family to the lonely. Books are happy memories for the sad. Books are magic. The world needs books, it needs authors, and it doesn’t need anyone to starve and suffer to make the world a better place (the whole There Must Be Poor! fallacy is something we can discuss another day).

Know your worth. Charge what you are worth, plus a little extra for inflation. And don’t apologize for getting paid.




But… do I really need an editor?

Spoiler Alert! Editors talk to each other. A lot.

It’s no surprise that our talk often circles around subjects like the success of our clients, the state of the industry, and what’s not working. One thing that came up in a recent conversation is the number of authors opting out of having an editor entirely. It started when a friend who has degrees in writing, over a decade of experience in the publishing industry, and lots of experience editing trying to decide if she wanted to do an honest review of the literary merits of a “best seller” indie book.

What did she find?

1 misused apostrophe
3 overly-repeated words (not used as a literary device)
2 run-on sentences
3-4 redundant uses of conjunctions
10 uses of the word “that” (not including previously cited repeated words)
15 uses of “was” or “were” (not including cited repeated words)
At least 3 examples of missing punctuation
Cliche (3 or 4)
Ineffective / idiomatic / juvenile metaphors.
Sentence variation practically non-existent.
Overly long, rambling sentences.
Jumping subject mid-sentence.
Seriously rushed, made me re-read several chunks over and over to find my feet

…. all in the opening pages of the book.

These are basic errors that an editor would pick up. And that weren’t picked up because the author opted out of using a content editor.

Other editors were quick to point out other problem books. Ones with teaser sentences with obvious errors, or ones with blurbs with typos. It happens. Authors are human. And even Big 5 books sometimes have typos (usually caused by editing too fast or the change being rejected rather than accepted in the final draft). But it’s baffling to see so many poorly edited books flooding the market.

Until someone said one of her clients had canceled because a popular indie author guru (who I never did catch the name of) said indie authors didn’t need editors.

Now… I kind of get this. Edits are expensive, usually costing a $1/page ($0.004 per word) or more. Not every author has a few hundred dollars to do a book that way, and I understand that. The upfront cost for a self-published novel run from $200 to several thousand depending on the cover art, quality of your editor, and whether you hire a formatter or not.

It’s tempting to say that your crit partner can edit for you and that your digital design skills are enough to make a cover. Which… they might be. If you’ve been writing for a few years, have a crit partner you brought up through the ranks and works as a professional editor, and are trained in graphic design – yes! – you can skip hiring an editor. But not everyone is in that situation. Not everyone has the connections.

But you still need an editor.

If you can’t afford good cover art and a good editor then you know what you do? YOU QUERY THE MANUSCRIPT.

Write your query (back-of-book-blurb + word count and title + two sentences about you) and you query that thang! You send it out to small presses or agents. Because, with traditional publishing, the editor and cover art are part of the contract.

“But… what if my book isn’t good enough to query?” … I’ll be honest. If you don’t think your book is query-ready than it isn’t editor-ready or publication-ready yet. If you have edited that manuscript as best as you know how, and it isn’t ready to show a big New York publisher with money to burn, then that book shouldn’t be published. Put the manuscript down, give it an affectionate pat, and go write another book.

Self Publishing is not an excuse to skip the work, be lazy, and publish rough drafts. Your paying readers are not a test group or a beta reader.

Self Publishing means you do the work up front, pay up front, and earn more after sales. It’s riskier, because there’s no promise you’ll make back what you put in, but you have more control over the situation, publish on your own schedule, and have final say on what you do. These are the trade offs.

If you want a career in publishing you need to invest in your work. Respect all the time and effort you put into writing and make sure you only publish your best work. Hire an editor or query your novel. Either way, make sure you get an editor’s eyes on it. You did not spend years of your life writing that book you love only to publish the rough draft. You’re better than that.

The Path To Failure

I have another secret to share, come here. Closer… closer… STOP! Right there.

Look around. Do you see everything around you? This, my friend, is the path to failure. This is where dreams are broken. This is where it all falls apart. We call it life, sometimes adulthood, but what it really is the graveyard of our hopes.

Okay, you can back up now.

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Shake that negativity off. Take another deep breath and look around. You see this?

This is the path to success. This is where all your dreams come true. This is where everything works for you like you are a Cinderella whose fairy godmother took over the mob and took out those two step-sisters years before you ever had to scrub a floor.

Do you know what the difference is between the path to failure and the road to success? There is none.

There is only one road.

Some days it looks like you are careening towards failure. Everyone else took the express route and found their Prince Charming, their book deal, their million dollar dream and you are still scrubbing floors and writing books by candlelight as you weep into your ink-stained hands.

Suck it up, Buttercup, this is what success looks like before they photoshop it.

It’s hard work, long nights, gut checks, honest chats with friends, and getting knocked back on your butt ninety-nine times. And then you stand up for that hundreth time and punch back. Failure is success that quit. Failure is what happens when you stop standing up when you get punched down. Failure is a step on the long road to success.

Cry if you must. Take a deep breath, look out at the scenery. Take a detour and check out the little things. Then get back on the road and keep going because that’s what turns failure into Success.

If you quit because of a rejection letter, or because you didn’t get the job, or because you failed the first test in a class you aren’t giving yourself a chance to be brilliant. Believe in yourself a little bit longer. Stand back up. You’re getting there.

There Are Three Rules To Writing A Novel…

… and no one knows what they are. Or so says the infamous quote seen on mugs and hats everywhere people want to make money off of frustrated authors.
I’m not saying these are the missing three rules, but they’re my best guess for the time being.

1- Write it all down. Too many young authors dismiss an idea by saying “I’ll remember it later” or “it’s a stupid idea.” You won’t and it isn’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s fanfiction, or parody, or something you wrote just because it sounded funny – write it down. Write it, edit it, and polish it before you judge your work. As long as you agree to learn from your mistakes there is no wasted time, and more than one author has become famous writing “just for fun” while they waited for the perfect book to come along.

2 – Assume your reader is intelligent. They want to read your book, don’t they? That proves they’re intelligent. So trust your reader and don’t hammer them over the head with needless details. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and give your reader a minute description of a car unless this car is radically different than the common definition. And get so lost in your love of words that you alienate your reader. Yes, a book set in ancient Rome would be more accurate if you wrote it in Greek and Latin, but far fewer people would be able to enjoy your work. Your readers are intelligent, don’t make them jump through hoops to enjoy your writing.

3- Start editing at chapter three. After your first draft is finished reread starting with chapter three. Many authors use the first two chapters to set the stage and establish characters. If you can start reading at chapter three and enjoy the book the readers don’t need those first two chapters. You may need them as an author, but your audience doesn’t. Of course, if you read from chapter three and nothing makes sense pat yourself on the back, you started your story in the right place!

There, now when someone tells you that no one knows how to write the perfect novel you can smirk knowingly and say,”I do.”

What three rules do you believe every good book follows?

Previously Published June 2012