You don’t have to face the dreaded blank page alone. I can help you turn this empty thing into a real book – Sylvia Cary                                                                     —  Photo credit: Morguefile.comTHE BLANK 

How I Can Help You (see details below)

  • Free 10-page read of synopsis, overview, or first chapter with comments
  • Brainstorming sessions (1:1 if you’re in the LA area — or by phone or email)
  • Manuscript or draft evaluation with written feedback and suggestions (no editing at this stage)
  • Writing tips and brainstorming special issues, such as writing about patients, clients, or people you know, legal and ethical issues, using quotes and citations, permissions, getting and using “blurbs”
  • Professional book editing (developmental through line-editing)
  • Self-publishing – consulting on the how-to of it , and deciding if self-publishing is really the best option for your book 
  • Traditional and academic publishing – consulting on how to write a book proposal, its value even for self-publishers, query letters, and how to approach agents and publishers and deal with gatekeepters who say “No”
  • Technical help — book scanning, E-book formatting, interior design, using drop-caps, trim sizes, margins, headers, footers, page numbers
  • Help with ISBNs, copyrighting, photos, covers, back cover copy, etc.

“Writing a book is 10%; Publishing it is 15%, and Marketing it is 75%,” — Dan Poynter

Many authors are shocked when they read the above quote by the late self-publishing guru, Dan Poynter. They think that when they reach “The End,” that’s the end. It’s not. Publishing is divided into 3 basic stages (with lots of details in each stage and in between) — the writing stage, the publishing stage, and the marketing or “selling the book” stage.

Most of the tasks involved can be done online. I’ve evaluated a manuscript emailed from Hong Kong and edited books through to publication for people I’ve never met. If you live in the LA area, we can arrange 1:1 brainstorming sessions. If not, the phone or email will do. 

“The hardest part of writing is knowing what to write.”–Syd Field, screenwriting teacher and author

Start Up Your Computers

Why hire a hired hand?

Because, as it says above under the photo of a blank book, since getting published “takes a village,” you don’t have to do it alone. There are so many bits and pieces involved that few authors are going to be good at all of them. Hiring help for the tasks you can’t do or don’t want to do makes sense. 

Here are the services offered by Cary Editorial & Book Consulting

  1. Free 10-page Read (double-spaced / 250 words a page) –  Email me at and attach your 10-pages or embed the material in your email. Please tell me what you plan to do with your pages — a book perhaps? You may send a Table of Contents, synopsis, overview, first chapter — whatever adds up to 10 pages. I’ll respond with some comments and recommendations, and we’ll take it from there.
  2. Brainstorming Sessions: If you are just starting out and have only the inkling of an idea about what your book topic will be, then I usually recommend a brainstorming session (Sherman Oaks, California area) or a phone session during which we’ll figure out if your book idea is a good one and, what your personal publishing goals are, and which of the main publishing options will be best suited for your particular project. Then we’ll discuss your next steps. We’ll make a “get published” plan.
  3. Manuscript Evaluation: If you’re beyond the brainstorming stage and already have a draft of your book finished or you’ve at least written a number of chapters, then I can evaluate what you’ve done and give you a written report (no actual editing at this stage). I’ll point out possible “issues,” let you know what I think works and what doesn’t, and make suggestions about solutions. 
  4. Development Editing:  This is the “Big Picture” phase of book editing where I’ve read the manuscript and am now looking at it as a whole — Is the book’s topic viable? Is the theme or angle clear? Is the book logically structured? Does Chapter 6 really belong somewhere else? Who is the audience? What needs rewriting or just basic editing? What should be cut out altogether? What will the marketing look like? What kind of cover should it have?
  5. Copyediting / Line Editing: Usually, this is the second or third edit of the whole book once everything is in its proper place. (In reality, there are more edits than this because certain chapters or sections may need to be gone over numerous times) It includes sentence restructuring, cuts, rewrites of certain sections, new segues.. Most important of all, it determines whether or not the book hangs together? Is it interesting? Does it “work?”
  6. Formatting: This involves “techy” stuff like E-book formatting, basic interior design, trim size decisions, picking fonts, page numbers, margins, headers, footers, spacing, drop-caps, end notes.
  7. Proof-reading:  This is the last edit before going to press. Sometimes people use the word “proofing” when they mean line-editing, but in my world “proofing” is THE LAST EDIT and don’t you dare change anything before it goes to the printer! Proofreading focuses on all the details – typos, punctuation, spelling, grammar, consistency, page numbers, facts, fonts, is the ISBN number correct? and so much more. I consider proof-reading is a separate skill as its purpose is to catch mistakes, not enjoy the book! Therefore,I suggest hiring a professional to do this very important job – not your neighborhood English teacher. 
  8. This author of this book thought that giving it to her friend with a BA in English to proof was enough. Then she gave it to a professional proofreader to confirm her friend’s work, and (no surprise here) the proofreader caught dozens of additional mistakes which she marked with sticky notes. The moral of this story is, don’t publish without the aid of some good hired hands. “It takes a village,” remember!


Email your material to and fill out the form on the CONTACT page on this site. Please, no horror, zombie, sci-fi, poetry, graphic violence, animal cruelty, erotica, political diatribes, or highly technical matter. I particularly like psychology and mental health topics, narrative non-fiction, memoirs, and fiction (but no kids or teens). I think you, as authors, will be better served by hiring editors who are interested in the topics you are writing about. 


I find how some book editors charge for their services to be funny! — .062 cents for editing one thing, 1.05 for some other kind of editing, or $1 or $2  per page (try to figure out exactly what a “page” consists of!), or “X” dollars for the whole project (which never ever takes as little time as the estimate — like your monthly budget!).

When it comes to charging, I’ve tried every which-way, but now I charge by the hour ($50), no what part of “getting your book published” I’m working on. It’s all coming from the same brain! I give a guestimate on the whole job, and ask for half up front (via PayPal preferably). If I’m way off, one way or the other, I let the author know asap to renegotiate. But it the job takes me just a few hours longer than I guestimated, I usually eat it. What I care about is happy customers and giving you a book you can be proud of. — Sylvia Cary