Our unique track record spans thirty years coaching successful writers, so it shouldn't surprise that our listed prices may be among the highest in the industry. But that doesn’t mean we won’t help storytellers who are experiencing financial stress. The mind of the good writer is flexible, and so are we when it comes to budget constraints. Just let us know.
One-on-one professional assistance and interaction goes a very long way toward making your writing and publishing dreams a reality.
Every writer, every person with a story to tell, is unique, and we match the appropriate talent team to each Writer’s Lifeline client.Some of our clients want to be professional storytellers.
Our Writer’s Lifeline coaches and mentors guide, correct, and educate to help them develop and master their craft according to their individual goals, their specific aptitudes and challenges. Many clients come to us with a project in various stages of development, even a sketchy first draft of a novel or screenplay. Our editors guide them through the process not only of completing their work, but getting it ready for market.
* Each order comes with a Story Merchant stylus pen *
IS YOUR WORK READY FOR MARKET?
Before investing your time or money, find out with our affordable Feedback Report Service!
Here's what you'll get in our 1-2 page Feedback Report:
Taking a quick look, we'll let you know if your novel, screenplay, nonfiction book, or children's story is commercial in today's marketplace and, if not, why not. If it's fiction, we'll also tell you if it would be stronger as a book or a screenplay.
We'll point out any specific flaws
(a) in your story: character arc, plot, development, etc. - even the writing itself; or
(b) in your nonfiction approach.
A few specific suggestions to address any of these problem areas. You only get one chance to make a first impression - Make it your best.
Just $150 for our Feedback Report of your two-page synopsis ("overview" or "treatment"), sent in to us in Courier New 12-point, on single-sided double-spaced pages, along with your two best sample pages.
Each analysis and consultation is performed by a published novelist, published nonfiction writer, or optioned screenwriter, and double-checked by a professional Writer's Lifeline editor with best-selling marketing savvy. Your analysis will be sent to you by email at the address specified by you, within no more than 3-4 weeks.
Your payment for the Feedback Report is applicable against any further Writer's Lifeline service you contract for.
Expect a one-week turnaround.
Project Launch Analysis
The Writer's Lifeline Project Launch Analysis service provides you what your friends and family members can't and shouldn't try to give you: detailed and directive professional perspective and feedback in frankly commercial terms.
The Project Launch Analysis is a detailed written assessment of your project's strengths and weaknesses—both literary and from a market viewpoint—prepared for you by a Writer's Lifeline editor under Dr. Atchity’s supervision and review. FOR NOVELS and SCREENPLAYS, the analysis addresses such specific issues as your action line, characters, dialogue, setting, and style. FOR NONFICTION, your work’s clarity, organization, impact; and includes itemized style notes as well.
The Project Launch Analysis will let you see your project the way it's seen by buyers and sellers in the business, and will point you the way toward successful revision.
Novels & Nonfiction
(to 85,000 words)
(over 85,000 words)
Children’s Books & Graphic Novels
Your story's fate in the film and now too-often the publishing marketplace, is inextricably tied in with the "coverage,"a professional story editor's detailed assessment of your story's strengths and weaknesses, along with a recommendation of PASS, CONSIDER, CONSIDER WITH DEVELOPMENT, or RECOMMEND. The sad irony is that you never get to see that coverage because it's an internal tool used by execs (at agencies, management companies, production companies, broadcasters, and studios) to make acquisition decisions.
"Coverage" is the name of the document created by someone in the company’s story department, aimed at log-lining, synopsizing, and providing comments on the script’s strong points—along with a final "recommendation" that may be "pass," "pass, but keep writer in mind," "consider," or "recommend."
This Writer's Lifeline service allows you to see a professional coverage of your work--what the other side of the table thinks of your story.
In addition, a chart rates the script’s character development, visual potential, dialogue, structure, etc. on a scale of 1 to 5.
