Joyce L. Shafer, LEC, Developmental Editor (Book Doctor)
Services for Writers:
A well-edited book that flows and delivers what was promised (or more) is what readers expect. It’s what promotes sales, garners good or great reviews, and prompts readers to become fans asking for more.
What will it take to get that result for your book?
First, you write the book (obvious).
Then you edit and revise (also obvious—I hope).
Maybe you repeat that second step more than once,
until your book fulfills your promise to readers.
(Maybe this last one is not so obvious, especially
if you’re new to writing.)
A developmental editor can assist you to accomplish this.
What’s a developmental editor, you ask?
Someone who cares about you and your book.
Someone you build a trusted relationship with . . .
because your editor wants to help you and your writing shine.
This is what I do and what I love to do.
These are aspects I focus on:
And I can assist you with this in four ways.
As a developmental editor with nearly 20 years experience,
I’ll summarize what’s working in your manuscript and
what needs improvement. This is a straight read and
general feedback service for writers.
If you require a more in-depth service, check out SHOW or TELL.
Your manuscript is finished. Now you need to condense all you’ve written into a tight, compelling one-paragraph description (blurb). Feels daunting? Maybe you tried but don’t like the results. How about letting someone in the know assist you? Go to the BLURB WRITER page for details.
UNFINISHED NOVEL ADVISOR:
Get guidance about how to complete that unfinished novel in the drawer or on your computer. Go to the Beta Reader page for details.
DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING -- TELL:
With developmental editing, I read your manuscript
and create notes that tell you what you’re doing right,
as well as how to improve your book, and perhaps
assist you to amp up your skills as a writer.
I do this by providing creative and technical guidance.
DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING -- SHOW:
With developmental editing + rewrites, I provide notes
and also include suggested revisions, whether that’s for
segments or for the majority of the manuscript,
depending on what best serves you and your book.
Some clients have time to create an outline and
character sketches, but not the time (and sometimes
not the writing skills—which they realize) to craft
a novel. There are best-selling novelists who use
ghostwriters, and some who use co-writers who write
their novels based on the outline, etc.
(James Patterson does the latter).
SO . . .
For the Beta Reader service, visit that page for details.
If you’re ready to move forward or are curious about the other services,
hop over to the SERVICES4U page to learn more.
If you are ready for editing, please respond to the questions on the
SERVICES4U page and e-mail the first two chapters of your book
to me as an attachment.
And by all means, e-mail any questions you have to me at email@example.com .
Check out my NEW BLOG! Ask the Editor:
NEW E-BOOK! What are some of the most common mistakes many new writers typically make? Whether you intend to write fiction or non-fiction, short stories or full-length books, you’ll benefit by seeing examples of new-writer don’t-do’s the author has come across in her nearly twenty years as a developmental editor. Discover how you, as a new writer, can avoid making the same mistakes. Also get easy, quick ways to boost your writing skills, some time savers, and much more. Steer yourself in the right direction with a better concept of the basics you need to pay attention to as you write and polish your first, or next, fiction or non-fiction book. Easy, Basic Tips for New Writers: Things Every New Writer, Especially First-Time Novelists, Need to Know is now available at http://www.lulu.com/shop/joyce-shafer/easy-basic-tips-for-new-writers/ebook/product-22760918.html
“Part coach, part cheerleader, part teacher, Joyce proved to be far more than advertised. From what I thought was a fairly complete manuscript, Joyce identified countless areas for improvement (I quickly found out how much I needed to learn), and painstakingly guided me through the editing process while at the same time looking out for my best interests.” – Eric Berbig, Author of The People's Will
“An editor with a fresh and critical eye will bring things to your attention you never knew existed, both developmentally and in the line/copy editing. These are people who will help bring a novel to the next level. . . . And for those who say they can’t afford to hire one—I say you can’t afford not to. If you’re serious about selling your book, then this is a step you simply must take.” – Andrew E. Kaufman, International Bestselling Author
Let me start by saying that Joyce L. Shafer is a very good editor; actually, let me rephrase that: She’s an excellent editor. I was enthralled by her talents from day one. Avid book readers and new authors often underestimate the amount of work it takes to write a novel. One must consider the following: Mechanics, plot and character development, imperative revisions, and so forth. Even bestselling authors rely on the expertise of an editor, and since we are human, producing error-free prose is a fantasy. A manuscript with structural and mechanical errors is inevitable, irrespective of the skill of the author, and this is why an editor is invaluable. An editor is there to help you overcome the pitfalls. Joyce goes above and beyond to point out and explain flaws in the manuscript and how to improve them. Joyce’s services far surpass that of an editor; she’s a coach, motivator, and teacher. Her honesty, experience, adroit abilities, and attention to details are unparalleled. Her fees are more than reasonable, and the quality of her work speaks for itself. The bottom line is this: You can’t afford not to hire somebody like Joyce. She will turn your story from ordinary to extraordinary, boring to exciting, mundane to imaginative. I am currently writing the sequel to my first novel. Since I've started an extensive marketing campaign for the pre-launch of my book, I’ve been contacted by many editors from several social media sites and, fortunately, I was able to convivially deny their invitation. My answer to their e-mails―”I already have a very good editor.” Joyce, you definitely got my vote. Best editor ever! ~ Nesly Clerge, Author of When the Serpent Bites and When the Dragon Roars
