What kind of editor are you and what services do you offer?
I’m purely and simply a troubleshooter, which in its own way is a sub-set of developmental edits and straddles the line between dev and line edits. In other words, I'm wordy, I talk a lot, I like to tell you why, and I rarely leave anything to chance or the possibility that something might go haywire. If you're not cool with red ink, perhaps we're not a good match. This doesn't mean I'm a mean, vicious person out to get you--it means I want you to be informed and able to make educated choices. You're paying me to help, and I'm a dedicated busybody, although if you want me to stroke your ego, let me know and maybe we can work something out. My rates for stroking start at .01 per word and I'm damned good at it.
Do you handle smaller services like edits on query letters?
Query letters are specialized and can take longer than a short edit. So no, I'm sorry, but I don’t handle query letters, synopsis edits or blurbs.
How many years of experience do you have?
I have worked as an editor since ’08. A developmental editor since ’09. I’ve presented more than seventy (I’ve lost track) workshops all over the place on everything from the transformational character arc, to prologues, continuing arcs, structure of all sort, troubleshooting, subplots, epics, film deconstructions and conflict/motivation (my current fave). Right now I'm doing a series of promo workshops called "Five Pages." It tidies up your story with magic--nah, just joking. It's just short form dev edits with the opportunity to revise and some maybe remedial craft lessons if you need help to accomplish a particular objective. Check it out. I like teaching, and interesting projects give me great joy.
What do you specialize in, and what won’t you handle?
I specialize in broken things, lack of "spark", and people who've hit the limits of what they can do by themselves. However, I no longer handle thrillers, academic lit, super-tangled mysteries or polyphonic narratives.
I’m also not the person you go to if you just want to tell your friends you got developmental edits because it’s the current thing. I’m the person you go to if you have a broken project, got rejected by every agent in the book, have a two star review that drives you nuts, an unlikable protagonist, bad pace, weak characterization, plot holes, lack emotion (where emotion is appropriate), rush your endings, end with more loose threads than a cat toy, want to kick it up a notch, re-target your writing, target more narrowly, or want to change one thing into another (although switching sub-genres (like turning a thriller into a cozy, or a NA into a YA) takes time and would have to be done alongside other projects). I'm also not a copy editor. I won't fix your grammar.
I can handle anything from MG (middle grade) and New Adult, to inspirationals and mainstream fiction. Romance, all sorts and sexual orientations. I also handle cozy mysteries, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Do you have an "editorial" pet peeve (or is there something that annoys you so much you can't be impartial)?
Please have decent tense usage (at least in the eighty percentile). Totally drives me bonkers.
What genre do you prefer?
I read extensively in historical regencies. My faves are Patricia Veryan and Georgette Heyer, not Jane Austen. I don't think I've ever managed to sit through Pride and Prejudice without getting up to find a snack (although the BBC version of the Scarlet Pimpernel? Oh mama, Percy is hot!) and UF, grimdark and just plain dark. However, my library is huge and I remember almost everything in it, so if you're interested in doing a riff on the Boxcar Children, Mara, Daughter of the Nile, The Wyrd Sisters or a serial influenced by Harlequin's Gold Eagle line come talk to me.
What is the hottest rating you can handle?
Whatever you can throw at me. I have no problems with menage, BDSM, alternative lifestyles, m/m, lesbian, or most forms of kink.
If applicable to your service(s), do you use the Chicago Manual of Style, and if not, what do you use?
Are you for or against the Oxford serial comma (and/or parentheses, colons and semi-colons)?
If it works for the story, I’m all for it. I’m not reading for grammar. I’m reading for story. However, sometimes parentheses (in YA and NA in particular) might not work for the story, because of the sheer volume of asides, and in those cases, I’d suggest different ways to get the same material across if that material works for the story you want to tell.
Do you have experience with authors outside the US (spelling, slang, usage, etc)?
I have repeat clients outside the US. I’m familiar with UK/Canadian spellings and usage. However, I edit slang in context.
What is your normal wait time? (updated 4/24/2017)
Due to heavy volume, I've gone back to booked dates. Talk to me at jodi henley AT gmail. com.