What if you have a story to tell, or knowledge to share, or a service to sell, and don't have time to write a book? Even if you aren't a writer at all, nor want to become one, you just "need a book written," we'll provide you with the manuscript you need to pursue your publication plans. Whether it's nonfiction or a novel, a magazine article or a political essay, we will find the right writer and editorial team to bring your words to the level of the professional marketplace.
Through in-depth interviews, careful review of notes, ideas jotted down on notebook, video, phone, or napkin, our Writer’s Lifeline ghostwriters, editors, and info-hounds do the research and prepare an initial draft for your review. They’ll go over it with you, integrating your input into subsequent drafts—and you’ll fill the role of editor, to make sure we've got it the way you want it.
CHARGE: Send us an email telling us what you're trying to accomplish, and what materials you've collected to date, and we'll set an appointment to discuss prior to quoting a price for your job.
Hourly Editorial Service
Whatever condition your work is in, we diagnose it, prescribe the remedy, and work to ensure that it is having the desired effect and adjust dosage as necessary.
To get started, we'll assess what you've written for its strengths and weaknesses. We'll edit your work conceptually, bringing it into clear and marketable focus. Structurally, we'll help you optimize organization to maximize dramatic impact. Stylistically, we'll correct errors of grammar and syntax; and finally our copy-editing will correct punctuation and spelling so your work will be ready for a professional eye.
We'll consult with you about what you've been thinking of writing. We'll help you distinguish between your back-burner projects and the project that is most likely to be your breakthrough into the market.
If you need help with story structure, we'll not only provide that but also teach you how to identify the mythic heart of your story. This valuable storytelling technique will serve you time and again throughout your writing career. Our experienced editors will help you with dialogue, character development, action, setting, and the nuts and bolts of the craft.
Though you'll be immediately assigned to an editor for initial assessment purposes, you will have complete flexibility in terms of how your editorial hours are spent.
Often our clients develop a strong professional relationship "bond" with a single editor—the kind of intellectual and creative "bond" that can transform careers.
Whichever way you choose to go, you can trust that Writer's Lifeline will keep the editorial standards and commercial focus high, and give you support and perspective to understand and respond to everything our editors tell you. And that they are being supervised at every time by Dr. Atchity, whose life mission is to help writers become the best they can be.
Your work will not only be readied for submission, but also you’ll get an education in self-editing along the way.
If you’re able to come to Los Angeles or New York, sign up for a 45-minute, one-on-one pitch and coaching meeting with Dr. Atchity. You take your best shot at pitching your story and on the spot he will tell you how to make your pitch tighter and more effective! This can also be done online through video chat.
"You should never trust a man who has only one way to spell a word."--Mark Twain
Ten out of ten publishers disagree with Mr. Twain.
Suppose you've got the talent, you've got the story and, somehow, you've gotten your manuscript finished--almost. Before it's ready to go to market and be welcomed or rejected by nitpicking eyes, every writer's work needs a little professional brush-and-polish.
Editing isn't just about mainstreaming your creative spelling innovations and herding dangling modifiers - though our editors do plenty of that. Writer’s Lifeline editors are are also expert readers, skilled in the art of putting themselves into the comfy slippers of the people who will be buying--and reading--your words.
In the world of commercial writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, many times the difference between manuscripts that get a one-way ticket to the "Thanks, but no thanks" file and the ones that we'll be seeing in the windows of our favorite bookstore isn't what the author wrote, but what he and his editors had the good sense to remove.
Depending on your specific needs as a writer, we provide not only straight copy-editing, but also style-editing and/or fact checking, as well as conceptual and/or structural editing. The extent of the edit is up to you.
Editing packages are available in 10- and 20-hour blocks of time, or, after 5 hours of editing to assess our time investment, we'll quote you a flat fee to complete the work if you prefer.
Along the way we help you acquire the tools you need to master the tricky business of knowing which passages, sentences, and words paint the picture and advance your story while keeping your reader interested and eager to see what comes next.
