Jessica McKelden

Jessica McKelden - Editor

Millersburg, OR, USA

I am a developmental and copy editor with over ten years experience working with NYT Bestselling Authors, specializing in fiction genres.

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Overview

As a freelance copy editor and graphic designer, I've worked with my fair share of authors, publishers, students, and writers of all skill levels. I started my editing journey over ten years ago in the world of romance. While romance novels will always be my first love, I have experience with non-fiction works, college-level papers, website and collateral copy, articles and blogs, and fiction novels that run the gamut of genres. My client list includes Tule Publishing and their long list of New York Times Bestselling Authors.

When beginning a new editing project, I love to hear about your goals for the project, which allow me to align myself with your vision. My ultimate goal will always be to help your writing become the best it can be, but there may be specific weaknesses you want me to help you address. This is also a great time to discuss your publishing goals, your target audience, or any other questions that have come up. Need a little formatting help? No problem. Not sure about your characterization of a particular character? I can pay special attention to that person! Unsure if you have enough foreshadowing before the big reveal? I'll be sure to take note!

My most popular package is a combination of Developmental AND Copy & Line Editing in a single project, which saves time and is more cost effective than individual projects. If you'd prefer to do one round of editing at a time, that's okay too! Whatever works best for your writing process is best for you!


Want to know a little more about me? Check out this article I wrote for Reedsy's Freelancer blog: https://blog.reedsy.com/freelancer/jessica-mckelden-building-an-editing-business/


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Not sure which editing service is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of my different offerings:


DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING: Developmental Editing, sometimes called content editing, takes a look at story-level elements, including overall plot and pacing, characterization, setting, and world building. This is typically the first round of editing you’ll have done on a manuscript. I’ll take a look at the way the scenes and chapters fit together, always analyzing your story with the reader in mind. I’ll also focus heavily on goal, motivation, and conflict for your characters, as well as considerations for genre or target audience. This service can be combined with Copy Editing.


This service is for authors who have finished at least two drafts of their manuscript on their own, authors who have not had any other editing services done on this particular manuscript, and authors who are interested in self-publishing or traditional publishing.


This service includes the following:

- In-line edits focusing on story-level elements, like plot and pacing, characterization, and world building.

- Positive feedback and suggestions

- A long-form editorial letter that includes my thoughts about the story as a whole, as well as my suggestions for bringing it to the next level. Typically runs from 3 to 10 pages.

- My working style guide that includes a dictionary of spelling and grammar choices that were made, short character profiles, timeline references, location profiles, brief summaries of each chapter and scene, and more

- Ongoing message support to answer questions and offer clarify after project is done, as necessary


This service does NOT include Copy & Line Editing or Proofreading.


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COPY & LINE EDITING: Copy & Line Editing takes a look at sentence-level elements, including spelling, grammar, and overall readability. This is typically the second round of editing you’ll have done on a manuscript, right after Developmental Editing. This is an in-depth edit that will clean up your writing while improving flow and readability for your reader. This service can be combined with Developmental Editing.

This service is for authors who have already had Developmental Editing done; authors who are done making story edits and are ready for spelling, grammar, and light formatting; and authors who are interested in self-publishing or traditional publishing.

This service includes the following:

- In-line edits focusing on sentence-level elements, including: spelling (checking British, Australian, Canadian, or American spelling and consistency); grammar (punctuation, sentence structure, tense consistency, etc.); basic fact checking; tenses (with your chosen tense in mind); word choice suggestions (such as regional slang, writing for your audience, basic readability and flow, dialogue that feels natural for the character, etc.); consistency, continuity, syntax, wordiness, clarity, repetition, point-of-view deviations, awkward writing, and glaring plot holes; preservation of the author’s voice, tone, and style; light formatting (including extra space removal, obvious paragraph break or spacing issues, heading consistency, etc.)