“I’ve worked with Joyce Shafer on various writing projects for years. In 2013, I decided to write and self-publish my first book. Let me be honest: The easy part is writing the content. But I had no clue as to how much detail was involved in editing, re-editing, formatting, publishing, designing a book cover and/or printing a book. Admittedly, I was feeling a lot of unnecessary anxiety due to the fact that I didn’t know what to do next. That’s when, thank goodness, Joyce Shafer came to my rescue, riding her white horse. Joyce created a step-by-step, succinct guideline that walked me through each process from creating the content to publishing my book, including online publishing. Her guideline proved invaluable and allowed me to take deeper breaths and relax during the entire process. I began to feel at ease with it all because of Joyce’s mentoring. In addition, because I was a first-time author with first-time author “jitters,” Joyce graciously made herself available via email whenever I had a question, though she’s also available to set up a time to talk on the phone. Joyce Shafer is an accomplished author, editor, and advisor. Her personal attributes include Universal patience, kindness, and a sincere intention that offers the author unconditional loving support throughout the process of publishing your book. Whether you are a first-time author or not, you will definitely benefit from Joyce Shafer’s professional expertise in the literary field.” ~ Rebecca L. Norrington, Author of RealitySpirituality: The Truth About Happiness [NOTE: This self-published book by Rebecca is no longer available--for an excellent reason: she's on her way to having it traditionally published under a new title! Congratulations, Rebecca!]
“After many years of working intermittently on my novel, I finally decided to give the project an honest shot. When I contacted several potential editors for assistance, the whole experience seemed unfulfiling – until I luckily stumbled on to Joyce. Part coach, part cheerleader, part teacher, Joyce proved to be far more than advertised. From what I thought was a fairly complete manuscript, Joyce identified countless areas for improvement (I quickly found out how much I needed to learn), and painstakingly guided me through the editing process while at the same time looking out for my best interests. Her knowledge, insight, and support have been instrumental in turning my initial concept into a professional manuscript. I consider myself extremely lucky to have found Joyce.” ~ E. Berbig, Author of The People's Will
“Before I began to work with Joyce as editor/rewriter for my novel, I engaged the services of two others, each with backgrounds in literature. A long period of time went by without much forward momentum. I was nearly ready to drop this project after ten years of striving to have my book be a reality. With a decision to make one more attempt, I posted an ad and received numerous responses. Joyce’s credentials impressed me and I’ve been more than pleased with the results and our ongoing working relationship.” ~ Nathan Lichtwar, Author of Peckerwood Twist and Eight Twisted Shorts
“I have had an excellent experience working with freelance editor Joyce Shafer. She is skilled at every aspect of the writing process—grammar, storytelling, style, genre—and is generous with her knowledge and experience. She is a meticulous developmental editor who really took the time to analyze my work thoroughly and communicate her professional recommendations through her manuscript critique services. From a business perspective, she is fair, efficient, and pleasant to work with. All this—and she manages to encourage and nurture new writers, too. Her love of reading and writing is evident in the positive, inspirational way she gives direction. Hiring her is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my work.” ~ K. Heavey, Greenwich, CT, Author of Night Machines
"Joyce Shafer’s editing is seamless. Many times, I have provided her with what, to me, was fairly finished copy and she was able to take this and improve it considerably.” ~ Leeya Brooke Thompson, Author of The Wisdom of Sound and Number: Phonetic Chaldean Numerology--Reclaiming an Ancient Oracle
"Joyce was a joy to work with. She has an eye for detail and helped me express and relay my message with clarity and ease; I felt she understood me. She saw the missing gaps, the confusion in my writing, and advised me in a way that created a natural flow so needed in the manuscript. I highly recommend working with Joyce. She will turn your manuscript into one you’ll feel confident about moving forward with.” ~Esther Adler, Author of Breaking the Chains to Freedom
“Joyce was able to take my gibberish and convolution of uncoordinated words and transform the manuscript into a tight presentation that attracted three offers for publication. She identified my weaknesses in pacing and character development and taught me how to turn these faults into strengths. My experience with Joyce will give me an improved chance to succeed in this brutal industry. No matter where you are on the ladder to success, Joyce can take you to the next rung.” ~ Jim Riley, LA, author of Murder in the Atchafalaya (due out summer 2015)
