Kirkus Editorial

Have Your Book Edited by Experts from the Nation’s Top Publishing Houses

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About Our Professional Editors


Kirkus only selects editors who have worked on books published by the top publishers in the United States. We define the “top publishers” as the big five (Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and HarperCollins); award-winning independent presses, such as Graywolf, Kensington, and Abrams; or otherwise notable genre publishers, such as Harlequin.


An editor must prove his or her ability to provide thoughtful, productive feedback; show exceptional attention to detail; and exhibit expert knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, the style guide used by all major U.S. publishing houses.


Kirkus’ editors are held to the industry’s highest standards and have proven track records of maintaining consistent quality. We ensure that our standards are met by assigning an experienced production editor to review all work before it is returned to the author.

How it works

Choose your service

Kirkus offers three options to accommodate varying timelines, needs, and budgets. To learn about the options, scroll down to Editing Services.

Place your order

Our online order form is simple and secure.

Upload your manuscript

An editor will be assigned to your project within two business days.

Track the status of your project

After completing your order and uploading your manuscript, you will be automatically redirected to a personalized author dashboard, where you will be able to track your project step by step through the editorial process.

Download feedback and edits from one of the nation's top editors

When your editorial work is complete, you will receive an email notification with a link to your author dashboard, where you will be able to download your editor’s feedback and the edited manuscript. If you order Collaborative Editing or the Professional Editing Package, you will also receive instructions on how to schedule the one-hour consulting session with your editor.

Editing Services

For more than 80 years, Kirkus has been a leader in editorial excellence in the publishing industry. Now we have developed a book editing division to offer unpublished and self-published authors access to the publishing industry’s top editors. We’re dedicated to making it simple for an author to get insightful, useful feedback, notes and corrections from the same editors who work on books published by the likes of Knopf, Viking, Simon & Schuster, Tor and Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

For a quick overview of all editing packages:

  • Basic Copyediting - A thorough cleanup that focuses on the mechanics of language—correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typos. Copy editors also look for continuity errors (e.g., a character’s eyes are blue in one chapter and brown in another), and they will make sure the timeline tracks and the details are consistent. But they will not go as deep with the developmental feedback as the collaborative editors do. The standard turnaround is 15 business days from the day you place the order. The price is 2 cents per word, with a minimum charge for books that are less than 13K words.
  • Collaborative Editing - A developmental edit that focuses on big-picture issues like structure, pacing, tone, and characterization. The editor will also do some line editing to clean up typos and punctuation issues, but they will not perform a copyedit. Along with the marked-up manuscript, you’ll receive a memo outlining the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions on how to approach revisions. Once you review the editor’s comments, you’ll have a one-hour follow-up phone call during which you can ask for clarification or further advice on next steps. The standard turnaround is 20 business days from the day you place the order. The price is 3 cents per word plus $99 for the phone call, with a minimum charge for books that are less than 13K words.
  • Professional Editing Package - This consists of three rounds of editing and most closely resembles the editorial process at traditional publishers. It includes 1) the collaborative editing service and phone call as described above, 2) the copyediting service as described above, and 3) a final proofread to catch any lingering typos and finalize formatting. There are no time limits between each stage—you can take as long as you need to make revisions before moving on to the next round. The price is 6.5 cents per word, with a minimum charge for books that are less than 13K words.

Basic Copyediting

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Perfect if you're looking for basic manuscript cleanup or if you're facing budget and timeline restrictions

2 cents/word
*$500 minimum

15 business days

Details & How it works

Collaborative Editing

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Best place to start if your manuscript has not yet been edited by a professional publishing-industry editor

$99 + 3 cents/word
*$500 minimum

20 business days

Details & How it works

Professional Editing Package

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Ideal if you want to put your manuscript through the same editorial process the major houses follow

$99 + 6.5 cents/word
*$500 minimum

custom timeline

Details & How it works
Get a free quote

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here and enter your username and password. Contact if you have any trouble accessing your account.

