F.A.Q.

Isn’t what you’re doing the job of agents or publishers?

Perhaps it was in Trollope’s time.

Nowadays, agents and publishers are busy people who receive hundreds of manuscripts every month. Simply put, they are always looking for a reason to say no. On the first page alone, there’s a blue t-shirt, a blue ball, and believe or not, the sky is blue! Or, the book started well enough but then it flagged in the middle, and I just never finished it. Or, I liked the premise but I never understood why the main character didn’t just quit her job.

Unless you’re Jeffrey Archer, no agent or publisher will take on a book that requires substantial work.

Believe us, we know how silly the system has become. We’re writers too.

But it’s just the way the industry’s gone. Writers have to become their own editors (as well as their own publicists, marketers, etc.).

What will you do?

Our job is to help you turn your manuscript into a publishable book. You might be a few line edits away, or you might need to go through a complete re-write. Either way, you’ll know what steps you need to take.

We’ll give it the same careful attention we give to our own prose. Each book being unique, each report is different.

For a full book edit, we generally:

  • Annotate the whole manuscript with comments, edits, and suggestions. This goes from identifying its great sentences and pointing out typos, to suggesting cuts and rearranging paragraphs.
  • Add end of chapter (or end of section) comments on tension and pacing so you know how your reader is doing.
  • Focus heavily on a representative chapter (5 to 10 pages) to highlight what needs work, and suggest solutions. This is where you need a writer to edit your work. We’re not leaving that passage until we’ve made it work. Customers often tell us that this is where they learned the most.
  • Address recurring issues and bigger themes in a 6 to 8 page report. This is where we’ll delve into characters, tension lines, and the such. We’ll tell you what worked and what didn’t, and when something didn’t work, we’ll suggest ways to fix it.

We know you’re not paying good money to hear how great you are, but likewise you’re not sending us your manuscript to fulfil some masochistic fetish. You need an impartial take on what works, what doesn’t, and you need to know how to fix it. Feedback is nothing without solutions. We know you want to make your book as good as possible, and wherever we see a weakness, we’ll suggest ways to fix it.

What won’t you do?

Turning a manuscript into a published book is a long process. And although we’re here to give you a big boost, there are still many things that fall outside our remit.

It goes without saying but we won’t write the book for you. Good ghost writers are expensive, and the best will want to love your story before they take it on.

It follows that we won’t carry out the full suggested re-write. This is where the close attention we’ve given to the representative chapter should guide you. If it were our book, we would not only follow our general guidelines, but also bring this level of attention to every single page of the book. Good writing is a lot of work, especially when it looks deceptively simple.

We won’t pick up every typo. That’s the writer’s job first, and the copy editor’s second.

We won’t pitch it for you. There are a lot of excellent resources on how to pitch a book, and although we’re always happy to help, learning how to pitch a book and dealing with rejections is a crucial part of a writer’s job.

What if I’m not satisfied?

We have a no-question-asked 90-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with our work, just let us know within 90 days of having received our report, and we’ll reimburse you right away.

How are you different from manuscript appraisal and book editing services?

Simply put, we devote a lot more time to your book than would a simple appraisal. Our goal is not to evaluate how good your book is, but to make sure that you have the tools to make it better. It’s a different approach and it yields different results.

Likewise, most legitimate book editing services do a quick read of your work, offer generic advice (I couldn’t connect to your main character – she needs more depth), and then offer to help you fix these flaws for an additional fee.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. You might well need generic advice. But we find that sort of work deeply unsatisfying. If we’re going to help you, then we want to engage fully with your manuscript. And there’s a selfish reason why we like to put quality above quantity: every book is different, and every book deserves a different treatment. By identifying what yours needs to succeed, we’re learning that little bit more about our craft.

Think of what you’re after. You might well prefer a simple appraisal to a full book editing package, depending on where you are in the process. If all you need is a little perspective, then an appraisal might be better suited to your needs. It’s also generally cheaper. If you’re committed to substantially improving your book, and don’t necessarily have the tools to do so, then you’re probably better off looking for book doctors.