“Joyce was an unbelievable asset to me in, first, the critique and then editing of my novel. She not only helped me retain the voice of the main character throughout the process, she enhanced it with even the slightest modifications. I was consulted on every change and provided with extensive notes. Her comments were always helpful, forthright, and honest. When I began to look for an editor (and pay each for their overall comments), she was the only one out of the four I submitted my work to, who took the time to actually mark up the manuscript and extensively outline her recommendations. I was very lucky to have retained her services and recommend her whole-heartedly!” ~ Robert Bomgardner, NYC, Author of Everything is Broken
"I have worked with Joyce Shafer several times throughout the past two years, while developing my first memoir. I recall initially feeling trepidation before sending my lengthy manuscript for her critique, fearing the language and material may be too “edgy,” and soon found myself most delighted by the genuine curiosity with which Joyce was able to get inside my characters' minds, and the clear literary expertise she executed toward my work. Joyce offers what seems an intrinsic, while still objective, understanding of story and human condition, from which she offered me thorough and supportive feedback on the structure of my book, character development, and made applicable suggestions for tailoring my specifically unique way with words and punctuation. Joyce also displays communication skills not easy to balance for many in her profession, while able to see inside of and speak to the writer and artist in me. She also holds extensive knowledge into the brass tacks of our literary business and shares this simultaneously in notes that advise on developmental and technical matters. With Joyce's poignant suggestions and critiques, I have been led to develop a working second draft of my memoir and have found professional language to pitch my story. In addition, she has continued to keep in contact with me, even after our work together, often dropping a note suggesting agents and publications for me to consider submitting my memoir to. What more can I say: Joyce Shafer is a wonderful person to have on your team when developing a manuscript, and is someone I have and will continue to recommend to writer colleagues for years to come."
- Maggie Moor, NYC, Author of Skinless: Memoir of a Girl Who Wishes She Was Water
“Joyce, thank you for the work you have done on my memoir manuscript. I hadn't realized how much I needed you until I had done my part of the editing process based on your suggestions and guidance. Initially, I glanced at your Technicolor superimposed indictment of my efforts and I was stupefied and rather offended: my book and I were under attack. Almost immediately, I tucked you under my wing to keep you close because you were consistently on target. Working with you has also inspired me to get going on my next book, as soon as we’re finished with this one.” ~ P. McCloughlin, NYC
"As a new writer, sending your manuscript out to be reviewed by professionals can be as frightening as staring at that initial blank page—unless you are fortunate enough to find a Joyce Shafer. The least you hope for in an editor is technical knowledge of the craft. The ultimate is insight. With Joyce, I not only found both, but also the ability to guide and encourage—challenging me to explore, dig deep, tap my inner-self, and trust my instincts. To a great extent, it depends on your support team. I am grateful to have Joyce as a part of mine.” ~ N. Mancini, NYC, Author of Gutsy Broads
"I have found Joyce to be a truly amazing editor and a most important aspect in the creation of my e-book series, You Fabulous Woman. Joyce is a rare find as her work is fast, efficient, and reliable. She always looks out for the best interest of her clients by going above and beyond the services of any normal editor. It feels great to receive clever and helpful ideas that add valuable relevance to my projects, which Joyce sends regularly. This shows me she cares about my projects as if they were her own and is willing to help me make them the best they can be. The results I receive from her clearly illustrate the superior care that is put into my projects. Joyce is an editor I can count on to be there when I need her the most.” ~ Christie Love, MBA, Author, Publisher
“Joyce Shafer’s critique of my novel helped me to see areas where plot development needed assistance, as well as other aspects of novel writing I hadn’t considered. Along with this valuable guidance, her words of encouragement made it easy for me to get into rewriting mode with a different, renewed level of focus.” ~ A. Bernier
“Joyce, I have reviewed your critique. Looks like I have a lot of work to do yet. I am somewhat embarrassed, yet not surprised. You have given me the direction I need and more. I very much appreciate your work and guidance. This is exactly what I was looking for. You are knowledgeable and an all around terrific person! Thank You.” ~ C. Sprungl
“Joyce Shafer is consistently a reliable, creative, and resourceful writer and editor. I have worked with several writers in my line of work, and Joyce is the one I can count on most. She accepts all creative challenges with a positive attitude, is pleasant to work with, and hands me polished, well-researched copy every time.” ~ James Cullen
“Joyce Shafer consistently demonstrates an ability to sift through and distill a writer’s thoughts into text that targets what is really important for readers to know. Her skills truly enhance the quality of articles and documents for publication.” ~ C. H. Parsons, Editor, NCP