CHARGE: $125 per hour, with a suggested 10-hour minimum.
Few books or scripts are written without any research at all. Even when you "write what you know," you soon discover that you don't know all of it.
As a writer, you know that sometimes your characters have a way of living their own lives, going their own way without stopping to consider your personal level of expertise in the waters they have waded into almost before you even noticed they were on the beach barefooted. Too late to call them back, there they are, swimming out to sea, and carrying your story with them! There's nothing left for you to do but acquire some knowledge of ancient Mesopotamia, or medieval glassblowing, or city parks in Minneapolis.
It's impressive to read that such and such an author "spent seven years living in the Amazon jungle researching this novel," but for the majority of writers, especially new ones, this isn't practical.
Some writers find that their literary gift didn't automatically come with research skills of any kind, and even more vexing, the 24-hour day is holding steady at 24 hours and their clone inventory is holding steady at zero.
Writer's Lifeline offers a full range of research services tailored to your individual requirements. We love research and are good at it! Our trained editorial researchers will provide historical, biographical, technical, political, scientific, medical research to fit the needs of your writing project. State of the art on-line as well as traditional library and telephone research will ensure that your nonfiction and fiction is based on accurate facts, events, and situations. We are able to help you with all countries, time periods, and subject matters and provide full written and annotated reports for easy citation and rights clearance.
If your budget is small and you're a fast reader and feel at home on the web, our customized pointer lists might be all you need. If your time constraints are greater, you can upgrade to a summarized list. Summaries will be brief or extensive, according to your needs and preferences. If you're really pressed for time, or you don't know how to navigate the web, inquire about our full-service report package. We do all the work, so you can concentrate on developing your story.
NOTE: Availability and quantity of information is not the same for all topics. Whatever your research challenge, we'll help you develop a customized, time-saving research plan tailored to your specific needs.
CHARGES: $75 per hour, with a five-hour minimum
($75/hr, 5-hour minimum
Language is the tool of our trade. If you need your work translated into one or more languages, we'll match your project with the best translator for the job.
Whether you need to translate a corporate brochure or a novel, a business book or a report, a letter or a news article, let The Writer's Lifeline team of professional translators do it for you.
Each job is blind-checked by a second translator to ensure accuracy and appropriateness of tone and connotation. We have done translations to and from English for Cantonese, Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Tagalog.
Just a few years ago, most writers' books stayed where they were first published. Only the superstar writers working on their umpteenth bestseller had to think about how their work would be translated into other languages.
But something happened that changed all that--and if you’re reading this page, you are part of it! The internet has made us into a global village. Geography has taken a back seat to things we all share, like reading a good book, or seeing a good movie. Someone in California reads your book, and raves about it to a pal in Italy, who buys it, reads it, loves it, talks it up, a few more people in Italy read it, and next thing you know, your agent or publisher starts getting emails and letters: Where can I buy the Italian version?
When that happens, Writer's Lifeline is prepared to help. Our professional polyglots are ready to translate your work into the world's most popular languages. They know all the translation sand traps and pitfalls, and the nuances and cultural ambience of vocabulary in the language you used, and the target language as well. They will not hesitate to consult with you if the need arises.
You are, after all, the ultimate authority on what you meant on page 473, if that little turn of phrase was deliberately ambiguous, or not. Our translators will make sure that all your readers, from Alabama to Zimbabwe read the book YOU wrote and not just the translator's artistic impression of it.
Plus, in some cases Story Merchant, Writer's Lifeline sister company, may be able to sell your translated book to publishers in that language.
And yes, they will help you answer that effusive fan letter in something you think might be Japanese, but aren't really sure.
Exactly what conditions must be met in order for a fictional work of written prose to be considered a novel has long been the subject of intense and, depending on one's point of view, either fascinating or soporific debate.
There is no real consensus on exactly what the "first" novel was, but whether you're a staunch Dashakumaracharita advocate, or a proud member of Team Genji or Team Gilgamesh or even Team Gargantua, there's one area of undisputed common ground: A novel is first and foremost, a good story with a strong protagonist in a compelling situation.
