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.2|
Place your order
Our online order form is simple and secure.3|
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.5|
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.
After being associated with editorial excellence for 80 years, Kirkus developed a book editing division to offer unpublished and self-published authors access to the publishing industry’s top editors.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 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.
Click here and enter the email address you used when purchasing your editing service as well as the order number.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Kirkus Editorial Customer Agreement
This Agreement ("Agreement") is made on the date accepted and agreed to by the person or entity whose name and address are set forth on the related order form ("Customer" or "you"), in favor of Kirkus Media, LLC and its affiliates, including but not limited to the Kirkus Editorial division (collectively, "Kirkus Editorial"). By agreeing to this agreement and submitting a manuscript (the "Manuscript") for editorial services ("Services") by Kirkus Editorial, Customer hereby irrevocably and unconditionally agrees to the following terms and conditions:
- Submission. If Kirkus Editorial elects to provide the Services, the editorial process will begin after Kirkus Editorial receives full payment, confirmation of the acceptance of this Agreement and one digital version of the Manuscript. Kirkus Editorial makes no guarantee regarding the timing of the completed Services. Kirkus Editorial shall endeavor to complete the Services by the estimated delivery date stated to Customer upon its acceptance thereof; provided however, Customer hereby acknowledges and agrees that Kirkus Editorial may modify the estimated delivery date by notice to Customer delivered within twenty-four (24) hours prior to the estimated delivery date. Submissions are not processed on weekends or U.S. national holidays. The submitted Manuscript shall become the property of Kirkus Editorial and will not be returned to Customer.
- Cancellation and Refusal. You may not cancel this Agreement. Kirkus Editorial may refuse your submitted request for the Services for any or no reason at any time in the process, regardless of receipt of payment. If Kirkus Editorial elects not to provide the Services, Customer will be notified of such decision, the digital copy of the Manuscript will be deleted, and Kirkus Editorial shall be fully released from all obligations to Customer to provide the Services or otherwise. Kirkus Editorial reserves the right to refuse to provide any refunds due to Customer's failure to use any or all of the Services provided in Customer's purchased editorial package.
- Price and Payment. The prices charged for the Services purchased under this Agreement shall be Kirkus Editorial's then-current charges and rates for the type Services and word count of the Manuscript as set forth on the related order form. If the actual word count of the Manuscript submitted does not equal the count used to calculate the amount due at the time of purchase, Customer hereby authorizes Kirkus Editorial or its agent to charge Customer's credit card for the outstanding balance prior to the provision of the Services by Kirkus Editorial. If Customer fails to pay the outstanding balance to Kirkus Editorial, the submitted Manuscript will be deleted and Kirkus Editorial shall be fully released from all obligations to Customer to provide the Services or otherwise. Payment is due in full upon the submission of the related order form, or, in the case of or any additional outstanding balance required hereunder, on such date indicated by Kirkus Editorial.
- Customer Acknowledgements. Customer hereby acknowledges and accepts that:
- Subjectivity; Limits. The editorial feedback from the Kirkus Editorial editors and copywriters (collectively, the "Kirkus Editors") is subjective; the editorial feedback and content may be limited to maintain the integrity of the Manuscript; the Kirkus Editors shall not be required to "ghostwrite" or make significant changes to the dialogue, construct or plot of the Manuscript.
- No Guarantee. Customer hereby acknowledges and accepts that Kirkus Editorial will endeavor to provide a professional edit of the Manuscript, but Kirkus Editorial does not guarantee that the edited Manuscript will be error-free.
- Ownership; Disclosure of Services. Kirkus Editorial retains exclusive ownership of all editorial feedback and content provided by the Kirkus Editors and owns all intellectual property rights, title and interest in any ideas or concepts related to the thereto. Customer shall not attribute any editorial feedback or content created by Kirkus Editors to Kirkus Editorial or any of its affiliates. Customer hereby agrees that it will not directly or indirectly utilize any portion of the feedback or communication from the Kirkus Editors in any publication (online or in print) or for any promotional purposes whatsoever.
