Developmental Book Editing For Self-Publishing Writers

Combined line & developmental book editing

Submit your book for a FREE sample book edit

Developmental Book Editing That Makes a Difference

Our unique developmental book editing service will provide the feedback you need to lift your book to a publishable level.

We will provide a complete developmental book editing service that combines both structural and line editing into one package. Structural developmental book editing will fix plot issues and flow, whilst line editing will highlight spelling, grammar and punctuation issues.

We also provide a detailed editor's report that will guide you in your rewriting by pinpointing the problems and explaining the solutions.

Our price for professional developmental book editing is all-inclusive, with no hidden extras. It includes line and structural developmental book editing with the editor’s report and in-depth edit, plus all support emails, phone calls, etc.

Ready to get started? Submit your book for editing.

Cost of Developmental Book Editing

$15 per 1000 words

Why BubbleCow for Developmental Book Editing?

Our developmental book editing is designed specifically for self-publishing writers. It will give you the type of feedback an agent or publisher would provide for traditionally published writers. You will be given the guidance needed to lift your book to the next level and move it one step closer to publication. It will allow you to produce a book free of the kinds of errors and mistakes that Amazon reviews just love to find. You'll be able to publish your book with a new confidence.

If you have completed the first draft of your book and are looking for honest, unflinching advice before you proceed onto a final rewrite, then this package is perfect for you and your book.

Our feedback will allow you to fix major plot issues, ensure your book flows well and that you've addressed all the little grammar problems.

Ramona Flightner

“The entire edit was simply extraordinary. The editor’s report was very detailed, encouraging me to think about my novel in new ways and challenging me to improve my story.”

Banished Saga

Joshua Dobbs

“Editing was a painless process, I would recommend the Bubblecow to any writer looking to save the headache of working any other editing service. Great value for money. I'll be using them again.”

Solo Elite

David Papini

“The most professional and personal editing service I ever used. I had the real feeling of 'being read', not just edited. To date, definitively the best cost/benefit ratio in developmental book editing.”

The Taste of Emotions

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What You Get With Developmental Book Editing

Line Editing

The first aspect of our editing package is the line edit. Line editing is simply the process of reading each and every word and then identifying potential problems. All authors pick up bad habits or have some confusion over the correct way to structure sentences and dialogue. Our line editing will find and highlight these problems. However, just spotting the errors is not enough. We will also correct them when possible and then explain what you are doing wrong and how you can correct it.

For example, … if you wrote this line of dialogue:

'Where is the dog.' Asked John sadly

We would change it to …

'Where is the dog?' John asked.

We would also explain the correct use of punctuation and why you should avoid adverbs in dialogue.

If we spot a typo, we’ll correct it. If the sentence is clumsy, we’ll correct it. If something is just not right, we’ll correct it. However, these will not be “hard” (fixed) corrections. They’ll be done using track changes. This means, you remain in control with the power to Accept or Reject each individual change (or just Accept All changes in one go, if that’s your thing).

Book editing with BubbleCow - tracked changes

Note that this edit is not a proofread. Though our editors will change as many errors as possible in the editing process, the proofread is a tool to make your book error-free, but comes at the end of the cleaning-up process, before formatting and uploading. More important, the edit itself will lead to some level of rewriting from you. So you will be inserting some additional errors (human nature and all that). This means that proofreading, at this early stage, is just a waste of your money.

Book editing with BubbleCow - line book edit sample

Developmental Book Editing

The second, and most important, element of our editing package is the structural edit. Traditionally published authors would have had both agents and publishers providing feedback on the technical aspect of their book. However, for the self-publishing author, this feedback must be procured by the book’s creator.

Our editing package is designed to offer this feedback. In fact, it is designed to improve on the feedback that traditionally published authors often receive. Our feedback will not only look to highlight technical issues but will provide you with a clear road map as to what you can do to fix these issues and how to become a better author.

Book editing with BubbleCow - comment example

Our feedback is given through embedded comments within your manuscript and in a detailed multipage editor’s report as well. This document will be your editor’s thoughts about your book. It will start with a broad overview of what they liked and disliked. It’ll focus on the key issues that will have the most impact on your book. It will also contain the editor’s thinking behind the feedback, plus details on new techniques you can use to fix the problems. Finally the report will look at each chapter in turn and give you a breakdown of what the editor thought.

The aim of the report is to be a document that you can use to understand what issues arose in your book and how they can be fixed. We never just say “fix this” but will instead explain why it is an issue and what you need to do to correct the problem.

For example, … let’s say that we feel your book is slow to start. The editor will explain how essential it is to fully engage the reader as quickly as possible and to propel them from one page to the next. The editor will then suggest a solution (perhaps introducing an inciting incident) and show, in detail, just how you would do this with your story. This might involve a rewrite or adding new scenes by the author. However, no matter what the solution, it will be clear what you need to do and why.

Many authors tell us the editor’s report quickly becomes a valuable tool. Before each editing session, the authors will refer back to the report and get a “feel” for the big picture before delving into the nitty-gritty of the line edit.

Download sample of editor's report

Kevin Wolfenberger

“When I opened my novel I was surprised to find that there were around 5,000 edits and suggestions. That’s crazy. I never expected so much attention to detail. But it was all the notes that accompanied the edits that ‘really’ impressed me. Suggestions to make sentences more active. Notes on consistency. Additions to avoid confusion. Even a couple additional paragraphs to help foreshadow events to come. I started to wonder if the editor knew my book better than I did. All the feedback was great and it turned a story I felt was good into something I could be truly proud of.”

