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 HispanicFederation.org 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.


New Editing Options!

Brand new for the spring season, more editing options!

I’ve added editing packages exclusively for Indie authors who are prepping for launch or getting ready to re-brand a series. And there are now add-on packages for as little as $5! Come see what I have to offer!

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 $1.00 a page minimum of 200 pages
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

The Best Time To Query

There are very few secrets to publishing. There really isn’t a secret handshake or a way to dodge rejection. Every author starts with an idea, writes the book, and has to jump the hurdles to find the right place to publish their book.

For those who think the big presses are the best fit for their novels (meaning the novel will appeal to a large audience of mainstream book-buyers and that the author would like some money up front for advertising), then there are a few open secrets that you might have missed. These aren’t new or revelatory, you can probably find them on any book blog (I’ve published them at least once I’m sure). These are just the tidbits that everyone in the industry takes for granted and assumes everyone knows.

1 – Literary agents close for several months of the year so always check their websites to see if they are open to queries right now.
2 – Summer is con season and, on Fridays, the agents and editors leave work early. If your deadline falls on a Friday, make sure the manuscript gets in early.
3 – Between Thanksgiving (American) and Groundhog’s Day, publishing is slow and full of NO. Everyone wants to clear their desk for the new year and empty their inboxes so agents (and editors) are quicker to say no this time of year.

That means February is one of the best times to query. Everyone is back from their holidays. Everyone is over their “no booze” New Year’s Resolution. Everyone is excited about the coming spring and in the mood to say YES!

And now it’s time for the shameless advertising… If you want your book (or query, or opening chapters, or whatever) edited and ready to go by January, now is the time to book an editor for November and December.

This isn’t the time to schedule your 2016 NaNo novel for an edit (there will be a special for NaNo winners in mid-January). This is the time to get the novel you spent all 2016 working on edited so it’s ready for the 2017 query season (and, with a little luck, publication). For self-publishers, this is the time to schedule your Valentine’s Day releases. Give me your meet-cutes and holiday murders!

So, send me an email and let’s get editing!

Editing Ad 3

Write Opening Chapters That Get Read #LianaEdits

On Twitter I’m making general editing notes under the hashtag #LianaEdits so I can point out errors I see repeated over multiple books (sometimes even in published books – yikes!) One of the most common problems I see are opening chapters that don’t get the story started. Opening chapters cannot be a vignette or a happy idyllic life where nothing is happening. No matter how small the need, every character must have a desire, and the opening chapters need to show us the main characters needs.

The needs of the character should establish the stakes of the book (what’s at risk) and each plot twist should raise the stakes.

Here’s a quick primer on how to plot the opening chapters and raise the stakes so the reader wants to finish your book…

  • A point of view character who needs something
  • An antagonist
  • A call to action

This can be as simple as “Little Suzy wants a cookie but the teacher won’t let her out of class. Then, at lunch, Suzy’s friend suggests they run home to get cookies while everyone is at recess.”

Page 1: The character must have a need.
End of chapter 1: The first antagonist prevents the hero from fulfilling their need.
End of chapter 2: A call to action is issued that gives the hero a chance to fulfill their first want.
End of chapter 3: PLOT TWIST! Something changes and the hero’s need changes.

Suzy wants a cookie but there’s none in her lunch.
The teacher won’t let Suzy call home to have the cookie she left on the counter delivered.
Suzy’s friend suggests they sneak out the school gate and run home to get the cookies.
While the girls sneak out, the school is attacked by aliens and Suzy is the only one who saw!

Original stakes: Lunch with no cookies!
After the plot twist: Classmates might be lunch!