Content editing – also known as developmental editing – focuses on the big-picture issues in a manuscript, including plot, structure, setting, characterisation, historical authenticity, and overall writing quality. We offer two options: the structural report and the editor’s report. See below for more details on our reports, pricing, editors, and more.
Content editing options
The structural report provides all the detail you need to ensure your novel reaches its full potential. Typically around 12-14 pages long, it includes a comprehensive assessment of your manuscript and an evaluation of each individual chapter, drilling down into the text to identify problems at a granular level. In addition to assessing strengths and weaknesses, it includes recommendations for remedying any problems.
The editor’s report is an invaluable tool for identifying and remedying all the core issues with a manuscript. Usually around 5-6 pages long, it includes an assessment of your novel covering all the core big-picture issues, plus recommendations for tackling any problems. However, it doesn’t include analysis of individual chapters.
Pricing is based on word count. Use the calculators below to see the cost for your manuscript. Please enquire for bespoke pricing if your word count is less than 30,000 words or more than 160,000 words.
Pricing: structural report
Pricing: editor’s report
“Andrew was one of the first people to read my novel, so sending it to him for a full structural report felt like a big – and slightly daunting – step. But I’m so glad I did. He has an excellent grasp of what works in historical fiction, from little words that were anachronistic to larger plot points that needed to be refined. His thoughtful analysis helped me to focus my attention on the areas that needed improvement, while his praise for what was working well, together with his intuitive understanding of what I was trying to achieve with the plot and the characters, was encouraging and motivating.”
“Andrew’s excellent editor’s report forced me to address lots of key issues (and some guilty secrets) that were holding my story back. It provided a clear path forward and gave me ‘permission’ to make the revisions that were much needed. Thanks to Andrew’s help and some hard work, I now have a story I can be proud of.”
“The structural report I received from Andrew was constructive, illuminating, insightful, and thought-provoking on the areas that needed development. The analysis of individual chapters was particularly useful, raising important issues, from minor to major, that needed attention. Overall, the report’s conclusions and recommendations were instrumental in producing a much-improved final draft.”
How does it work?
How to book
If you’re interested in booking or you’d like to know more, email us at email@example.com. Tell us a little about yourself and your story, as well as which report you’re interested in.
Picking an editor
Once you’ve decided to book, the first step is to pick an editor (see our list of content editors here). Who you choose to work with is up to you, though we’re happy to make suggestions or allocate an editor if you wish. We’ll agree an editing slot based on your editor’s availability and when you think your manuscript will be ready.
Payment and submission
You’ll be asked to make an advance payment to secure the slot, and you’ll pay the remainder of the editing fee when you submit your manuscript. You’ll need to submit before the start of your slot. If your word count is finalised at the time of booking, you’ll have the option of paying in full at that point if you prefer.
When it’s time to complete the edit, your editor will read and assess your manuscript. They’ll send you their report before the end of your slot. You’ll then be able to ask them any questions or bounce any ideas off them as you think about your next steps.
Do review the FAQ section at the bottom of this page for more details.
Andrew is the founder and executive editor of The History Quill, and he’s also our lead content editor. A graduate of Cambridge University, where he studied history, he spent nearly a decade working in the world of politics and international affairs before happily giving it up to pursue his real passion: historical fiction. He’s previously lived and worked all over the world, including in the United States, Belgium, Cameroon, and Botswana, but he now lives in London, UK.
Rachel is The History Quill’s deputy executive editor. She is a graduate of the Open University, where she studied English literature and creative writing. She enjoyed various communications roles before her love of historical fiction finally became too great to ignore. She has completed professional editing courses and is a content editor and tutor with The History Quill. Rachel lives in Essex, UK.
Trained in book publishing at NYU and Oxford Brookes University, Kahina has honed her writing and editing skills while living on three different continents. Originally from the USA but now based in the UK, she enjoys work that indulges two of her deepest passions: story structure and history. She has completed professional courses in editing and is an experienced content editor and line editor.
Barbara is a content editor, creative writing teacher, and former BBC journalist. She holds a PhD in creative writing and is programme leader for creative writing at the Open College of the Arts. She lives in Berwick upon Tweed, England.
Pippa Brush Chappell
Pippa has been teaching writing for more than 25 years. She has a PhD in English and has taught at colleges and universities in Canada and the USA, and at secondary school in the UK. Her short fiction has been published, most recently, in a Grindstone anthology and online in The Virtual Zine. She is a content editor and tutor for The History Quill’s work-in-progress group coaching programme.
Rebecca Ferrier is a seasoned editor, ghost-writer, and journalist. She was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones PageTurner Prize and has released two novels with one of the Big Five publishers, written under a pen name. She splits her time between Bath and Edinburgh, and is a content editor and tutor with The History Quill.
Edward is a freelance writer, editor, and pitch coach based in London. He has a first-class degree in History and French from the University of Exeter, which included a year teaching English in France. He is an avid reader and writer of historical fiction, and loves nothing more than helping people to tell stories.
Before turning freelance, Craig was Editorial Director at the award-winning independent publisher Saraband, where he edited a diverse collection of titles, including Graeme Macrae Burnet’s historical thriller, His Bloody Project, shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2016. Named as a Bookseller ‘Rising Star’, Craig has edited books that have won or been shortlisted for more than forty major literary awards, including the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown, and the Society of Authors’ Awards.
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How long will the editing process take?
The exact timescale will depend on the length of your manuscript. Three weeks is typical for a structural report, while an editor’s report will usually take around two weeks.
Should I book in advance?
Yes, we advise booking one or two months in advance if possible.
Do you edit longer manuscripts?
Historical fiction manuscripts can often be a little longer than in other genres, and we’re happy to accommodate this. Our standard pricing accommodates manuscripts up to 160,000 words. If your manuscript is longer than this, get in touch and we will quote you a bespoke price.
Which sub-genres do you edit? Is there anything you don't edit?
We edit a wide range of takes on the historical fiction genre, including (but not limited to) time-slip, dual timelines, thrillers, romance, drama, action/adventure, mystery, children’s, YA, alternate history, and historical fantasy. We do reserve the right to turn down any project if our schedule doesn’t allow it or if we don’t feel it’s a good fit for us. If you’re not sure, just get in touch and ask.
Do you accept international clients?
Yes! We welcome clients who are resident in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and any EU country. We don’t currently serve clients who are resident in other countries.
What if I want you to look at my manuscript a second time?
If you edit your manuscript to address the feedback in our report and you want us to take another look at it, we’ll re-read it and prepare a report focusing on the changes you’ve made. The cost for this is usually the cost of an editor’s report, minus 30 percent.
What if I'm not satisfied with the work?
Our terms and conditions clearly outline expectations for our projects. If these haven’t been met by the deadline, we’ll offer you a full refund, claimable for 30 days following completion of the work.
What are your full terms and conditions?
You can view our full terms and conditions here.
How do I arrange payment?
We accept payment by credit or debit card, either in GBP or USD according to your preference. We usually take an advance payment at the time of booking (£150 / $200 for an editor’s report, £250 / $300 for a structural report), and you pay the remainder when you submit your finished manuscript. However, if your manuscript is already finished when you book, you can pay in full at the time of booking if you prefer.
How can I send you my manuscript, and how should it be formatted?
The best way is via email. Manuscripts should normally be sent as Microsoft Word documents.