What is your turnaround time on returning a manuscript?
If everything is aligned perfectly, it is usually 10 days from when I start on a story. However, that's a generalization. Dev edits are a mind game, and thinking takes time. If you have a super firm deadline, let me know.
** If your story needs extra help because of the level of difficulty, I don't charge more, but I do take more time and if it is super difficult, I'll need to work on it alongside other manuscripts. Turnaround on super difficult manuscripts is approx. 1-2 months.
Also, if you send during a labor intensive workshop, things simply stop until the workshop is over. I hope you understand. I try not to let them intrude, but the geek inside me can't stop answering questions and it ultimately helps your story because I'm constantly refining my craft.
What is your policy on second reads, additional edits, and future questions on the same project or future projects?
Totally free, although additional edits on a story submitted for a second read (which is scheduled as time allows) are “free within reason”. There is an additional fee for a complete set of second edits, as well as a rush second read. Usually I can turn things around in a day or two. It takes longer if it was a difficult edit and I need to go over the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb.
If you are my client and have a series, all inquiries or pre-edit trouble-shooting are also free within reason.
Do you have a policy for squeezing in last-minute emergency edits?
Unless you are a longtime client, I simply can't. I'm sorry. At this point, I have so much going on that cancellations are simply a chance to breathe and spend a little time with my family.
What is your cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel, just let me know. If you cancel and don't tell me, I'm afraid we're not a good match.
If I cancel, I’ll give you what I’ve already done, and credit toward a future edit. If something comes up, it's my fault, and edits on a non-difficult edit drag out past the two week mark, I'll give you a twenty-five percent discount.
What's your fee schedule?
.007 a word. I'm either wildly cheap or super expensive, depending on what you think of dev editors. It might go up in the future. It might not. It probably will, but not right now.
Testimonials and References
Provided on request. Or you can visit All Writer Resources, the new yelp-style site for editor feedback. If you're interested, check me out, if I've helped you, consider leaving a review.
I've recently finished a google business listing. It should pop right up in the sidebar (like any other business). I've been populating it with covers, but since I like to get permission from the author first, and I don't really have time, I've been doing it super slowly. You can leave a review there too. Good, bad, whatever--it's all feedback and I appreciate your time.
I am strongly character-driven and default to character arcs, which makes me better for people who are invested in their characters, rather than their plot. However, I'm also good for people who have a set plot and need their characters to stop fighting the inevitable, because--hey, I teach that kind of stuff. :) And if I suggest changing a scene or anything larger than a simple "delete", I’ll explain my reasoning, because it’s your story and you need to make the judgment call.
Additional information about processes:
I won’t get upset if you don’t take my advice, or if you only take 20% of my advice. You paid, I’m good. However, if you feel push-back to the idea of potentially changing bits of your story, perhaps this isn't the right time. Developmental edits often contain potential changes to your story and/or characters.
I’m also not a back and forth kind of person. Send me what you have, a short synopsis or sketch of what the story is about, where you want to go with it, how you want to get there (your personal writing limits (no this, no that, I refuse to write about this, and I can’t deal with that) or what is already in place in your world) and what’s bothering you, and I’ll send you back a sea of track changes with silly simple fixes that probably shouldn't take but a few days to implement. I haven't done editorial letters for years, because they tend to be vague and honestly--if you're going to be doing this for a living, you need pinpoint control to produce a strong, consistent product.
In other words, I’m not here to hold your hand or confuse you with vague suggestions. I am here to save you time and move you forward so you can get on with your project. This does not mean I won’t answer questions, help, or am not open to your concerns and thoughts as we move through the process, it just means that I’m not a chapter by chapter person and I won’t check back with you unless I have questions you haven't answered.
Please be aware that I might not be the right person for your story, or that my personality and the way I approach things might not work for you. Also be aware that if I edit your work in good faith and you send me angry, defensive letters we will not be working together on future projects.
While I have limited availability, I'm always up for talking. Send me a sample of your wip and we'll talk about it, your writing goals and what I can and can't do for you. If we connect, I know it'll be fabulous, if we don't--better to know ahead of time. Thanks for checking me out!