Because the term covers such a wide range of works, created by such a wide range of individual talents, we probably can't make an unqualified assertion that no good novel has ever been written about a bad story, nor is a good story alone a guarantee. But it's a safe bet that a good story has a much better chance than a bad one of becoming a best-seller.
That's what your Writer's Lifeline editor will look at first: the basic components of your story.
The story is the cornerstone, the foundation of your novel. It's the soil from which the tree will grow and flower.
Like the evolving shape of a tree, a story can take on a life of its own during the writing process, and this can be a good thing. But most writers will be able to save themselves a great deal of revision time—and editorial costs—by putting the drawing board work on the front end: The sooner you show it to us, the more time and frustration you’ll save yourself.
A story may evolve and change, but if it's a good one to begin with, it's only going to get better as it grows.
Modern bestsellers tend to be "character-driven." It's through the characters that the story unfolds. Strong, well-drawn characters will become as real to your readers as they become to you while you're writing about them, or more accurately, writing them.
Our character development specialists can help avoid pitfalls and sail over common hurdles that almost all writers face at some point.
They'll help you find that magical balance between characters that are nuanced and fleshed-out without overtaking both the story itself and your reader's imagination. The reader's mind is a key element of any good story! Leave plenty of room for it in your draft, or the reader will stop reading.
While natural talent cannot be taught or learned, the craft of writing not only can, but must, be learned if the writer aspires to a finished product that has a fighting chance in today's competitive marketplace.
There are a great many more solid, well-constructed novels based on good stories on bookstore shelves than there are works of timeless literary genius.
Let us help you get your story straight and reach your ideal audience!
At Writer's Lifeline, we believe that the most lucrative stories are often the ones that are true. It's for this reason that we're so strongly committed to the mission of creating nonfiction book proposals.
If you have a great story to tell, or a great cause to champion, then it's your duty to us all to share it with as many people as possible.
And the good news is that, in the case of nonfiction, you don’t have to write the entire book. A 20-50 page proposal, consisting of the elements the publishers must consider, is enough to garner an advance that will finance the writing of the remainder of your book.
We also believe that the people who live the great stories are entitled to financial reward for sharing them-which is why the nonfiction book proposals we create are designed to sell books—and have sold dozens of them, including many bestsellers.
Our experienced Writer's Lifeline editors will help you tell your story, or champion your cause, in terms that enhance your "author qualifications" and best promise to captivate and inspire increasingly pressured acquisitions editors in today's market. When we succeed, we'll refer your manuscript to our sister company, Story Merchant, for representation.
Your completed nonfiction book proposal will include a one-page overview of your book, an annotated table of contents, at least two sample chapters, and sections about the author, the target audience, the competition, and the marketing possibilities, as well as other required supporting materials and documentation.
For writers seeking extensive editorial services on their project, Writer's Lifeline will guarantee ghostwriting, instruction, editing, and/or development for a contract price (the current range is $1000-$7500), determined after our Project Launch Analysis of the work and discussion with Dr. Atchity.
Our approach is holistic. We address every aspect of the writing process, from time management strategies based on your individual needs and practical considerations focused on achievable goals, to the nuts and bolts of story structure and character development--the carpentry that will shape your concept into solid reality.
As our track record shows, we know how to help writers through the maze of the writing process. We know about the bad days (writer's block, blank-page syndrome), and the good days, when characters, plot elements—everything—seem to just rush onto your page and arrange themselves perfectly, with little apparent effort on your part. We get you through the first, and help you maximize the second.
Bottom line: your goal is our goal. We want to get your talent's product to market.
The contract approach is our way of working with your budget to assure completion of your project for a manageable amount.
If you're not sure whether you need hourly services or a whole-project contract, start with a free initial consultation. We can help you choose the services—or even construct a custom package—that will be the best fit for your needs and your budget.