Hillary Leftwich is that rare find; She’s a brilliant writer who’s also a great teacher. I’ve taken numerous workshops over the years and I haven’t encountered better. Typically, I’m a slow writer who has produced multiple pieces in her workshops. I’ve published work that had her hand in the finish, and I’m a better writer and teacher from the experience.
As it should be, the way she approaches the work without ego, the level of the writer doesn’t matter. She’s helped me in my poem work that I’ve been doing for twenty-five years and my short prose work which I’ve only just begun. She’s my first recommendation for both manuscript help and workshop. -Rogan Kelly- author & founding editor of The Night Heron Barks
Hillary isn’t only an author doing her own thing. She’s a participating, contributing member of a thriving writing community. That says it all. –Deanna M. Rasch– author & editor
Hillary recently edited an essay of mine about a difficult subject, and I was astounded by her thoroughness, her thoughtfulness, her professionalism, and her compassion. She was more than a champion for my work; she understood exactly what I wanted to do and had clear-eyed advice on how to do it. I would work with her again on another project without hesitation. –Cheryl Pappas– author & editor
I hired Hillary to help me wrap up the final edits on my full-length poetry manuscript. I was in a place where I’d been working on it for so long I could hardly “see” it anymore. I knew it wasn’t quite the best it could be yet but couldn’t put my finger on why or how. Hillary’s literary insight, unwavering support, and attention to every detail helped me get past that roadblock and get it ready for publication. –Mary Harpin-author, creative writing instructor At Lighthouse Writers
Hillary is a thoughtful and thorough editor and teacher who you can trust to treat your work with the care it deserves. She has helped me move stories from rough first drafts into polished final pieces ready for publication — and even helped me find the right outlets to get those final pieces published. I have recommended her to anyone looking for an expert editor for their writing project, from budding first-time writers to experienced authors with multiple books under their belt. Look no further than Alchemy Author Services to guide writing from where it’s at to where you want it to be! -Patricia McCrystal-author & founder of VIRAGO Creative Writing Circle
As a writer, Hillary Leftwich is diamond-hard and ruby-pure, made of the rarer, more beautiful rocks. In the several years I’ve known her, she’s shown consistent dedication to the literary arts, revolutionizing flash fiction with her vignettes, and discerning the tough knot of love at the root of the very worst things in her long-form stuff. She’ll prove a good steward. -Zack Kopp- author & founder of Camp Elasticity Productions Co
A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
“Finding the editor who’s right for you requires a very subtle alchemy.”
Editing. It may be the one thing a writer is scared of the most. A second set of eyes is key to editing a piece of writing and discovering what you may be overlooking.
Writing is a magickal act. But like any endeavor, it requires transformation. Words matter, and when we don’t know how to edit our work, our voice can easily be forgotten or ignored. When we sweep away the unnecessary language and layers in our writing, we discover our own magick.
What resurrects a piece of writing can be the difference between an acceptance or a rejection. These are the words or language that embody our work and evoke the reaction as writers we crave within our readers.
I understand how it feels to suffer from burn out after reading a piece over and over. The words become too familiar, and mistakes are often overlooked. What is worse than finding even simple errors you meant to change after you’ve already submitted a piece for publication?
After staring too long at words, our minds start to skip over and miss what has become familiar. It’s like looking at a car engine, you can find certain parts and mechanisms at first, but the more you stare, the more you fail to notice.
I can help you with the following:
- Structural editing. A structural editor helps you to find the right structure for your manuscript. This is a big-picture edit, more creative than technical.
- Content editing. Also called substantive editing, comprehensive editing, or heavy editing. This is a macro-to-micro edit that blends structural and line editing.
- Line editing. Also called stylistic editing (Canada), this type of edit focuses on making sure the writing is clear and tight and improving the flow of your manuscript.
- Copyediting. A detailed, technical edit to make sure the writing is as tight and complete as possible. Copyeditors check grammar, correct usage, spelling, and punctuation.
- Proofreading. A final word-by-word review and polish for punctuation and spelling.
My editing philosophy stands on honesty as well as encouragement. It’s your baby. In the end, YOU decide what goes and what stays.
One of my favorite services I offer! This involves reading submission-ready pieces and recommending which journals will be the best fit for your writing.
