Therese Arkenberg's home on the web

Manuscript Editing Services

Whatever you’re writing, the right words make all the difference.

[W]e’re all writers. Writers aren’t just people who author books, articles, promotional material, or web copy. We write (in our minds, on the page, or on the screen) every time we communicate. The words we choose and the way we choose to use them determine whether our communication is successful.

-Sam Horn, in POP!

In the same way, we are all editors: every time we make a choice of word or phrase, we seek the most effective option. Many writers may be intimidated by editing because of the belief that it’s something done to them, a soulless evisceration of their work. But ultimately, editing is another step in the creative process: a final set of choices to make about your writing so that the soul shines through. I offer writers a second eye, the benefit of my training as a licensed copyeditor, and educational resources to strengthen their current and future manuscripts.

The line editor is supposed to be a book’s ideal reader, the one who asks all the questions and heads off all the problems in a book so that it satisfying—rather than maddening, confusing, or just too dull to finish—to other readers.

-George Witte, “This Just Needs a Little Work:
On Line Editing” in What Editors Do

Fill out this Google Form with details about your manuscript and editing needs to receive a sample and personal estimate for your project.

About Me

My clients include indie writers, first-time novelists seeking agent representation, memoirists and activists, two sisters publishing their late mother’s book, a romance author going strong with 10+ novels, and multiple finalists in international short story competitions.

In my leisure time, I read over 200 books a year in a wide variety of genres, from bestsellers to indie titles. Aside from just plain being fun, this active reading has supplied me with a wide and flexible perspective I can bring to genre, literary, and cross-genre work, understanding a given manuscript’s conventions and readers’ expectations while at the same time finding room for innovation. I am also a writer, which gives me firsthand understanding of what it feels like to be edited–the thrills, the anxieties, and the satisfaction of knowing a manuscript has been improved with the help of thoughtful input.

Alex F. says:  “I can’t say enough about the timely and thorough manuscript evaluation I received from Therese.  Her detail-oriented critique not only provided me with invaluable suggestions with regards to the overall structure of my story but, just as important, also touched upon how to fine-tune the subtle aspects of my novel to create a more superior read.  I look forward to utilizing her skill set again during the editing phase.”

My current editing schedule can be viewed in this Google calendar. It is preferred, though not mandatory, that you contact me at least 60 days before your preferred deadline (90 days would be excellent). This gives us time to arrange details and to provide the manuscript with a through review. Keep in mind that you will probably want at least 3 weeks before any publication or submission deadline in which to incorporate my suggestions and comments. Another week or two following that would be useful for a proofreading pass.

To learn more about my services, including a free sample on 1,000 words*, please fill out this Google Form with details of your manuscript’s length, genre, and editing needs. I can also be contracted through my Upwork profile.

For feedback on short stories, query letters, and other quick work, starting at just $5, check out my Fiverr page.

*This is available for prospective manuscripts of 30,000 words or longer.

What to Expect

Copyediting: I earned my Copyediting Certificate from the University of San Diego-Extension Program and work from a thorough knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style, while flexibly accommodating authors’ individual preferences.

You know what it’s like to come back to a hotel room in the afternoon and find that housekeeping has been there and everything is all fresh and put to rights? That’s how a copy editor would like you to feel when you see the editing. If you can view extra-duty editing as a mint on the pillow, all the better. What we don’t want is for you to feel insulted by the need for cleaning.

-Carol Fisher Saler, The Subversive Copy Editor

Line-by-line Edits: Beyond grammatical corrections, I analyze your work and message to help tailor your writing for clear, vivid flow of ideas. My feedback evaluates pacing, content, and word choice. Throughout the process I offer advice and propose guidelines to help develop your writing and self-editing talents even further.

Michael E. Kmiotek says: “Therese copy edited my novel and did a great job. She offered many helpful suggestions and continues to respond to questions in a timely manner. I highly recommend Therese Arkenberg if you need fast and accurate editing.

I work in partnership with writers, making edits through Tracked Changes and comments using Microsoft Word’s review features. We can also use Google Docs or other file formats–just ask.

Developmental Editing: My in-line comments include feedback on plot and character development. For a deeper evaluation of plot, character arcs, and overall style, I provide 3-8 page Developmental Memos. These can be delivered alongside a line edit or be done beforehand, since a story may change substantially in developmental edits. If you’d like to know more about this service, I can share an example memo upon request (from a previous client’s novel, with her gracious permission).

