Why work with me?

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We live in an information-saturated world with greater access to reading material than any other time in human history. In such a glutted marketplace of ideas, quality matters more than ever before.

Editing is your first line of quality control in developing excellent written products.  You shouldn't entrust your work and reputation to anyone who claims to know those elusive comma rules. Because perfectly placed punctuation is not enough to stand out. Message matters. Presentation matters. Clarity matters. Beauty matters.

Are you ready to take your writing to the next level? You’ve come to the right place.

I am a veteran wordsmith who brings decades of editing experience to every project entrusted to my care. I strive to make my clients' stories and ideas shine, to help them build skills, and to protect their reputations.

Since 1991, I’ve worked as an editor for magazines in trade (energy industry), association (accounting, medicine), and scholarly (English literature) publishing. From 1996-2000, I was editor and publisher of a literary magazine, About Such Things. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English/writing (magna cum laude) and a Master of Journalism degree, placing first in my graduating class. I continue to be active in a critique group and beta read for other members every month.

Want to talk to my former clients about their experience working with me? References available upon request. You can reach Laurel Garver at laurels.leaves@gmail.com.

See my LinkedIn profile for more details on my experience, education, and professional endorsements.

Services and rates (UPDATED FOR 2024)

For fiction,  (middle grade readers and up) rates are given in ranges, depending on how clean your initial manuscript is.

Manuscript critique (one pass) $0.0085 - $0.015 / word
Manuscript critique is a big-picture assessment of your manuscript’s plot, characterization, pacing, organization, and general readability. Grammar, usage, and spelling are not addressed, other than to note general patterns of problems. This is an excellent service if you're stuck or frustrated with the revision process, or you're simply not sure whether your manuscript is ready for final editing.

Development editing (three passes) $0.025 to $0.0325 / word
Development editing first looks at the overall presentation with an eye to address any weaknesses in plot, characterization, pacing, dialogue flow, as well as issues with organization, syntax, word choice, repetition, continuity, factual accuracy, and overall clarity. Development editing does not involve rewriting your piece for you, but rather I will work with you to make your story’s presentation both compelling and coherent. This service includes a second copy editing pass for remaining sentence-level issues and a final proofreading pass (see descriptions below). Additional editing passes can be purchased at a discount.

Copy editing (two passes) $0.013 to $0.025 / word
Copy editing focuses on clarity and conciseness, as well as syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The goal is to make the piece read smoothly at the sentence level—there is less structural work on plot, characterization, and pacing. Not every piece is ready for this type of edit, but only those that have been critiqued by peers for structural issues and revised heavily. A second proofreading pass is included with this service (see description below).

Proofreading (one pass) $0.008 to $0.013 / word
Proofreading is a single editing pass that addresses punctuation, spelling, grammar and usage, consistency, and style-manual issues (capitalization, format of dates and other numbers, etc.). This type of bare bones editing is appropriate only for pieces that have already gone through several revisions and edits.

For children's picture books and easy readers, I charge $36/hour. Works for these ages are less text intensive but require expertise in age-appropriate concept presentation and vocabulary.

For scholarly work and poetry, I charge $45 per hour. Manuscripts requiring less intervention will require fewer hours. Those needing heavy intervention or multiple editing passes--especially younger scholars and ESL writers--will require more hours. My average speed for a light edit is 1,500 words/hour, a heavy edit, 750 words/hour. I do my best to give an accurate estimate before starting work.

Not sure which service is right for you? E-mail me five or six sample chapters (laurels.leaves@gmail.com), and I can direct you to the most appropriate service for your needs.


Picture books*
Easy Readers*
Middle Grade
Young Adult
Christian Fiction
Women's Fiction
Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Speculative Fiction/Magical realism
Short Stories
Anthologies (* if partly poetry)

Literary criticism*
Literary biography*
Writing resources
Bible study guides
Marriage and relationships*
Personal finance*
Kids' activities/education*
Home and Garden

* hourly rates apply, rather than word-count rates

How I work

I automate some formatting functions using the replace tool to make the typography standardized and professional-looking. These changes include curly quotes, curly apostrophes, punctuation within quotation marks, em dashes, and spacing after periods. These changes will not be marked in the manuscript.

I use the mark-up tools available in Microsoft Word: track changes and comment boxes. I return the marked manuscript to the client via e-mail to review and accept or reject those changes and to respond to comments. With multiple-editing-pass services (content editing, copy editing), I ask that clients return as clean a manuscript as possible for subsequent editing passes. Projects created in Scrivener and other word processing programs will need to be converted into Word format for me to most effectively work with them.

I require a deposit to begin work, usually a small percentage of the overall cost. I'm sensitive to the needs of budget-conscious authors and would be happy to discuss affordable installment payment plans.

How to get started

E-mail me at laurels.leaves@gmail.com and tell me about your project. If possible, send a five-chapter sample. If you'd like to get a sense of whether my editing style meshes with your vision for your project, I can provide a three-page sample edit free of charge.

Laurel Garver Writing and Editing  is licensed by the City of Philadelphia to provide professional services. License number available upon request.

Some of my clients' works









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