- Chapter sequence verification

- Positive feedback and suggestions

- My working style guide that includes a dictionary of spelling and grammar choices that were made, short character profiles, timeline references, location profiles, brief summaries of each chapter and scene, and more

- Ongoing message support to answer questions and offer clarify after project is done, as necessary

This service does NOT include Developmental Editing, Proofreading, or an editorial letter.


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PROOFREADING: Proofreading is the final typo and error check before publication. This is typically the final round of editing you’ll have done on a manuscript, right after Developmental Editing and Copy and Line Editing. Proofreading can be done on the final Word file before formatting, or it can be done on the final, formatted PDF file.


This service is for authors who have already had both Developmental Editing and Copy & Line Editing done, authors who are done making changes to their manuscript, and authors who are interested in self-publishing.


This service includes the following:

- In-line edits to catch any remaining typos or errors

- A review of spelling, grammar (punctuation, sentence structure, tense consistency, etc.), consistency, and continuity

- Chapter sequence verification

- Positive feedback and suggestions

- My working style guide that includes a dictionary of spelling and grammar choices that were made, short character profiles, timeline references, location profiles, brief summaries of each chapter and scene, and more

- Ongoing message support to answer questions and offer clarify after project is done, as necessary


This service does NOT include Developmental Editing, Copy & Line Editing, Proofreading, an editorial letter, rewording or large-scale suggestions, critique or review of your actual content, formatting at any level.


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EDITORIAL ASSESSMENT: An Editorial Assessment, sometimes called a manuscript evaluation or a manuscript critique, takes a look at story-level elements, including overall plot and pacing, characterization, and world building. Like Developmental Editing an Editorial Assessment includes an editorial letter, but not in-line manuscript edits. This is typically done before any other editing services, when the author isn’t sure the plot, characterization, or world building works at all. I’ll take a look at the way the scenes and chapters fit together, always analyzing your story with the reader in mind. I’ll also focus heavily on goal, motivation, and conflict for your characters, as well as considerations for genre or target audience. This is typically a quicker and less expensive option than Developmental Editing, as it’s not as comprehensive.


This service is for authors who have finished at least one draft of their manuscript on their own, authors who have not had any other professional editing services done on this particular manuscript, authors who are comfortable working primarily on their own and with less instruction from the editor, authors who are stuck on a particular plot point and need some help nudging the plot along, authors who have been through the professional editing process at least once before on a different manuscript, and authors who are interested in self-publishing or traditional publishing.


This service includes the following:

- A long-form editorial letter that includes my thoughts about the story as a whole, as well as my suggestions for bringing it to the next level. Typically runs from 3 to 10 pages.

- Positive feedback and suggestions

- My working style guide that includes a dictionary of spelling and grammar choices that were made, short character profiles, timeline references, location profiles, brief summaries of each chapter and scene, and more

- Ongoing message support to answer questions and offer clarify after project is done, as necessary


This service does NOT include in-line edits or comments in the manuscript itself, Copy & Line Editing, or Proofreading.


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GENERAL FAQS ABOUT MY SERVICES:


SCHEDULING:

- When you request a quote, please let me know what dates would work best for you, if any. I will do my best to accommodate. It's totally okay if you're not quite done with your manuscript--just let me know and we can get something scheduled for the future!

- I often book out 3+ months in advance, so I urge you to reach out to book as soon as possible.

- My minimum project length is typically one month, so I have a little wiggle room in my schedule for when life happens. If you’re in a rush, we can chat about scheduling shorter projects, which are dependent entirely on my existing project schedule. Project lengths ultimately depend on the length and complexity of the novel and the requested services.


PAYMENT:

- I can split payments into a maximum of six payments spread out over six months. Just let me know if you’re interested in a payment plan and I’ll customize your quote according to your needs. If you do choose a payment plan, I do not start working on your manuscript until I have received at least 50% of the total, and I do not send the final deliverables until I’ve received 100% of the total. You will not receive the edited manuscript or any other deliverables until the end of the project.

