For questions or booking: jmercerbooks@gmail.com

Full manuscript critique

Do you feel your story is missing something but aren’t quite sure what? Or maybe you know what the problem is but aren’t sure how to fix it. If you’ve taken your story as far as you can, or need help knowing where to go next, this is the edit for you. With this critique, I’ll read for plot, character, pacing, setting and world-building, description, consistency, clarity, and tone/voice.

What you’ll receive is an overview on what is and isn’t working, suggestions for possible fixes, some brainstorming in order to jump start your own creativity to find new solutions, overall strengths of your manuscript and writing, and any spots I see that you missed an opportunity to deepen or strengthen your story. Line edit habits you lean heavily on will also be noted, along with suggestions on how to smooth your personal prose. This will come via an editor letter, inline comments, and a follow up conversation for questions and clarity via Marco Polo, Zoom, or a good old-fashioned phone call. For an additional $50, I’ll also run two passes of your query letter, once before I read your story (fresh eyes!), and once after (for suggestions on how to make it more specific and intriguing once I know enough of your story to help you pinpoint moments you could better use to entice). Email me at jmercerbooks@gmail.com for availability.

— priced at .03 cents/word*

Line edit options

A line editor reads for consistency, tone, word choice, sentence structure, and clarity. With a full line edit, I will look for all this, along with making sure you’re grounding your reader in time and place, that pronouns are clear, and every sentence is saying what you want it to. I will flag sections or chapters that aren’t as strong as the rest of the manuscript, spots where your tone or voice feels inconsistent, any issues with pacing, and word echoes/overuse. I will also look at how your sentences flow for ease of readability, no matter your writing style – short and succinct, or long and full of imagery. This will all come back to you via inline comments, with a short letter outlining personal writer tendencies and strengths.

If you don’t have this in your budget but would like to have the tools to strengthen your prose yourself, you can send me 50 pages of your work for a line edit at an even $150. You’ll get the same as above on these 50 pages and can carry over what you learned to the rest of the manuscript yourself. Being aware of your personal writing tics going forward will help any future work shine.

Email me at jmercerbooks@gmail.com for availability.

— priced at .03 cents/word*

Copy edits and Proofreading

Copy editors and proofreaders are the final stops before your book meets its readers. How many times have you found an error in a novel put out by one of the big publishing houses? It happens! If you’re the type to miss these, then you want someone in your corner who doesn’t – and even if you aren’t the type to miss these, your novel will benefit from fresh eyes. As writers, we often get to the point when our book nears publication that we can recite in our head the lines that are coming next. That kind of familiarity does not help us catch our own small mistakes. Plus, we don’t all know or have easy reference to The Chicago Manual of Style.

Copy editors and proofreaders look for any typos, formatting, spelling, grammar, or punctuation issues. They look over your story with a fine-toothed comb! What you’ll get from me if you hire me to copy edit or proofread your story are track changes that will be easy to go through and accept (versus simply updating your document – yes, this has happened to me!) in either Word or Google docs, along with any inline comments where I note clarity issues.

Please note: You will not get any creative feedback with a proofread.

Email me at jmercerbooks@gmail.com for availability.

— priced at .02 cents/word*

If you would like me to work with you throughout multiple passes, the following discounts will apply:

Two of the above – 20% off the total

Three of the above – 30% off the total

*These prices are in line or lower than the Editorial Freelancers Association median rates, of which I am a member. For more information please see https://www.the-efa.org/rates/

Not only were your words so encouraging, but your feedback was SO helpful!! I loved everything you had questions about or pointed out. I kept saying to myself – that’s an amazing idea! or Yes! That would be such a great scene to add! Your critique was so well thought out and helpful and I am so appreciative. I can’t wait to dive in and work on some of these scenes!

Erica Wynters, author of the In the Desert thriller series

“Mercer is a skilled writer with a keen editorial eye. She reads deeply, and her feedback is both astute and kind. I’ve relied on her insights for several of my manuscripts, and she’s always helped me to enhance what was working, pinpoint missteps, and identify areas that were ripe for improvement.”

Karla Manternach, author of Meena Meets her Match, and Never Fear, Meena’s Here!

“I’ve gone through all of the editorial feedback you’ve provided for both books and I am super pleased… you’ve made my writing much stronger. I love your reports, by the way, that’s a really nice way to identify the bigger, more recurring issues and I particularly liked the comments on style, which were particularly useful and insightful. Delighted you got recommended to me.”

Stuart White, YA fantasy author

“Mercer’s editorial letter and in-line comments gave me the second set of eyes I needed to see both big picture issues in character development, plot points, and pacing, as well as minute details such as word choice and areas of confusion. Not only was her feedback helpful and insightful, but she balanced it beautifully with encouragement that made me want to dive back into my manuscript and make it even better! Thank you!”

Rhiannon Dysart, adult fantasy author

“Mercer’s in-line commentary was enlightening… Never once were her comments condescending – all of her feedback was honest and straightforward and given in the spirit of truly wanting my manuscript to be the best it could be. She’s professional in all her communications. She always let me know where she was in the process and gave estimates of when she’d be finished, and was generous in her availability to answer questions or talk through some of her ideas. I hope to work with her again on a future manuscript.”

Danielle Simonelli, YA fantasy author

“I just wanted to thank you again for all you did for this story and how you challenged me to think differently about this book. I love your insight and you ability to pick out large themes as well as small details.”

Jeff Schill, author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, The Kid


I’ve been feet first in this industry for over ten years, have interned at a publishing company where I read submissions and wrote Revise & Resubmit reports, attended numerous conferences – both regional and national, and organized a craft webinar for the local SCBWI that reached into 22 states and 3 countries. In addition to that, my personal work has received Moonbeam and Readers’ Favorite awards. Follow me @jmerceredits for a taste of my editing style and thoughts, or @jmercerbooks for a taste of my own prose and process.

Worried we’re not the right fit?

For $50, you can send me your first 25 pages for a sample edit (line and developmental thoughts, as best I can do with only 25 pages), which will be deducted off your total if you book a developmental plus or line edit overview.

Looking for a mix of these? Feel free to email me at jmercerbooks@gmail.com with specifics.