T. Hahm says: “The memo alone is like a writing seminar targeted at my particular story. Therese Arkenberg’s insights and editing skills were nothing short of remarkable. She seemed to know my characters better than I did.  I was most fortunate to have found her.

Market Research, Publishing Strategy, and POD Formatting
After polishing the manuscript, we can develop a plan for revisions and ultimate publication, whether that includes:

  • Finding anthologies, journals, and contests to submit your short story to.
  • Researching literary agents and preparing your query letter and synopsis.
  • Building a plan to self-publish and promote your work.
  • Formatting manuscripts for Print-on-Demand paperback and hardcover publication through Createspace or Lulu and/or for ebook publication through Kindle, Smashwords, the Google Play store, and other distributors.

Timeframe and Payment:
I can offer a specific timeframe based on my current schedule and the needs of a particular project. One thorough copyediting pass on a short story may take as little as 48 hours, and on a novel between 2 and 6 weeks. Delivery of short projects within 24 hours can be arranged for a “rush” surcharge.

Email me at tarkenberg199[at] with the details of your project for a specific estimate of timeframe and fee. Please include the length of your story in words instead of pages, as the same number of words can fit on different numbers of pages based on font choice, paragraphs, and spacing.

I accept funds through PayPal, Google Pay, or by check, usually half upon receipt of the manuscript, the remaining half upon delivery of completed review. For your convenience, I am happy to negotiate alternative payment plans or methods on an individual basis, including Western Union money transfers for international clients.

You can also hire my services through Fiverr and Upwork (formerly Elance).

Client Testimonials:

Douglas Esper says: “…hands down one of the top people operating on Fiverr, and you owe yourself to hire her.


Sue Wood & Alice Lundstrom say: “Meeting Therese was a God-send. She has prompted, helped and encouraged our efforts to get Mom’s story out of our boxes and hands….Without Therese’s editing help and direction on how to submit work for publication, this story, Shadow, the True Story of a Sandhill Crane, would still be a hidden manuscript in a box in one of our basements or attics… Therese helped us decide what our market audience would be. What age group was this book going to reach? Where there environmental groups that would be interested in marketing such a book? What publishers should we submit the draft to? What would a contract look like with a publisher? What time lines do they use?

Therese gently and logically took us through all the steps we needed to think about when trying to find and publish Mom’s book…Our Mom’s book has been accepted for publication and both my sister and I know this would not have been possible without Therese’s expert help.”


Jeff Jorczak (writing as Cody Leet) says: “Therese was one of the beta readers for my new novel Spheria. The depth of her analysis and feedback were invaluable. She caught some very subtle continuity issues that I had not even thought of. Her love of sci-fi and technology also helped me in particular since this book was heavy on science. Last, the detail of her notes was amazing, nearly a paragraph by paragraph analysis of what worked and what didn’t. I already asked her if we could working together again on my future projects. (and if you use her as a result of this recommendation, I get first dibs!)” 


Alero Dabor says: “I do not think I would have completed my memoirs without Thesere.

From the moment I started working with Therese, she has offered invaluable suggestions that empowered my story. Her understanding of what I was striving to achieve is truly commendable.

Therese is an exceptional editor. I will recommend Therese to anyone I know who is looking for an editor.”


Cynthia “Cyn” Duby says:  “I was very leery of hiring an editor and now I don’t know what to do without one!  And, there will never be another editor for me than Therese.  She is extremely thorough, makes excellent suggestions, and has tightened up my novel, improved the way the story arcs, and has given me, not only global suggestions, but also incredible line by line edits.  My writing has vastly improved and my confidence has grown immensely.  She not only is a very talented writer and editor, but she also knows the business and, knowing that I seek publishing, has that in her mind when editing and when we correspond.  My manuscripts will never leave home without her expert eye catching my errors, my repeated phrasing, and cutting the unnecessary words and confusing phrasing.  If you want your manuscript the best it can be to send to agents or publishers, use Therese.  However, if you want a pat on the back telling you how “nice” it is, don’t.  Be prepared for corrections, be prepared to hear that there are changes, and then smile knowing every change, every edit is making your work the very best it can be.”


Zahara Heckscher says:  “Therese is a talented writer and editor. I highly recommend her for manuscript review. She provided essential big picture suggestions for my novel with excellent ideas for conflict and character development as well as a close read with page by page comments to improve the draft. She made excellent and specific suggestions that improved my novel—and helped me strengthen my craft as a writer.”