We accept only Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) files. Please do not include any content you do not wish to be edited as part of the manuscript. (For example, if you want to share your bio with the editor as background information, please upload it as a separate file rather than adding it to the end of your manuscript.)

The following style settings are used frequently in the industry and make the manuscript easier to review:

  • Font: 12-point Times New Roman, black type
  • Margins: 1” all around
  • Spacing: double
  • Page numbers: bottom of page, centered
  • Paragraph indenting 0.5”, formatted automatically instead of created manually with tabs

Kirkus does not believe in censorship and will accept most manuscripts, including erotica and controversial political tomes. We do, however, respect our editors’ preferences, and may decline a project if we are unable to find an editor willing to review sensitive material. Additionally, we reserve the right to decline a project if the content contains hate speech. Per Merriam-Webster’s, “hate speech” is defined as “speech that is intended to insult, offend, or intimidate a person because of some trait (such as race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability).”

This site is secure for credit card payments, and we prefer to process orders online to support an efficient workflow process. If you must pay by check or money order, however, you may email for instructions.

Our editorial services will help you present your best work in clean form; however, we do not represent manuscripts to publishing houses or agents for acquisition.

Kirkus Editorial focuses on editing services, and we do not currently offer design services. Because formatting specifications can vary among self-publishing platforms, we do not apply e-book formatting or create design elements such as tables/charts, book covers, etcetera.

Absolutely. If you have questions about our program and have not yet placed an order, please call 888-407-4474. Once you have placed your order, you will be provided an email address to reach our staff editor with any questions about the status of your project. Additionally, if you order Collaborative Editing or the Professional Editing Package, you will have the opportunity to set up a one-hour consulting session with the editor who worked on the collaborative edit of your book after the edited manuscript and feedback are returned.

A member of the Kirkus Editorial staff will be available to discuss any details of your project if questions arise after the session; however, you will not have continued direct contact with the editor. The one-hour session is designed to give you ample time to discuss the project and ask high-level questions about your work, but in order to maintain a competitive fee schedule that authors can afford and to protect our editors’ ability to meet deadlines, we do not allow direct correspondence with editors beyond the consulting session. It is important to note, however, that a member of the Kirkus Editorial staff will be available to answer questions before, during, and after your project is completed.

We aim for perfection, but it is not guaranteed. We do guarantee that it will be returned to you with great improvements, and that our work adheres to the book industry’s highest standards, including following the Chicago Manual of Style on all matters of grammar and style.

Virtually all books published by the major houses go through multiple rounds of editing for a few reasons. First, different editors look at different issues. Collaborative editors are looking at the text as a reader or agent would: Is this a good story? Will it find its intended audience? Does the author have to address any high-level issues with style or voice? Copy editors, on the other hand, are ace grammarians and are looking at the text line by line from a technical standpoint: Is the writing comprehensible and free of typos? Are capitalization and similar style components consistent throughout, so as not to confuse or distract the reader? Though a few can do it all, many editors specialize in one type of editing. Second, additional editing is a must anytime significant revisions are made, as rewriting will inevitably introduce new errors. Some of the titles you see on the shelves went through multiple rounds of developmental and copyediting before the authors and publishers were satisfied with the finished work. To ensure that your book can compete with the best books published by the major houses, we encourage independent authors to follow the publishers’ lead and put your book through at least two full rounds of editing if your budget and time line allow. With three full rounds, our Professional Editing Package gives your manuscript the same thorough treatment best-selling and award-winning books receive.

If you order multiple rounds of editing one round at a time, you will pay for Collaborative Editing ($99 + 3 cents per word) first and then for Copyediting (2 cents per word) when you upload the updated version of your manuscript. If you are interested in three rounds of editing to follow the process used by the major publishing houses, you may order the Professional Editing Package ($99 + 6.5 cents per word) now or upgrade to the Professional Editing Package either after round one or after round two and pay only the difference in total cost. Please visit the Pricing page for rate details and a custom quote.