Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Lydia Netzer, Developmental Editor, Book Doctor, Manuscript Consultant

After several years of using my red pen only on essays written by my literature students, I'm putting my editing hat back on, for a few clients this summer, and a few more in the fall. 

I'm the type of editor who will be honest with you, and also be your biggest cheerleader. I believe in listening to your goals and helping you figure out what exactly you want to communicate with your story. I believe in working hard on your manuscript, and giving it my full attention. And then I believe in telling you the hard truth, stuff other people might not tell you, about what to cut, what to lean into, what's not working, and what has the potential to shine. 

I have a masters degree in English literature, and I've been teaching fiction writing, expository writing, and literature, from university level down to elementary school, since the 90s. My two novels, Shine Shine Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky  (links take you to reviews in the New York Times), were published by St. Martin's press, so I've been through the process of selling a novel and working with an agent and an editor at a big publisher. Thirty years into working with writers, I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve, and insight as to what obstacles you're facing and how to get over them. 

I do three types of editing work. The first is the most intense, time-consuming, and therefore expensive. This is developmental editing, at 5 cents a word. It's a close critique, with mark-ups on every page, and tons of suggestions and analysis of each scene and section of your book. I can also do this kind of work for shorter fiction and essays, with a $50 minimum. 

The second type of work I do is book doctoring, where I read your whole novel (up to 80K words) for $1000, and make holistic suggestions. This is less expensive, and perhaps better for an early draft, where you need to talk through big-picture stuff and figure out what your book is really about. I'll deliver pages of notes, and give you lots of suggestions for different directions you can take your project, then answer all your questions about it. 

The third option is a live consultation, which happens via video chat at $50/hour, and can go along with either type of editing service, or independently, if you want to talk about a piece you're working on. 

I have worked with absolute beginners and bestsellers. I have a few testimonials here, to give you a sense of the impact I can have on your work: 

Her helpful feedback was also instructional. My writing is better, stronger, for having worked with Lydia.                                -- Drema D.

Lydia strengthened my novel with her clear and concise feedback. I was much happier with my story and was finally able to finish all my rewrites.                                                                                 -- Marta P.

I do not believe I would have finished my novel without Lydia’s keen eye. She is truly remarkable at her craft and equally talented at helping others realize their vision. The best decision I made was trusting her to make my manuscript better.                                            -- John S.

If you'd like me to read your novel, or talk about the possibilities of working together, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, or email me at lydianetzer @ 


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