The Word Cat Process

When you choose Word Cat Editorial, you’ll be working directly with me, Brittany Dowdle. Your manuscript will receive a balanced, professional edit, and you’ll be treated with respect and consideration. I’ll be candid, courteous, and help you make your work the best it can be. 

First Step

The first step is to email me a brief description of your project (genre, word count, publishing goals, time line, and the type of edit you're considering). We’ll discuss your manuscript and where you are in the writing/editing/publishing process, and I’ll answer any questions you have about my process, skills, and experience. Because my rates vary depending on the starting condition of the manuscript, the level of edit needed, and the turnaround time, at this step I will provide only a rough estimate for services.

Most of my clients come from referrals, and as with many other editors, my schedule is usually booked several months out, so the earlier you start considering your potential editing needs, the better. Ill let you know if I think Id be a good fit for your project and if the time line is feasible. If I dont think that Im the best match for your project, Ill be happy to recommend a qualified colleague or to point you in the direction of resources that will help you find the best editor for your project.

Second Step

If we’d both like to move forward, I’ll ask to see a synopsis and the full manuscript (or at least three middle chapters). I’ll then provide a 500-word sample edit with changes tracked. This step gives you the opportunity to see my editing style and lets us see if we’re on the same page about what type of editing is needed. I also use the sample to develop an accurate estimate (typically a flat project fee or per-word rate) so you’ll know the cost of the edit before we start.

Third Step

If you decide to work with me after you’ve reviewed the sample edit, we’ll work out the details of the project and I’ll put together a simple contract/letter of agreement (usually an email) that outlines the project details, the deliverables, payment terms, and agreed-upon time line. 

Fourth Step

Once the letter of agreement is signed, I’ll carry out the services as promised, providing you with a professional, thorough edit delivered on time. I also provide an hour’s worth of telephone or email follow-up after the edit is complete and you’ve had a chance to review the files. Additional consultation is provided at an hourly rate.

  • As part of our agreement, I’ll provide a payment schedule, and you’ll make timely and complete payments as agreed.
  • Payment terms: To hold a place on my calendar, I require a 25% nonrefundable deposit payable through PayPal or Dwolla. A payment of 50% of the total is due before I start work, with the final 25% due upon completion of the edited files.

My Promise

Whether it’s a developmental edit or a heavy copyedit, I’ll explain the reasons behind my suggestions and corrections. And while things like grammar may seem black-and-white, the fact is that much of editing is subjective; the key is suiting your text to your purpose and audience. I understand that elusive balance and will help you achieve it.

Word Cat Services

I offer the following services, and I’m happy to adjust or combine them according to the specific needs of your manuscript, goals, and budget. Follow the links below to see which tasks I focus on at each step in the editing process.

  • Manuscript Evaluation. Not sure where you are in the process? We can explore whether a manuscript evaluation might be a good place to start.
  • Developmental Editing. Is your manuscript on the edge of coalescing into a dynamic whole, but falling just short?
  • Line Editing. Is the structure elegant and complete, but the narrative needs a spark, a bit of trimming and sharpening to reach its potential?
  • Copyediting. Maybe you’ve done all the hard work—all the creative heavy lifting—and now the manuscript needs to be cleaned up, the pesky commas put in their places, the dialogue tags properly formatted.
  • Proofreading. The final step in the editing process. Now it’s time for quality control.