Collection Editing

Complete support for curating, structuring, and editing your collection for submission, query, or self-publication. Scroll down for à la carte editing and coaching.

What is a short story collection?

A short story collection is typically a selection of previously published short stories by a single author, collected into a book between 40 000 and 60 000 words (or more in some cases). I say typically because collections sometimes feature stories that have never been published elsewhere. Short story collections often include poetry, micro or flash fiction, and novellas.

Aside from these basic commonalities, modern short story collections have an incredible range, from interlinked stories that can be mistaken for chapters in a novel to chronological records of an author’s short story bibliography. With a legacy that includes early fiction chapbooks, frame tales, fix-ups, story cycles, and themed collections, it’s no wonder! The short story collection is a fabulously creative form of fiction.

Do I need an editor for my collection?

Staying objective with your own writing is difficult (impossible?), and trying to maintain objectivity with work you love for 40 000 or more words can be exhausting. Whether you are submitting your collection to a competition, querying traditional publishers, or self-publishing, you want the reader’s first impression to be your best work. An editor can help you curate, update, and polish previously published pieces and provide developmental and structural guidance on new ones, but also lend their perspective to the book as a whole.

Approach.

Whether the premise of a collection is as broad as “my collected stories up until now” or as specific as “my collected stories from this genre with this theme,” I look at the ensemble of stories in the same way as I look at the songs in music album. They are powerful on their own, but something greater emerges when the reader experiences them together in their intended order.

To help you get there, I offer short story collection management and step-by-step guidance through the entire revision process, from developing your collection as a whole to selecting, updating, and editing stories to arranging and polishing the final manuscript.

What can I expect?

We’ll set up a free, thirty- to sixty-minute initial consult, and I’ll review your manuscript. During the consult, we’ll discuss your goals and vision for the project, the services I provide, and what they cost. I will follow up this meeting with a written proposal and estimate.

If we decide to work together on your collection, I will read your entire manuscript, and we’ll meet to discuss deadlines and schedule the following milestones:

  1. Collection Development. Before this meeting, I will send you the set-up package to complete and send to me. During the meeting, we’ll use the information you’ve gathered to establish the collection’s overarching tone, theme, mood, and message and set concrete benchmarks each story must meet to be included.
  2. Story selection. Using criteria established during the development meeting, we will identify the stories that meet the benchmarks, those that could with some work, and those that don’t.
  3. Story development. The timeline for developmental and structural edits to strengthen the stories that need work. Learn more about developmental editing or structural editing.
  4. Drafting and developmental editing of cover copy and front and back matter.
  5. Line edit. The timeline for line edit of the stories, front and back matter, and cover material to your use of narrative mode, logic, coherence, tone, mood, theme, and uniqueness of voice and how they contribute to your story and style. Learn more about line editing.
  6. Collection assembly. A meeting where we use the information gathered in the development session and the final drafts of the stories to decide on the best order for the stories in the anthology.
  7. Collection copy edit. We will assemble the entire manuscript, including the front matter, stories, back matter, and cover copy. Once you approve it, I will complete an inline copy edit of the entire manuscript, style sheet, and clean copy. Learn more about copy editing.
  8. Final read-through and project wrap session.

Rates.

The cost of managing and editing a collection depends on the strength and number of stories, the final word count, and the timeline. A collection of unpublished stories that need significant editing will cost more than a collection of previously published stories.

Waits.

Depending on the season, collection and anthology slots may be booked up to four months in advance. I can give you exact wait times at your initial consult.

Dates.

We will schedule dates and deadlines for each project milestone at our first meeting. We are committed to the timeline once the dates are set and the contract is signed. I will give you plenty of reminders and help if needed, but missed deadlines will incur schedule-dependent wait times.

Curious about collection editing?

Editing and Coaching à la Carte

Individually priced editing and coaching services for groups that have anthology management covered.

Collection Consulting

One-on-one help with anything collection-related, from developing your vision to assembling the final (FINAL-lastone-finalcopy-okaythisisit-4.docx) manuscript of your book. ($100 per hour)

Developmental Editing

An assessment of how plot, character, POV, setting and world-building work together to develop a cohesive narrative. ($0.04 to $0.06 per word (min $100)) Learn more about developmental editing.

Structural Editing

An assessment of how form, genre, timeline and pacing coordinate to draw the reader into the story and keep them there. ($0.04 to $0.06 per word (min $100)) Learn more about structural editing.

Line Editing

An assessment of how narrative mode, logic, coherence, tone, mood, theme, and uniqueness of voice contribute to your story or anthology and style. ($0.03 to $0.05 per word (min $100)) Learn more about line editing.

Copy Editing

An evaluation of the story or anthology for the sentence mechanics, grammar, spelling, usage, punctuation, continuity and accuracy of facts. ($0.03 to $0.05 per word (min $100)) Learn more about copy editing.

Post-Edit Coaching

Revising a collection can feel endless. When we work together to edit a story, I offer discounted coaching to help integrate post-edit feedback. Learn more about post-edit coaching.

Every author needs an editor, and every editor should be a Lisa!

Collection Editing FAQ

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