- Representations and Warranties; Indemnification. You represent and warrant that (i) you are authorized to submit the Manuscript for the Services, (ii) you have the full power, authority and capacity to enter into this Agreement and to perform your obligations under this Agreement, and (iii) no portion of the Manuscript infringes, violates or misappropriates any intellectual property rights of any other person. Customer irrevocably releases Kirkus Editorial, its affiliates, employees and independent contractors, and shall indemnify, defend and hold them harmless from and against any and all liabilities, damages, losses, claims, costs and fees (including attorneys' fees) related to or arising in connection with the Services and the Manuscript and any breach, alleged breach or non-performance of any covenant set forth in this Agreement.
- DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES; LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. Kirkus Editorial specifically disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, warranties against non-infringement, RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED FROM THE SERVICES and implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED HEREUNDER. Customer has no legal recourse, and may not threaten or commence litigation, if it does not agree with the Services, EDITORIAL FEEDBACK OR CONTENT. NEITHER KIRKUS EDITORIAL NOR ITS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS WILL BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SERVICES PROVIDED HEREUNDER EVEN IF SUCH PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. KIRKUS EDITORIAL'S TOTAL LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF, OR IN CONNECTION WITH, THE SERVICES PROVIDED HEREUNDER SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNTS PAID BY CUSTOMER FOR THE SERVICES.
- Disputes. Customer acknowledges and agrees that the Services shall not be re-performed nor shall refunds be granted, regardless of the content or nature of the editorial feedback of the Manuscript. All legal fees incurred by Kirkus Editorial in response to Customer claims or in obtaining injunctive relief hereunder shall be the responsibility of Customer. Re-performance of the Services shall only be considered if Kirkus Editorial, in its sole and absolute discretion, determines the quality of the work editorial feedback and content of the Kirkus Editor does not meet Kirkus Editorial's standard of editing guidelines and policies. Kirkus Editorial reserves the right to sever communications with Customer after a final determination is made by the Director of Kirkus Editorial with respect to any dispute related to the Services. If Customer continues to make or attempts to make contact with Kirkus Editorial employees, agents, or independent contractors after such final determination, Kirkus Editorial may pursue all available remedies including, but not limited to, injunctive relief or other legal action.
- Interpretation of Policy. All matters and questions not specifically covered in this Agreement are subject to the final decision of Kirkus Editorial.
- Assignment; Independent Contractors. Customer may not assign this Agreement. Kirkus Editorial may assign this Agreement and specifically has the right to engage independent contractors to provide the Services.
- Entire Agreement; Severability. This Agreement is the entire agreement between Kirkus Editorial and Customer regarding the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior oral or written communications, agreements and understandings between Customer and Kirkus Editorial. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions of this Agreement will remain in full force and effect.
- Force Majeure. Kirkus Editorial shall not be responsible to Customer for any failure to perform any of its obligations under this Agreement during any period in which such performance is delayed by circumstances beyond its reasonable control (a "Force Majeure"). In such event, however, Kirkus Editorial will promptly notify Customer with written notice of the Force Majeure and the time for performance will be excused for the duration of the Force Majeure.
- No Third Party Beneficiaries. Except as set forth in Sections 6, 7 and 8, no provision of this Agreement is intended to create in any person other than the parties hereto any rights or remedies hereunder.
- No Waiver. Waiver by either party of any provision, default or breach of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver of any other or subsequent default or breach. The failure of a party to require performance by the other party of this Agreement will not diminish the right of that party later to require performance of that provision.
- Governing Law; Venue. This Agreement shall be construed and interpreted according to the laws of the State of Texas without regard to its conflicts of law provisions and shall be binding upon the parties hereto, their heirs, successors, permitted assigns and representatives. Customer hereby submits to the exclusive personal jurisdiction of the federal and state courts located in Austin, Texas, which shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and settle any and all matters involving the parties.
- Injunctive Relief. Customer understands that in the event of a breach or threatened breach of Sections 5 and 8 of this Agreement by Customer, Kirkus Editorial will suffer immediate and irreparable harm for which money alone cannot fully compensate Kirkus Editorial; therefore, in such event, Kirkus Editorial will be entitled to obtain injunctive relief from a court of competent jurisdiction (regardless of Section 10.F) to enforce this Agreement without the necessity of proof of actual damage. This Section shall not be construed as an election of any remedy, or as a waiver of any right available to Kirkus Editorial under this Agreement or the law, including the right to seek damages from Customer for a breach of any provision of this Agreement, nor shall this paragraph be construed to limit the rights or remedies available under applicable law for any violation of any provision of this Agreement.