“If the idea is to get it right, Anita is your answer.”

If you’ve talked recently to a literary agent, you know how tough this market is. Book publishers have cut back on acquisitions and shaved advances. Even established authors are finding it more difficult to get publishing contracts in the current climate. So, how do you give yourself – and your book – an advantage?

Virtually every author, no matter how talented, can benefit from a detailed, unbiased manuscript critique by a good developmental editor (also known as a substantive editor or book doctor). A good editor will look at your book as a whole, highlight its strengths and weaknesses, and make recommendations for changes, sometimes minor, sometimes major. Depending on the type of manuscript, those recommendations may involve changes to structure, characterization, pacing, plausibility, dialog, plot, continuity, word choice – any elements of your work that could use a little help.

But how do you know when it’s time to hire an independent editor? Reasons and timing vary but here are some that are typical:

1. If you want to get your book into the best shape before you submit it to publishers or literary agents.

2. If you’ve submitted your manuscript or book proposal to a publisher or literary agent, and you’ve gotten encouragement but no offers.

3. When your involvement in a writers’ group has taken you as far as possible but not quite far enough to put your book over the top.

4. When you’re having specific difficulties with a work of nonfiction, a memoir, or a novel that you can’t fix on your own, involving structure, character, dialogue, tension, or other issues.

5. If your book starts out great, and ends with a bang, but you lose your way in the middle.

6. If you need help figuring out how to wrap up your book with a satisfying, surprising ending.

7. If you sold your book based on a proposal, and you need more help writing your book than the editor at your publishing house has time to give you.

Of course, to get the most benefit from hiring someone for either a manuscript critique or a detailed line-by-line edit, you need a very good editor.

I am a very good editor. Just read the testimonials on the right side of this page.

“In my years of working with editors, what distinguishes Anita is her terrific sense of theatre and her firm command of dramatic flow. With efficiency and economy, she reshaped, focused, and suggested now and again that I reach deep inside for some answers and promised that I would succeed. If the idea is to get it right, Anita is your answer.”

DENISE SHEKERJIAN, twice-Pushcart nominated author of fiction and non-fiction.

"Prior to working with Anita dialogue was overly long and distracted from the story rather than adding to it. My plot lines took numerous diversions, dwelling on minor characters of tremendous interest to me, their creator, but of little or no interest to readers looking to lose themselves in the story and be pulled along to the climax.

"Anita fixed all that. She was direct. She was clear. And, when necessary, she was ruthless. What emerged as a consequence was vastly improved prose, lean, powerful and compelling.I emerged a better writer with more powerful, more entertaining stories to sell."

CHARLES S. FADDIS, author of the spy thriller, CODENAME APHRODITE (Orion 2011), and several other books

"You were an absolute, absolute joy to work with... You made me think about stories in different angles and kept me focused on the essence of these businesses. You kept me motivated. It would be an honour to work with you again."

MASEENA ZIEGLER, author of Hong Kong's #1 Bestseller, LADIES WHO LAUNCH IN HONG KONG (2011)

"A very belated thanks for the terrific work you did with Susan's manuscript. It is vastly improved."

JUDITH RIVEN, Literary Agent

"I worked with Ms. Bartholomew this past winter following the recommendation of my literary agent. I am the author of four books with the Rosen Publishing Group and Three Rivers Press. This is my first novel, and Anita’s many insightful comments and suggestions have been invaluable. I can’t recommend her highly enough."

VICTORIA SHAW, author of BODY TALK (Rosen) and other books.

"Anita helped me through an extensive restructuring in a concise, methodical fashion. Her comments and suggestions were always on target and her manner professional at every turn. The manuscript was immeasurably stronger in the end."

SUSAN POHLMAN, author of HALFWAY TO EACH OTHER: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home (Guideposts, Fall 2009)