Talking Story

Lehua’s alter-ego, Michelle, is a freelance editor.

Please send editorial service inquiries to

My clients include both traditional and indie authors of best sellers, thought leaders in industry, successful film and television writers, essayists, and even children’s picture book authors. From corporate white papers to query letters to epic fantasy novels to screenplays, if it has words, I can help you bring your vision to light. I have decades of experience editing most genres, including creative non-fiction, speculative, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, thriller, and literary coming of age for middle grade, young adult, and adult audiences.

Before beginning an editing project, I make sure that I’m the right fit for the material and client by asking for sample pages, summaries, blurbs, themes, and information about the target audience and genre. The timeline, costs, deliverables, scope, payment schedule, and expectations are clearly defined and agreed upon at the start of a project. The prices below are general guidelines.

Manuscript Evaluation: $0.01 per word, minimum $100

A manuscript evaluation is for completed, polished works. You’ll receive a report that breaks down the reader’s expectations and how well the manuscript delivered, plot strengths and weaknesses, overall pacing, character arcs and development, and my analysis of the viability of concept and execution. For Children’s, MG, and YA works, I also look at age level conventions, language levels, and possible ties to Common Core Curriculum.

Developmental Editing: $0.02 per word

A developmental edit is a deeper dive than an evaluation and involves multiple readings. The focus is story development. I break down the manuscript by chapter and show you where the beats fall in pacing, plot, and character development. I look at the expectations of the audience for the genre/genres, where tension or stakes can be raised, POV, and identify gaps in story logic. If I spot consistent errors in punctuation or grammar, I’ll point them out in the report, but won’t correct them in the manuscript.

Substantive Editing/Heavy Line Editing: $0.02 per word 

A substantive edit includes editing for organization, logical flow, continuity, and word choice. The focus is on sentence and paragraph structure. I look at tense, word choice, grammar, and spelling. If needed, I’ll make substantial changes or recommendations directly on the manuscript. As always, my line edits are only suggestions.

Copyediting: $0.013 per word

A copyedit is for manuscripts that are nearing submission to an agent or publisher. The manuscript is edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, word choice, homophones/wrong word, consistency in character names, appearance, and logical continuity.

Proofreading: $0.008 per word 

Proofreading is for final-version text, generally after the text is in its final format. The focus is on catching the final typos that linger through other editing passes or creep in during layout. Unless it has been several months since I’ve seen a manuscript, I do not proofread manuscripts I have previously worked on.

Blurbs, Author Bios, Query Letters: $0.10 per word, $50 minimum

I’ll help you polish or craft a blurb, query letter, author bio, or summary for maximum impact.

Author Consultation: $50 per hour

An in-person meeting or phone call to discuss a concept before it’s written, to brainstorm possible solutions to story problems, or to prep a submission package.


Ghostwriting services range from simple uncredited collaborations to complete work-for-hire manuscripts.

Authenticity/Sensitivity Reading & Consultation: $0.005 per word

Manuscript review for issues of representation, bias, historical, and cultural authenticity. Contact me to discuss your goals and concerns, and we’ll determine if I’m a good fit. Expertise in Hawaiian culture, history, and other topics.

Manuscript Layout & QA/QC

All formats of eBooks and paperback and hardback print layout. I use Vellum. Services include linking front and back matter to specific stores and websites, custom breaks and chapter headings, and a scan for errors and inconsistencies in the manuscript. Costs start at $50 for a simple, straightforward conversion of a clean manuscript. I can provide you with a Word format checklist to follow before submitting your manuscript, saving us both time and money. Contact me for a quote for your particular project.

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When you’re allergic to water,
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you’re not safe.

Everything you thought you knew
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