Jodi Henley, Developmental Editor, Rates, and Services

Jodi Henley, developmental editor, rates and services


Updated 7.13.2018

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. 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 something might go haywire.

Do you handle smaller services like edits on query letters?

Query letters are specialized and can take longer than a short story 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 have worked on hundreds of books and short stories, and presented tons of (I’ve lost track) workshops all over the place on everything from the transformational character arc, to blurbs, continuing arcs, structure of all sort, troubleshooting, subplots, epics, film deconstructions and conflict/motivation (my current and lasting fave).

What do you specialize in, and what won’t you handle?

I specialize in character-driven fiction and people who've hit the limits of what they can do by themselves. I used to handle whatever came my way, but as Seneca says, "Time is the coin of your life" and I ran out of money. If you need me to break down your project using a spreadsheet and spend hundreds of hours on it, we're not a good match. Trust me on this. I like to eat and I have a mortgage.

What genres do you handle?

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 of all niches and flavors.

Do you have a pet peeve (or is there something that annoys you so much you can't be impartial)?

I am not against marijuana, and I accept your right (and the rights of your characters) to smoke in states where it is legal. However, I do have a reactionary hot button to stories that come across as a Cheech and Chong reboot, or promote recreational smoking or edibles. This is a personal thing. I hope you understand that I am not judging your work, just letting you know that everyone has hot buttons, and this is mine.

What genre do you prefer?

I read a lot of urban fantasy and romance, but I also like accessible lit (love Ovidia Yu!), cozy foodie mysteries and science fiction. 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, Name of the Wind, the Honor Harrington series or a serial influenced by Lemony Snickett 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, poly or most forms of kink.

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.

Do you do free trial edits?

I've been getting a lot more requests and while I don't mind one occasionally, the volume is getting out of hand. Usually the people who find me are familiar with my work or are a referral. I work to pay the bills. I can't afford to work for free, which is just a polite way to say, "No. I don't do free trial edits." If you'd like to ask me how I'd handle something, and run that by a couple of different editors for comparison, that works for me. But handing me a chunk of paper without a chunk of change--yeah, no.

What is your normal wait time? (updated 7.13.2018)

I bounce between booked dates and a queue (and I'm back to a queue), but the thing about working for writers is that writing is not like making widgets. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. Sometimes people astound me by cranking out 70k in two weeks. Sometimes their kids get sick and they can't think.
 I dunno. Come talk to me and I'll be able to give you a better answer.

What is your turnaround time on returning a manuscript?

If everything is aligned perfectly, it is usually two weeks (or less, if it's a short) from when I start on a story. However, that's a generalization. Dev edits are a mind game, and this kind of thinking takes time, especially if you're clocking 80-100k. If you have a super firm deadline, let me know ahead of time.

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?

I don't do last minute emergencies unless you are a long-term, established client.

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 (14 day) mark, I'll give you a twenty-five percent discount. Difficult edits take whatever time they need. However, once we get past that two week mark, they run into other projects and have to be done as time allows.

What's your fee schedule?

All stories are billed at .008 a word, payable on completion of the second read. If you are new to me, and do not come via a referral, please send a sample of your work.

Testimonials and References

I look at my body of work as my testimonial. I will gladly point you to my five latest projects or writers I've been with for 5-70 ms. You can read the reviews and look at their rankings, etc. References on request.

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. If suggest changes, I will lay out clear reasons why I feel they are in the best interests of your story, and you are welcome to talk to me, so we can find a solution, compromise, or why it doesn't work for you (and why I need to find another way to create a fix, or build in support for what you want). I might be wrong, you might be wrong--it's a process. I am on your side. I am not out to get you, or crush your creative spirit. If that's how you feel (or the impression you get from talking to me) we are not a good fit.

Send me what you have, where you want to go with it, how you want to get there 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.

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 or don't pay me we will not be working together on future projects.

Thank you!