Every journal has a different aesthetic. It can take hours to do your homework and determine which ones will be the best home for your writing. Who has time for that? I’ll help you narrow down which journals and/or contests to submit to based on your unique style and voice. Sometimes contest fees are worth it, sometimes not. I’ll help you make the best decision overall for your work.
Are you frustrated over that one journal that keeps rejecting your writing? I can evaluate your piece and give my honest feedback if it’s a good fit or not, and if it is, what I can do to increase your chances of acceptance. Slush piles are easy to avoid, and there are certain tricks you can utilize to avoid having your writing dumped and forgotten, doomed for rejection.
MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION & MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONS
Before you begin submitting and even querying your finished manuscript, novel, or memoir, it’s crucial to have a professional editor evaluate your work. This is only after your final (yes, final) edits have been completed, and you feel you can’t possibly change another sentence. It won’t be helpful if there are still minor edits to be made.
So what does a manuscript evaluation consist of? Many viewpoints will be considered:
- Genre. Does your manuscript abide by what are the usual and accepted standards?
- Story. Is your story clear? Are your voices and your perspectives clear enough for the reader to understand? Are the stakes high enough? Is the story goal clear? Does your plot development make sense in partnership with your story? Does it require more oomph? Thrills? Or the unexpected?
- Structure. Does your story have the right pace? Did you establish your characters to do their job and be either loved or hated by your reader?
- Mechanics. Are you choosing your words carefully as far as including the bomb adjectives and adverbs? Are there grammatical errors still?
Evaluating your manuscript is not the same as developmental editing. Evaluation is simply an overview of what is working for your writing and what isn’t. I’ll explain what is relevant, what I feel is the theme, and how this connects to your manuscript.
If you feel you need feedback on specific areas in your manuscript, I can also provide partial feedback. Reviewing up to a maximum of around 5,000 words will give me a good idea of any consistent issues I might see.
Manuscript Submission: Depending on your manuscript, (all manuscripts vary) I provide a polished query letter, book synopsis, and a list of presses to submit to based upon your manuscript’s aesthetic. This includes book contests. What are the advantages of submitting to presses versus self publishing? You can read more about the pros and cons here: Pros and Cons
The Hierophant is a teacher or counselor who will help in the learning / education of the writer.
Looking for more than just an editor? I can fill the many roles you might be considering as far as a total package: editing services, journal recommendations, manuscript evaluations, synopsis and cover letters, and tips and tricks to help you gain the confidence to self promote and market your writing. YOU are your own promoter, and there is no shame in shouting out your accomplishments. I’ll show how (and still remain humble, I promise).
Emergency Editing: 24-Hour Turnaround
Have an editing emergency? Maybe the contest you forgot about is closing submissions, or your thesis project needs one final read-through. Maybe your writing group couldn’t meet, and you have a deadline to meet? McSweeney’s is taking subs for one day only! We’ve all been there! Take a deep breath and know help is here for you.
I can help you with a super sly turnaround of 24 hours on a piece of 2,000 words or less. Trust me, I’m used to tight deadlines. Having worked on several last-minute manuscript edits, fast turnarounds are one of my specialties!
Hiring an editor is a very personal choice. Get recommendations from other writers and look for an editor with experience in the genre you are writing in. I am always happy to provide a sample edit so you can see if we will click! My commitment to you is I will always make your writing my priority.
Additionally, I understand language is essential when writing, and I am aware of a writer’s voice, style, and dialect when editing a piece. A good editor helps the writing to be better, not different. A great editor will never disrupt a piece of writing from its original authenticity regarding race, creed, or sexual orientation.
Rates & Services (based on Industry Standards) on the lower range. A friend referral discount will always be applied. I also work on budgeting with teachers and offer payment plans (with a deposit up front)
|TYPE OF WORK||ESTIMATED PACE||RANGE OF FEES|
|Basic copyediting||5–10 ms pgs/hr||$30–40/hr|
|Heavy copyediting||2–5 ms pgs/hr||$40–50/hr|
|Developmental editing||1–5 pgs/hr||$45–55/hr|
|Substantive or line editing||1–6 ms pgs/hr||$40–60/hr|
|INDEXING||8–20 pr pgs/hr||$35–65/hr
$5.50–$12/pr ind pg
|PROJECT MANAGEMENT||$9–30/pr pg
|PROOFREADING||9–13 ms pgs/hr||$30–35/hr|
|WRITING||1–3 ms pgs/hr|