- Payments are nonrefundable. Payments for incomplete projects may be applied to future projects if the future project begins within one year of the original project’s cancellation.

- Rates may be changed at any time, and unaccepted quotes will be honored for up to 6 months. After 6 months, I may ask you to submit a new quote request.


MISC:

- I’m open to working with nearly every genre and target age, with the exception of children’s books. I have edited manuscripts for middle grade, young adult, new adult, and adult audiences. I edit primarily fiction novels, and accept a very limited amount of nonfiction, and only in the areas of my interest. When I read for pleasure, I typically reach for romance novels, historical fiction, or women’s fiction, but I’m open to any genre.

- All personal information will remain confidential, with the exception of your name and the title / cover of your book upon publication, which will be used in my portfolio and testimonials/reviews.

- My services do not include working on partial manuscripts, non-fiction fact checking or citation verification, ghostwriting, subject expertise, translating, editing in any languages other than English, or voice or video calls.


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Ready to get a quote?


I'd love to quote your project! The more information you can provide, the more helpful I can be. Tell me about your goals and plans for your manuscript and I'll be happy to tailor my offer to you! Not sure what information to provide? Here are some suggestions:
- What are your publication goals? Will you be self-publishing or are you going to be submitting to agents or publishers?
- What do you feel are your weaknesses?
- Are you happy with your plot / conflict / characterization / etc.? What things do you think you might need to change or adjust?
- Who is your target audience?
- What genre do you think your manuscript fits into?
- What was the inspiration for your story? Is there any particular theme that you tried to weave in?
- What are your goals after this round of edits is complete?
- Have you had your manuscript edited yet? If so, what type of editing? Have you had beta readers?
- Is this the first novel you've written?
- Are there any areas you'd really like me to concentrate on while I'm editing?


Can't wait to chat with you!

Languages
English (AUS)
English (CAN)
English (NZ)
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
New Adult
Romance
Women's Fiction

Work experience

Freelance Copy Editor

Self-employed
March, 2010 – Present (over 12 years)

I offer both freelance copy editing and proofreading services for fiction novels. I work with publishing houses (including romance publisher Tule) and one-to-one with authors. Open to working with new and seasoned authors alike.

Portfolio (24 selected works)

Steal My Heart

O'Brian, Aimee

A Texas Christmas Wish

Callen, Alissa

Caught in the Pot

Short, Hogan

Jessica has 47 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Chip Wiegand
The work she did exceeded anything I thought I would be receiving. And she finished and sent me the finished work on the exact day quoted.

Chip Wiegand, June 2022


Bree Bennett
I don't even know where to begin! This is my second time working with Jessica and she is fabulous. She understands my style of writing and edits accordingly but isn't afraid to give feedback or call out mistakes. I always learn something new working with her. I will definitely keep reaching out to her for collaboration!

Bree Bennett, May 2022


Iris Dorbian
Just received my manuscript back from Jessica and I'm so impressed with how thorough, precise and detailed she was in her edits and comments. She really gave me a very clear and coherent roadmap on what worked and what didn't while also offering very helpful revision suggestions. I'm very grateful for her in doing this because it'll make the revision process ever so much easier and smoother. I ...
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Iris Dorbian, May 2022


Monica Sanford
Working with Jessica was a perfect choice. She was very quick to respond to questions. She was so thorough and analyzed each character, each chapter, each storyline etc and gave an editorial comments and suggestions. She was very respectful and thoughtful while giving extremely helpful feedback. I would work with her again on any work without hesitation.

Monica Sanford, May 2022


S.D. Goldman
Jessica far exceeded my expectations as an editor. Her notes and edits were clear and concise and her supplemental information (style sheet, etc.) was extremely beneficial in helping me craft my story. I highly recommend her having worked with several editors on Reedsy given her professionalism and quality of work. Great experience overall!

S.D. Goldman, April 2022

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