I'm not a real doctor. But I can save your manuscript from cancer of the concept, infectious tedium, or terminal unoriginality.
Q: How much does book doctoring cost?
A: $20,000 to $35,000, depending on the length and complexity of the project. The fee is paid in 3 installments.
Q: Will you act as my writing coach?
A: I can. I don't always. That depends on whether you think you need one.
Q: How long does doctoring take?
A: It depends, but the process of doctoring a typical manuscript takes about 3 months.
Q: How does doctoring work?
A: I interview you about your book, read anything you've written, learn your goals, and then make my recommendations.
Q: What if I don't want you to change something I've written?
A: That's up to you. But my suggestions are always made with the quality of your book in mind, not your ego.
Q: Do you get credit on a book you've doctored?
"What the hell is a book doctor?"
I get that a lot. And I only work as a book doctor a few times in a given year, so I don't get much chance to educate folks. So, here's a lesson. You know what editing is, right? You're probably pretty hip to ghostwriting, yes? Well, book doctoring is somewhere between those two. You're still writing your manuscript, so I'm not ghosting for you. But when the first draft is done, the book needs more than a copy and content edit to be ready to publish; it still has some major flaws. That's where a book doctor steps in, scrubs up, and gets elbow-deep in your book to make things right.
The doctoring process starts when you start writing. In some cases, I might coach you along the way as you write, looking over chapters, making suggestions, and keeping you on track. But more often, I see your manuscript when it's a mostly finished first draft. That's when I crack my knuckles (which my kids hate) and get to it. I will:
Review your book's concept and structure and suggest changes where warranted—sometimes, radical ones.
Relocate material as needed.
Rewrite passages that need it.
If new content is required, I'll write that new content to match the agreed-upon author voice for the book.
Edit the entire manuscript for coherence, clarity and consistency.
Suggest intellectual property if appropriate—processes, steps, acronyms, etc.
Deliver a polished manuscript ready for your final revision and approval.
Not all books need doctoring. But it's a safe bet that if you're not a professional writer and you haven't had either a ghost or a very hands-on writing coach as you've crafted your first book, you need the assistance of a gifted surgeon. As you probably know, there's a world of difference between the work of even the most gifted amateur and the professional. That's why book doctors exist: to let you enjoy the thrill of actually writing your book while giving you a safety net so you can work with confidence.