ignite your opening chapters

Get detailed developmental feedback on the first 15,000 words of your novel or memoir in just 7 days

Ignite your opening chapters in 7 days!

Are you a fiction or memoir writer who intends to self-publish, but you’re worried your book will flop badly with readers? 

Perhaps you hope to submit to an agent and you’re anxious your story and characters aren’t cutting it?

Perhaps you’ve written a good chunk of your book only to find that your plot has derailed and now you don’t know what to do?

Or maybe you’ve already published your book and it bombed, barely getting any readers?

Whichever category you fall into, you’re trying to do your very best work, something you can be proud of.

Writing a book is no mean feat! But here’s the thing – none of us can be completely objective about our own work. Truthfully, we’re just too close and emotionally invested. 

Plus, there are just so many things to keep track of when writing a novel or memoir.

Developmental editing of fiction and memoir

Do you find yourself endlessly rewriting, never knowing if you're making it better or worse? Time for an Opening Chapters Edit.

Does your manuscript have these issues?

Does your plot have holes? Are there any loose threads?

Are your characters fleshed out? Are your antagonists two-dimensional baddies?

Are the stakes high enough

Is there enough tension and drama in your story?

Does your main character have a credible character arc

For that matter, does your writing match your genre?

Do you have an identifiable genre? Or is it a mishmash of genres? And does a mix like this actually work on the page?

And let’s not get started on the fact you’ve read and rewritten your scenes and chapters so many times that you no longer remember what you’ve put in and what you’ve taken out. 

Let’s get real here – are you making things better or worse?

The truth is, there are so many things to keep track of when you’re writing a novel or memoir. So many moving parts: characterisation, plot, pace, theme, genre, dialogue, structure, and more.

All you want to do is wow readers or agents. But writing can be a lonely business. Especially if you don’t have access to a writing group or critique partner.

And even when you do have access to other writers’ feedback, you might be afraid your work isn’t good enough and they’ll judge you. 

All the same, you still need a fresh pair of eyes on the manuscript. Preferably someone who is knowledgeable enough to spot issues and how to fix them. 

You need detailed editorial feedback that is tailored to your needs, your level of experience, and which gives you an easy-to-understand rewrite plan.

You also want it to be affordable – something that won’t break the bank. 

Developmental editing is also known as structural editing or substantive editing.

Why developmental editing is so important.

Developmental editing is the most in-depth form of big picture editing. It’s also known as structural editing and substantive editing.

It’s not a manuscript critique, and it also doesn’t deal with spelling, grammar, and punctuation because you’re not at that stage yet.

First things first – you need to make sure your story works, your main characters are engaging, and everything else is working well.

You need not just an editorial letter or report which analyses your manuscript, but a copy of the manuscript itself with helpful comments in the margins.

That way, you get specially targeted feedback exactly where you need it. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a writer and developmental editor, it’s that feedback is crucial to producing great work. 

We can’t see our own mistakes as writers. What we see are the things that are in our heads rather than on paper, and the reality is that the reader only sees what’s on paper.

You might have edited something out and don’t realise some things no longer make sense. 

The last thing you want is to find out via a negative review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Other things that might be holding you back include lack of confidence, fear of being judged, of not being good enough. Imposter syndrome.

Perhaps seeing other writers online, chatting about their work, makes you feel less confident. 

Having seen how writers become more confident and inspired with the right support and advice, I know the opening chapters edit is a great way to get feedback on a fairly meaty chunk of your book, without it being a huge endeavour.

Also, things you learn about your opening chapters can be applied to later sections of your book. 

I’ve developmentally edited well over a million words of fiction and memoir. I know from experience as an editor and writer that feedback is vital when it comes to producing a great book. 

15,000 words developmentally edited at an affordable price - delivered within 7 days!

A detailed edit at an affordable price!

Not everyone has the money to pay for a full developmental edit, or even a manuscript critique, especially if they don’t know the editor and don’t know if they’ll get valuable feedback.

And it’s possible to learn a lot about your manuscript with just some opening chapters and synopsis feedback. There are so many insights to be had, obstacles to unblock. Knowing you’re on the right track inspires you to move on!   

It’s my mission to help self-publishing novelists and memoirists rework and improve their books through detailed and actionable editorial plans. The Opening Chapters Edit provides the opportunity to try out an edit for an affordable price. And even better – it’s an express service that should help you tackle other parts of your manuscript.


Developmental editing of fiction

Grab an Opening Chapters Edit for £150!

Introducing your Opening Chapters Edit.

I’ve worked on many 10,000-word edits in the past, and my clients found them enormously helpful. 15,000 words is an even meatier word count!

