Editing Services

With over five years in the editing world, as an acquisitions editor, developmental editor, and editorial director, I’m ready to hang my shingle for freelance editing work. I specialize in developmental editing, but I’ve also been known to handle a proofread or two.

Developmental Editing

What is developmental editing, you ask? Sometimes, it’s called content editing, which might be a more clear label to most of us. Developmental editing entails a professional reading your draft and helping you elevate the story to the next level. I’ll check for character consistency, plot holes, pacing, repeated grammar mistakes, plot structure, character arcs, point of view issues, etc. In other words, this type of editing looks at big picture issues to make sure your story meets and—if we do it right—exceeds the expectations of your readers.

Why you need a developmental editor!

Writers are too close to their own work to necessarily see the flaws. I’ve seen authors who thought their work was perfect. They were wrong. I’ve seen authors who thought their novel wasn’t worth publishing. They were also wrong. Hopefully, you’re somewhere in between those two extremes. One way or another, it’s difficult to discern the true strengths and weaknesses of your work without a developmental editor working with you to see the creative piece more clearly. Let me get in there and dig deep. I’ll show you which parts shine and which bits need some extra attention. I want to partner with you to bring out this piece of your imagination to its truest form.

That all sounds wonderful, but I can’t afford a developmental editor.

The problem with this type of deep dive into your work is it takes time, and time is money. Hence, you see developmental editors charging on average $55 an hour (at about 1-5 pages per hour) or $0.07 a word. Did you do the math for your manuscript? It hurts doesn’t it. (For my first novel, Tarbin’s True Heir, that would have cost me $4000.) Yet, it will hurt a lot more when you publish your novel without a professional’s eye. Reviews are not kind, and neither are readers when they’re wholly disappointed with what could have been an incredible experience for them.

Since I happen to be an author myself, I understand the strain of getting it all done and being able to afford it. Because of my unique perspective, I’m willing to offer my services for a flat, incredibly reasonable fee of $0.02 a word. You will know immediately what to budget. Before we agree to a thing, I will edit for free the first 10% or 1000 words of your manuscript—whichever is smaller—to make sure we’re a good fit. If an author and an editor don’t mesh, it will show in the finished project. Neither of us want that.

Email me at kelly@kellylynncolby.com and we’ll get started.


What is proofreading? This is the last step before you hit publish. You’ve probably heard readers bemoan the lack of editing in a novel they’re reading. Typically, the errors they’re seeing can be caught early by a high-quality proofreader. While wearing this hat, my job would be to make sure that I catch typos and misplaced commas and improper dialogue tagging. I’d make sure names of characters and places are spelled consistently throughout the entire manuscript. The little details that having nothing to do with the story, but have everything to do with the reader’s experience.

How much would this cost me?

This type of editing requires a lot less problem-solving and a lot more careful reading of the text. So, I have a simple flat fee of $0.01 a word. Yes, you read that correctly, one cent a word, regardless of the length of the piece. I do request that I read the first two pages of your work—for free, of course—to make sure you don’t need a copyedit instead of a proofread.

Turn around for all work is one week for every 50K words from point of schedule and receipt of half the fee as a down payment. My calendar is filling up fast; don’t wait!

Email me at kelly@kellylynncolby.com, and we’ll get your novel polished and ready for readers.


I don’t expect you to just dive right in without seeing a bit of my results. I’ve worked with many writers, and assembled a plethora of anthologies. Here are a few:

Meg Hafdahl’s Willoughby Chronicles series (ya horror)

“Kelly Colby is the best kind of developmental editor. She not only identifies the weak parts of your manuscript, but gives wonderful suggestions and works with you to create a better novel. She is committed to your success, excited about your project, and understands your vision. I can’t recommend Kelly enough!” Meg Hafdahl – Author

J. Lynn Else’s Awakenings series (ya fantasy)

“Kelly is a stellar developmental editor who’s helped bring out the best in my writing. She is thorough, and is able to work within multiple genres. She is just the sort of guide you want to navigate you through the editing jungle.” J. Lynn Else – author

Kevin Pettway’s Misplaced Mercenaries series (adult humorous fantasy)

“I have worked with many developmental editors over the past decade, and have gone from wide-eyed and hopeful to cautious and discriminating. Of them all, Kelly Lynn Colby is the absolute best for some very concrete reasons. 

While compassionate, she is honest about the flaws in my work that need to be corrected. She is scary-smart with a breathtakingly wide base of knowledge, and all of that benefits me directly. But far and away the most important piece is that, not only does Kelly take the time and energy to understand my vision for my work, but she cares about it and holds my feet to the fire until I have delivered on that vision.

I could not have gotten a better editor if I had made one out of clay.” Kevin Pettway – author

The Eclectic series with Inklings Publishing (speculative fiction)

“Kelly has a great eye for stories and can help an author clarify and tighten their work, while honoring the author’s voice and prerogative to tell the story as they feel it happened.”
Fern Brady – Author and Publisher

The Legion of Dorks presents series with Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing (speculative fiction)

“As a new author, nothing is more intimidating than sharing your creation with another person. Particularly when that person is going to critique it. Kelly does a remarkable job of establishing a trust and understanding that she’s working *with* you to make the work better. Kelly doesn’t just tell you what to do, she wants to help you grow your creation into something even greater while including your input. She is sure to praise what is praiseworthy, and be very clear in what doesn’t work. I would happily work with Kelly on any project.”
Stephen Adams – Author

“Kelly is the little voice in your head you’re happy to have. She is professional, clever, and offers practical and stylistic suggestions that hone your writing to a point. 

Her ability to stay on top of new trends, writing styles, and formats are an invaluable resource.” A.F. Hartsell – Author and Editor

One Final Note

I have extensive experience in the speculative fiction areas of fiction: horror, fantasy, and science fiction. I can also developmental edit with great confidence any kind of fiction from women’s lit to romance to historical fiction to westerns.

Anything in the nonfiction group, however, will be better suited for another editor. You really need someone who is familiar with the tropes of your genre, and the style that is acceptable by its readers. That person is not me.

If you have any questions, please contact me at kelly@kellylynncolby.com.