Heartwood Policies and faqs

General policies

  • Editor retains right of refusal on delivery of manuscript sample/partial.
  • Nonrefundable deposit of 50% must be paid on signing of contract, the remainder must be paid within one week of delivery of edits.
  • Scheduling may change +/- 2 weeks without penalty, but a rescheduling fee outside the above is $50 per reschedule.
  • The editor’s name should not be used without signed agreement.
  • Sensitivity concerns will be flagged for referral to authenticity readers, and content warnings must be provided prior to editing agreement.
  • Payment plans are available but require paying in full prior to delivery of notes.
  • Full manuscript projects must provide a 5p sample, vision statement, and synopsis along with application for edits.
  • Line and copyedits will be returned with tracked changes, but author must apply changes themself.
  • Email communication outside of scheduling and contract count toward coaching time of package.
  • No money will ever be paid to client by editor.

genres considered

I am a fiction editor, so please do not send me nonfiction articles, manuscripts, or memoirs. Of the following genres, I work in middle grade, young adult, new adult, and adult. I am willing to consider select picture book or chapter book projects.

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy (soft or low, no epic quests please)
  • Horror
  • Paranormal
  • Contemporary
  • Speculative
  • Thriller
  • Mystery
  • Historical
  • General fiction


  • 10% for underrepresented authors
  • 5% for verified referral
  • 5% for repeat client with new project
  • 5% for booking developmental and line edits together


Q: BUT JESS! Can’t I just run betas or swap with my CP?

A: Certainly! Do that! But let’s not pretend that’s “free,” for you or your trusted readers.

Hiring an editor whose sole agenda is helping improve your work on your timeframe can not only save you a lot of time, but it can save you a lot of heartache and confusion too.

It takes a lot of time and energy to prepare a beta, from finding people willing and available, whittling those volunteers down to the right audience for the project, determining what questions to ask, to understanding how to process their answers. I will always encourage betas and CPs, just like I’ll always try to share my best tips for finding and utilizing them. Learning how to run a beta is an acquired skill, and it comes naturally to very few. That time and attention may be better spent learning craft and finishing projects.

Furthermore, in the case of swapping full manuscripts, that’s a lot of trust and commitment to put in a virtual stranger. Schedules often conflict, authors get ghosted, and that’s barely brushing the surface of difficulties that can arise from swaps. CPs (critique partners), while wonderful and you should get some, are people too. They may not be able to focus on your work with the attention you need in a given time. Even if they can, misinformation about “best practices” abounds in writing communities, and the feedback received can run the gamut between weak sauce comments and empty praise to misguided advice never intended for your target audience or relevant to your vision or project.

Q: Do you accept payment plans?

A: Yes! Please refer to policies for more information on payment plans.

Q: Do you do second pass edits?

A: Yes, but second pass edits are only included in the price of specific packages. For an individualized quote, please schedule a consultation through email.



Heartwood Editing services


A developmental edit includes reading and assessing your materials in light of your goals, then suggesting methods, techniques, and possible changes to elevate your work to better match your vision. This level of edits is best for projects in their early drafts before undertaking revisions, or for projects that have been through multiple revisions and have stalled out. If you don’t know what to do with a project anymore, I can help!
Pricing ranges from $0.03-0.06 per word.


Line edits include a thorough reading of materials with inline markups and suggestions to strengthen the work’s clarity and impact. This level of edits is best for projects that have been revised and are almost ready for their final form. Another reason to perform a line edit is to learn how and why certain edits are made, simply to strengthen your craft for future projects and revisions.
Pricing ranges from $0.06-0.09 per word.


Copyedits are final stage edits prior to submission or publishing, ensuring your materials are as error free as possible, because the story is exactly how you want it to be, as are the sentences.
Pricing ranges from $0.1-0.27 per word.

Packaged Pricing for Edits

  • Developmental Proposal –$175– Pitch summary (300 words) + 25pp (6300 words) receive developmental edits, line edit summary, plus an hour of coaching
  • Full Manuscript for Self Publishing –$1500– Pitch summary (300 words) + manuscript (90K words) receive developmental edits, line edit summary, second pass developmental edits on first 100pp, plus an hour of coaching, with a 10% discount on line edits and copyedits
  • Partial Project for new writers –$500– 3 hours of coaching + developmental edits on synopsis (1500 words) + 25pp (6300 words)
  • Full Project for querying writers –$1000– Developmental edits + line edits summary for pitch (300 words), synopsis 1200 words), and manuscript (90K words), with 10% discount on line edits
  • Other packages available on request with coaching consultation.