Depending on the length of your book, this can be a fair chunk of the manuscript. Common issues will usually show up here and addressing them allows you to know what to look for in the rest of your manuscript. 

What you get:

Editorial letter – so you can get an overview of your manuscript and its strengths and weaknesses, helping you move on to the next round of writing and polishing. 

Copy of the manuscript with track commenting in the margins – so that you can see exactly where problems crop up, or where changes can be made. And hey – I also point out what I like!

A book map so I can break your opening chapters down and examine them in more depth, providing you with my findings. Sometimes things are easier to understand when presented visually.

Targeted reading list – so you can dig deeper into the specific issues I point out in your manuscript. I check out writing books regularly and have found my recommendations have ignited client writing and given them greater confidence.

Analysis of your synopsis – so you know if your ending fits with the story’s beginning! I will also look at the structure of the story in the opening 15,000 words and compare it events detailed in your synopsis to get an idea of the overall structure. I’ll also make suggestions on structure for the rest of the book.

The value of the basic edit is $450/£320, based on the Editorial Freelancers Association which lists developmental editing rates as $0.03-0.039. I am using the lowest rate of $0.03. 

This value does not include the bonus extras including a book map, examination of your synopsis which I will use to assess your opening 15,000 words, plus supplementary reading list. These bonuses are currently FREE and included within the standard editing price.

Why am I bundling in so much into this package? Well, I’ve seen how much of a difference a close examination of the opening chapters of a novel can make. For those who cannot afford a full developmental edit, there is still much to benefit. 

And for those who just want to know they’re on the right track, or who want to trial a developmental edit before choosing a bigger package, it’s a great option.

And what I love best is when clients are eager to get back to reworking their manuscripts.

An Opening Chapters Developmental Edit can really re-ignite your enthusiasm for your book. Sometimes writers have gone round and round in circles so often that they just feel drained and uncertain. And uncertainty hits motivation.

My job is to help you with that. 

And let’s not forget that 2020-2021 has been a terrible year for everyone, affecting incomes and the cost of living. So, for a limited time, I’m keeping my Opening Chapters Edit at a lower price. After that, the price will go up to something in line with the scale of the package.

Price: £320 – £150

Plus value of bonuses.

Mini developmental edit for £150!


This Opening Chapters Edit is available for the following genres:

Opening Chapters Package includes an analysis of your first 15,000 words and your synopsis.

this edit is for you if:

Opening Chapters Edit

Editorial report, a copy of your manuscript with margin comments, a book map, and a reading list!

this edit is not for you if:

Here's how it works...

how it works

Contact Me

Use the contact form or my email address on the contact page to let me know about your manuscript. I’ll send you a questionnaire about your project and intentions.


If we both agree, I will send you a contract and an invoice for 50% of the fee upfront. You will be given a completion date. Payment is by direct bank transfer, Stripe, or Paypal.


If you are not booked in for an immediate edit, you can pay a 25% deposit to book your place, then 25% just before the edit begins, then 50% when the edit is complete.


When the edit is complete, I will send you all the materials. You are free to contact me about any questions you have. I will invoice you for the remaining 50% of fee.

This is not a line edit. However, I include some feedback on things like dialogue formatting, paragraphing, repetition, crutch words and phrases, and manuscript formatting.

what you get with your edit

A recap of what you will get with your Opening Chapters Edit:

How IndieCat Editorial can help you

More testimonials from past clients.


Most frequent questions and answers

Word documents in a readable font like Times New Roman or Calibri. The text should be double spaced to allow plenty of space for magins comments.

When you book an edit you will receive a booking date. If there’s a queue, your commencement date may be days or weeks in the future. If there is no queue, you can have your edit much sooner. The turnaround for the edit itself is seven days. So, if you book today and I have an immediate space in my calendar, you will receive your edit within around seven days (depending on whether your booking is taken at the beginning or end of the working day).

Yes. If you provide me with your synopsis, I have a better overview of the entire plot and character development. It means I can assess whether your ending fulfills the promise of your opening chapters.

This option is only useful if you are booked in ahead of time. In that case, your payment can be split into three parts – 25% booking fee, 25% at the start of the edit, then the final 50% after delivery of the manuscript. But there will be only a few days between the second payment and the third invoice.

The final payment is due within 14 days of delivery of the manuscript.

No. I sometimes see writers looking for an editor who can turn them into a bestselling author, but there are many factors in becoming successful. Writing a great book is one factor, but marketing, writing in a popular category, and having high-quality cover art are also important.

Let's Chat

Ready to get a developmental edit of your first 15,000 words?

Save weeks if not months of endless rewriting and wondering if your novel is off to a great start.