How should I format my manuscript before uploading it?

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

Is there any genre or subject matter you won’t work on?

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).”

How can I be sure no one will steal my content once I upload my manuscript for editing?

Your privacy and security are top priorities at Kirkus Editorial. When you upload your manuscript, it will be delivered over a secure server to our staff and accessible only to the editor assigned to your project and a select group of Kirkus employees. All of our editors and staff have signed nondisclosure agreements that protect your intellectual property from being shared or used for any purpose other than what is expressly outlined in the Kirkus Editorial Customer Agreement.

Will you accept payment by check or money order?

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.

Will using Kirkus Editorial improve my chances of getting positively reviewed by Kirkus?

To preserve the objectivity and editorial integrity of Kirkus Reviews and Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Editorial operates as a wholly independent department of Kirkus Media. On a practical level, this means we prevent any conflicts of interest by ensuring that reviewers do not have access to information about whether or not a manuscript or book has been edited by Kirkus Editorial. It is worth noting that working with a professional editor will improve the overall quality of your book and, therefore, should indirectly improve your chances of getting positively reviewed by any media outlet. However, our editors aim to preserve the essence of the work the author created; as a result, it is the author who is ultimately responsible for the final product.

Will using Kirkus Editorial improve my chances of acquiring agent representation or getting published by a major house?

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.

Will you format my manuscript for e-book or print publication?

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.

Will I be able to talk to someone over the phone about my project?

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.

If I order Collaborative Editing or the Professional Editing Package, will I have continued contact with the editor who worked on my book after the one-hour consulting session?

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.

Will my manuscript be flawless when it is returned to me?

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.

Why would I want to order multiple rounds of editorial work if your editors are so good?

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 I choose multiple rounds of editing, how much will my project cost?

If you order multiple rounds of editing one round at a time, you will pay for Collaborative Editing ($100 + 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 ($100 + 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.