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:

“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 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

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Why hire a hired hand?

Because getting published “takes a village” and trying to do it alone is hard. 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. 

Services offered by Cary Editorial & Book Consulting

  1. Free 10-page Read (double-spaced / 250 words a page) –  Email pages as an attachment or embed in your email. Give me an idea of your game-plan for your pages — a book? 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/Interior Design: This involves “techy” stuff like eBook 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 publication. It 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 a skill separate from editing and usually suggest hiring a professional to do this very important job – not your neighborhood English teacher.

    The 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!

Contact Information:

If you are interested in any of the above services, please contact me at 

There are certain genres I don’t deal with: 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 grown-up fiction (no kids or teens).. 


I charge by the hour.