Tom Savage

“The whole process was an invaluable part of taking my story to the next level. The report was detailed and the line edit was very useful. BubbleCow was direct and honest about what worked and what didn't with my first novel and the advice was good, it made sense. BubbleCow were available before, during and after the edit for help and advice about the next steps. Gary even helped me get in contact with an agent. Overall, I was really satisfied with BubbleCow and if you are thinking about having your novel professionally edited, firstly, do it, secondly seriously consider using BubbleCow. I am glad I did.”

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Developmental Book Editing Turnaround Time

We will return your manuscript within twenty-eight weekdays (counting Monday-Friday) or roughly five calendar weeks.

We will try our best to get the edit back to you sooner, and, in most cases, we do. However, it all depends on your editor and what is already in his or her queue. We pick the best editor for each job. We are a small and dedicated team. We don’t hire freelancers and just hope for the best. We have professional editors and robust quality-control systems. We can’t rush the process. Our bet is that authors prefer quality over supersonic speed.

What we will do is provide you with a target delivery date. If you submitted and paid today, your feedback would be returned no later than August 04.

Our Editors

Gary Smailes has a wide experience of the publishing industry and, over the years, has worked as a freelance writer, historian and researcher. He has an eclectic educational background with a first degree in biology and a postgraduate degree in military history. Gary has written a number of history books for children, including the Brave Scot series, the Modern Hero series and the Battle Books series. To date he has more than twenty titles in print through a number of publishers. He also worked closely, for many years, with the successful author Terry Deary as the researcher for the ever-popular Horrible Histories’ books and the TV series.

Gary continues to write for children. He is represented by literary agent Andrew Lownie.

With a graduate degree in English and a postgraduate degree in creative writing, Caroline has gained a wealth of experience within the publishing and literary communities. She has participated in literary festivals and given workshops across the UK, focusing on the building of an author’s web presence and the craft of writing. As well as writing literary fiction and blogging, she has worked as an editor and as a reader for several publishers. Caroline mentored for Tonto Books in their Arts Council–supported project to discover, develop and publish talented new authors and also judged in the New Novelist competition.

Her decision to found and develop BubbleCow grew from an understanding that modern authors require fast, efficient and affordable services that can be tailored to meet personal needs. Caroline’s novels are published by HarperCollins.

Fred is a skilled structural and line editor, with experience in both traditional and self-publishing environments. He has editorial experience in all major fiction genres but has as special eye for experimental fiction. He holds a first-class B.A. with Hons. in English literature from The University of Liverpool and an MPhil in American literature from Trinity College Dublin.

Common Questions


If I get my book edited, will I still need a proofread?

Yes! What we will do is remove all the mistakes that we find, but this is not a proofread. In fact, proofreaders are not the same as editors, since they possess a very different skill set. In addition, our edit may trigger a rewrite of sections of your book. Even if we did remove all errors, it is inevitable that the rewrites would add in more (human nature and all that). Therefore, we always suggest that an author schedule a proofread AFTER the edit and rewrites.

Do you accept all genres?

No. We accept most fiction genres and all major nonfiction genres. We DON’T accept:

  • Poetry.
  • Short stories.
  • Cookbooks.
  • Highly technical non-fiction.

If you are unsure that we will accept your book’s genre, just email and ask.

Do you accept all manuscripts?

No. We accept about 90 percent of the manuscripts submitted. If we feel your work is not yet at a stage where our editing will provide the maximum value, we will return the manuscript to you. This most commonly occurs when English is not the author’s first language.

If I plan to write/submit more than one book, will I get the same editor?

Yes.

Is there a minimum word count?

Yes! We don’t accept books of fewer than 15,000 words. The reason is simple. Our secret power is in editing long-form manuscripts—in other words, novels and long nonfiction books. If your book is shorter than 15,000 words, we are probably not the best match.

I wanted to submit my book in small chunks. Is that possible?

Yes. We have a minimum word count of 15,000 words. As long as you submit in chunks of this size or larger, then there’s no issue. In fact, we have had a number of authors take this approach in the past, and it always seems to work well. The key, from our viewpoint, is that you let us know that you will be submitting in chunks. This way we can ensure that you have the same editor for each submission.

Do I get direct contact with my editor?

Yes. We try to keep all communication down to email. The reason for this is that editors have time to answer questions between edits. They can also take their time to provide the detailed answers that fit your problem. We often find the same questions arise time and again, and we have a number of internal resources (and other editors) who the assigned editor can consult with to provide the best answer.

If you need a longer consultation, it may be possible to set up a Skype or telephone conversation.

Since BubbleCow is based in the United Kingdom, will you edit books from American authors who intend to publish in US markets?

Absolutely. In fact, 90 percent of our authors are based outside the UK area. Editing is editing; the type of English used (British or American) is not an issue at this early stage.

Do you keep the copyright?

NO! We are simply a service. You pay us; we make your book better. At no point do we take ANY rights. ALL rights remain yours at all times.

Once I have had the book edited, will the editor look at the changes?

We don’t do a second edit. The reason for this is that we will note everything we can which adds value to your book during the first edit. Even with significant rewrites, it is probably just not worth you paying for an additional edit from the same editor. That said, we are happy to talk to you and even give general feedback on significant alterations. We see this as a long-term partnership.