A word of note: there are a few scam agencies out there. If you’re not sure whether the service you’re interested in is the real deal, email them or ask them to give you a call. You’ll know pretty quickly, but if you still have doubts, consider using an escrow service.

What about confidentiality and copyright?

The work we do is for you and for you alone. We won’t share your manuscript with anyone without your consent.

It goes without saying that you retain the copyright of your work. Likewise, you are more than welcome to incorporate any changes we propose verbatim.

Okay, I want your help. What should I do?

Congratulations! It takes guts to seek outside input.

First, place an order via this link.

Once your order has been processed, we’ll send you an email detailing exactly what we need from you. In short, that includes the standard publishing fare (manuscript, synopsis, pitch/blurb, character arcs), and a questionnaire that goes into your goals and your vision for the book.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email us.

It says my order has been conditionally accepted. Does that mean you might refuse to work on my manuscript?

As a rule, we try to help as many people as possible. But because we put so much of ourselves in our reports (some books take well over 100 hours to get a handle over), and because we offer a no-question-asked 90-day money-back guarantee, we sometimes refuse people we feel are trying to abuse the system.

We can help with just about every type of trade book – literary, commercial, memoir, even novels in verse – but there are some books that still fall outside our expertise. If that’s the case, we’ll tell you, we’ll reimburse you in full, and we’ll suggest people who might be able to help you.

If you’re not sure whether we work with your kind of book, email us and we’ll let you know right away.

You’ve taken me on! What next?

Welcome on board! Now starts the least fun bit of a writer’s job: the waiting. We aim to get back to you within 4 weeks, but it can sometimes take longer.

Take this time to step away from your book. Don’t think of it, don’t dream of it, don’t talk about it. Let it simmer in your subconscious.

Who will review my manuscript?

Our readers are all published writers who’ve spent years editing the work of others (and their own). Whether your main problems are with tension or you’re in need of prettying up your prose, we’ll match you to someone who can help.

Fiction, non-fiction, literary, commercial, prose or verse, speculative or realistic, we have writers who can help you.

I’ve just received your report. How do I take it in?

May we suggest a stroll through the woods? Receiving a report of this magnitude can be quite a handful, especially if you’ve been keeping your manuscript to yourself.

First things first. Remember that what you’re reading is an opinion, not the gospel. It’s fine to disagree.

Second, remember that it’s an expert opinion. Although it’s fine to disagree, it’s safer to start by agreeing.

Give yourself a few hours of peace and quiet to consider our work-over. Read the report first. Then have a look at the representative chapter. It should give you a better idea of what your reviewer means. And finally scroll through the entire manuscript for all the nuggets of wisdom.

The key is to know why you accept or reject each comment, that is, to engage with your reviewer.

If you’re told that a character’s dialogue feels stilted, and you believe that is how she must speak, you need to find a better way to convey her personality so the reader will accept her manner of speech.

Likewise, if you’re told that a section feels rushed, and you agree, then you still need to understand why it feels so. Only then will you improve.

Bring this level of focus down to the line edit level, and you’ll get an enormous amount out of your report.

Often, the report will bring something up that bothers you. In those instances, it can be worth giving yourself a few days to mull the issue over until you’re ready to tackle it.

Will you recommend my book to agents or publishers?

We only do so in exceptional circumstances, when say, a writer sends us a book that needs very little work and that’s just the right fit for a particular agent or publisher. But let’s face it: most books need a lot of tender love and care before they’re ready.

I don’t need a full book editing package. Do you offer any other services?

Of course. Although the full book editing package is our core product, we also offer a submission package.

With the submission package, we’ll review the first thirty pages of your manuscript (up to 10,000 words), your synopsis, and your cover letter (pitch/blurb, etc.). You’ll receive a 2-4 page report delving into the strengths and weaknesses of your package, while suggesting solutions.

The order page for the submissions package is here.

Finally, you can hire us on an hourly basis. Our base rate is $200 per hour.

Don’t hesitate to email us at info@parisbookdoctors.com if you want to discuss custom jobs.