Heartwood Coaching Services

As a writing coach, my goal is to help you find your clearest voice and strongest story. My role, as I see it, is to act as a tutor and a sounding board as well as a nurse for each client’s writing health for their project and their process.
Writing often forces us to face the best and worst of ourselves, discovering parts of our identity and/or psyche that we never imagined, and these moments can transform our work and lives, or they can send us spiraling into writer’s block or depression. Coaching is not a substitute for necessary mental health care, but knowing what blocks one has can be of great benefit to more than just creative work.


  • Craft basics –These sessions are not “lessons” so much as they are a collaboration focused on assessing “where you are” with your craft and staging a foundation for you to take the next step. After providing a writing sample (5-10pp), we schedule a chat to cover the topic of most interest to you, be it grammar, story structure, character, standards of genre, or conventions in publishing.
    Craft packages are recommended for authors at any stage of their journey, whether they’re wanting to learn how to plot for the first time, or hoping to take their current process and reshape it to better suit a demanding publishing schedule.
  • Creative recharge — These sessions are extremely flexible, of use to authors at any stage to dump what’s stuck in their story brain, vent about publishing until a comfortable path is found, brainstorm a new (or old) project, or do writing exercises. We start by taking the temperature of how you’re feeling in your journey, discussing how you want to feel, and strategizing how to get you there with the least pain possible along the way.
  • Solution session — These are problem-solving sessions to address common (and uncommon) issues that arise for writers and their projects, such as breaking writer’s block, fixing a plot or character problem, solving a story dilemma, identifying existing or potential issues with a story, or even brainstorming worldbuilding, naming, etc. together. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for most of these things, but I believe all problems have solutions and share my arsenal of tools until we find what works for you.

Pricing & Packages

$150/hour with 30minute minimum over text or phone

  • New writer package –$750– 6 sessions over the span of three months
  • Second book sorrows package –$350– 3 sessions over a month
  • Stuck writer package –$500– 4 sessions over the span of three months
  • Others available with consultation.


Deep Prose and Clear Voice

(pulled from a note to a CP)

My main focus for vocal depth is finding places that need a boost to elevate the prose from (blocking and action) to “literature.”

Not just facts, but poetry.

The first layer is “What’s a cooler/more interesting way to X…?”

Second layer is “What’s a way to tie this description/phrase to the story theme/aesthetic/tone/plot?”

Third layer, and the only one that gets approval** for my own work into final drafts, is “How/what does X (description/phrase) mean to my narrator/speaker, and how would They frame X?”

**because no matter how awesome a phrase might be, if it doesn’t sound like it comes from my narrator’s voice, then it could throw the reader off at worst, but will weaken a reader’s connection to the narrator at best.

Page by page, I seek out a wide-angle thematic balance, and–when possible– book-wide character themes. Like, say romantic interest has a hard personality but a vulnerable ego, then I might craft their descriptions to relay that directly or indirectly by which devices I choose (maybe they’re compared to melons or maybe I just keep adjectives about their physical actions “crisp and brittle” while keeping descriptions of their voice “soft”).

I tend to go broad with these when it comes to characterization or repeat settings, sticking with things like seasons or basic elements (water, fire, +), so it doesn’t feel forced or too obvious.Also, the broader the theme, the greater span of sensory experiences and vocabulary range to use in expanding the character’s visceral reactions and word choice.

Random thing, but it’s best, for most readers apparently, to save the most intense descriptive language for moments when the narrator is first describing something (unless that scene is very active), or when it’s an emotional moment that the language can help bolster with “this is important” energy.

Hot tip: use your narrator’s zoom lens to spot concrete details, flaws, or specificity, rather than trying to describe everything anew or “completely.” Better to describe a character’s lone mismatched button than their entire outfit. Even when the narrative point is “excess,” attention can get lost easily in lists of facts, so the zoom is a writer’s best friend in that regard.