Editorial Services

Jessica’s thoughtful, in-depth approach to developmental editing is pitch perfect! Her insightful questions and comments struck right to the heart of the lingering issues in my book and gave me an easy springboard to dive back into rewrites. I can’t recommend her highly enough! ~ Cory Leonardo, Author of  The Simple Art of Flying (Aladdin/S&S) and The Emerald City Theater (Aladdin/S&S, Coming Soon)

With a Columbia MBA in marketing, decades of writing, fact-checking, and editing across multiple industries, and five years mentoring Pitch Wars to my name, I am uniquely suited to evaluate manuscripts. I take into consideration not only their big picture/strategic elements but also help fine-tune scenes, paragraphs, and even sentences so that stories (and their authors) reach their full potential.

I truly love using my detailed knowledge of craft and story to help other writers achieve their goals. Due to my own writing commitments, I can only take on a limited number of developmental edits each year. If interested, email me (jrvitalis@hotmail.com) a short summary of your story, word count, goals, the first five pages of your WIP, and your preferred timing. I will only work with stories and writers that I feel are a good match for my skill set and schedule; I particularly enjoy working with accomplished writers (those who study craft and work with critique partners) looking to elevate their writing to the next level.

Scope of Services

My passion is middle grade (and occasionally young adult) contemporary and fantasy. I am not a good fit for graphic novels or novels in verse. In terms of feedback, I make extensive notes in the manuscript as I read (I find it is extremely helpful for authors to know what their readers are thinking). On occasion, I may also make line edits within the WIP. In addition, I will provide an edit letter summarizing the overall strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript. This letter typically includes topics such as theme, character development, setting, voice, plot, etc. I am known for detailed, comprehensive edit letters that delve into the heart of the story to help bring the author’s vision to the page.

Please note that this service is for developmental edits only; while I may, on occasion, flag grammatical issues or typos, copy editing services are not included in this package.

Fees

Fees are .02 cents (US Dollar) per word, payable by Paypal, personal check (mailed to Canada), or e-transfer at .026 (CA Dollar) cents per word within Canada. These fees are non-refundable unless I am, for any reason, unable to complete the work, in which case I will refund the prorated difference for the work that remains unfinished. Work will begin upon full payment.

Confidentiality

As an agented writer, I understand that discretion is an essential part of this industry; inquiries and stories will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Testimonials

Jessica is one of the best editors I know in the children’s book world. She’s whip smart, clever, caring, communicative, and above all else demands deep and thoughtful analysis of all aspects in my work. Jessica has so many strengths as an editor, but her stand-out qualities include lightning-fast turnarounds on drafts, the ability to brainstorm on the fly, and editing with the careful precision of a traditional publisher. Jessica pushed me and challenged me to see my work as a professional, and to set very rigid and close deadlines when tackling revisions. As a result of her guidance, I emerged from the editing experience feeling like I could handle anything as a writer. Her words of advice as well as her notes in my work have served me for every manuscript I’ve completed since, including my upcoming debut, THE DERBY DAREDEVILS. I continue to be grateful for Jessica’s expertise. ~Kit Rosewater, author of the upcoming MG series The Derby Daredevils (Amulet, March 2020)

Jessica has a particularly keen eye for overarching story issues that are difficult for writers to see when they’re close to their own story. She delivers feedback in an exceptionally kind and thoughtful manner which makes it easy to digest. In the past, she’s been instrumental for me in identifying the root causes of problems in my books and in brainstorming ways to resolve those problems. I highly suggest working with her! ~Juliana Brandt, author of The Wolf of Cape Fen (SourcebooksKids, Summer 2020)

The absolute best recommendations I can give for Jessica come from two people, my agent and my critique partner. When I was in the midst of revisions, my CP read what I had. Then she read it again after Jessica got a hold of it and ran her amazing, fine-tooth, line edit comb over it. She said something along the lines of, “I don’t know what you did, but it’s so much better. It’s told so much more confidently now.” Then, on the call with my my agent (Elizabeth Harding) she said several times, “The manuscript is really, really polished.” I owe both of those compliments to Jessica. She will make you work and mark up your manuscript with so much virtual red pen you might have a heart attack. And then you’ll get to work and end up with a “confident,” “polished” manuscript. ~Amanda Rawson Hill, Author of The Three Rules of Everyday Magic (Boyds Mills Press) and You’ll find Me (Fall 2020).

Jessica’s warmth, enthusiasm and knowledge of craft were just what I needed to take my writing to the next level. I had so many “ah-hah” moments as I read her editorial letter that I knew I was in good hands. I attribute the confidence and excitement I’m feeling right now as I jump into a round of revisions with my agent to my experience with Jessica and my growth as a writer under her mentorship.  ~Heidi Stallman, Writer and Freelance Editor

Jessica was a pleasure to work with on developmental edits! She is insightful and thoughtful. She really helped me dig deeper into all areas of my manuscript, but her suggestions for strengthening various characters were exactly what I needed to hear. I would highly recommend her services. ~Niki Lenz, Author of Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen (Random House) and Team Gravy (Random House, Summer 2020)

My manuscript was improved 110% through working with Jessica. I would never have found my agent a few weeks after Pitch Wars without her help. More than that I’ve become an inestimably better writer. I can’t recommend her strongly enough. Getting Jessica as your mentor is akin to winning the writing lottery.  ~Yael Mermelstein, award-winning author of I Promise You 

FAQ’s

1. Some of your testimonials mention mentoring. Will you mentor me? 

Due to time constraints, I am only able to offer mentorships through the Pitch Wars program (I highly encourage you to apply!). Please see their website for more information.

2. Many writers you work with go on to secure agents and/or book deals. Can you offer any guarantee with your services?

No. My feedback is entirely subjective and publishing success is dependent on a variety of factors outside of my control.

3. I cannot afford a full critique. Can I send you my first (x) number of pages?

Yes, although my preference is to work on full manuscripts. Just as a doctor wouldn’t work on your heart without understanding how the rest of your body functions, all of the parts of a story work together. My feedback on an opening, for example, may be heavily influenced by how the book proceeds and eventually wraps up, something I can only ascertain by evaluating the manuscript as a whole.

4. How long will you take to evaluate my manuscript?

Unless we have discussed otherwise, you can generally expect to receive feedback 2-4 weeks after receipt of payment and materials.

5. Do you offer query/synopsis services?

No, I prefer to focus on story and find that all too often, writers polish their marketing materials before their manuscripts are ready. (Rare exceptions may be made for repeat clients, or those whose stories are close to ready after completion of a full manuscript evaluation, at at additional fee.)

6. Does your service include follow-up consultations?

No, however as a courtesy to my clients I will generally answer a limited number of respectful questions (via email) that may arise as a result of my edit letter. I reserve the right to cut off communication should any client be argumentative, derogatory, rude, or abuse this offer.