The world needs your book. My job is to help make it the best it can be.

I'm obsessed with books. I'm guessing you are, too, if you're writing one. And congratulations on that, by the way. Writing an entire book (or short story or article or any piece of writing) takes incredible commitment and discipline. To reach the point that you're ready for an editor is a huge accomplishment. 

Jess Shulman is an extraordinary editor—everything a writer dreams of and wants. ... She is a joy to work with, a true collaborator who is respectful, tactful, gentle, and articulate, and who meets every deadline. I highly recommend her.
— Jan Wong, author of Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China

After so much hard work, you want to make sure that the work you share with the world, whether you self-publish it or submit it to traditional publishers, is as good as it can be. I offer three main services to help get you there. Please contact me to talk about your project.


Manuscript evaluation

You've slaved for weeks and months over your book. But if you're the only one who's seen it, how can you know if it's ready for prime time? In a manuscript evaluation, I read your book cover to cover and provide a written critique. For fiction, I look at elements like plot, character, dialogue, and setting. In non-fiction, I focus on things like organization, consistency, completeness, and clarity. This is the most budget-friendly editing service I offer, and it's the right place to start for a new manuscript. 


stylistic editing and copy editing

Once you're satisfied with the overall story or structure of your book, you're ready for a much more detailed edit, to go through your manuscript line by line, both to make sure your word choice and sentence structure really sing (stylistic editing), and to address issues of spelling, grammar, punctuation, consistency, and other mechanics (copy editing). For efficiency and to keep costs down, I typically recommend doing these as a single step, but I'm also happy to quote on them separately.



A lot of people confuse copy editing with proofreading. Proofreading is actually the very last step in the editorial process; it's the final quality check after layout and before publication. Here, I'm looking for any issues that cropped up through the design/layout process, including text inadvertently left out, unfortunate page breaks, headings not aligned, incorrect images used ... accidental weirdness of any kind. I also check for any errors that were missed in previous steps. 

See Types of Editing, where I go on at great length about each of these.

Your work was everything I could have asked for and more: the result is a manuscript that I am proud to send to my publisher. If you ever need a recommendation I will be glad to give you five stars, and I will certainly use Jess Shulman Editorial again.
— Ian Angus, author of A Redder Shade of Green


You won't find a price list on my website. I know, frustrating, right? But here's the thing. Every piece of writing is completely different—yours may need only the lightest of copy edits, while the next author's needs a very deep, detailed edit. Until I see it, there's no way for me to know how much work will go into it or how long it will take. 

To quote on your project, I'll do a free sample edit on a short portion of your manuscript. This not only helps me to understand what it needs and build a quote, but it also helps you know what to expect from me, so you can have confidence that you're getting the careful, thoughtful work that you're looking for. I can also provide options for you to choose from that will accommodate different budget levels. Please contact me; I'd love to talk through your project.

Thank you for your consummate patience and professionalism on this project. It dragged on and on (through no fault of yours!), but you stuck with it, kept things on track, and left the client happy. I couldn’t ask for more.
— Martin Ainsley, Production Editor, Goose Lane Editions