I'm Laura Ownbey, and I run Red Pen Reviews both to take a closer look at what's coming out these days and to provide you, the author, with a sampling of how I evaluate pieces of writing.

Purchasing my freelance editing services does not guarantee a publishing contract or any awards, but I can tell you that the first full novel I edited sold barely a month after I finished with it. Close editing can often make the difference between a good manuscript and a great one.

I graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double BA in English and Peace, War, and Defense. I'm currently a Senior Editor at Spencer Hill Press and their urban fantasy imprint, Spence City. I've worked on manuscripts, written all the reviews you see here plus many more in the buffer, and revised a roleplaying game manual while writing flavor text to flesh it out. My experience also includes polishing dissertations, research papers, debate speeches, fanfiction of all stripes, and poetry. 

Sample segment edits Base of $25/1500 words (adjustable for length)
Manuscript overview
$250 for a 70k-word manuscript; $15 for each additional 10k words
Line editing
$1.50 per 250 words

A manuscript overview is a 4-6 page analysis of plot points, characterization, pacing, overall flow, and similar broad issues, with occasional notes on the manuscript itself to help illustrate specific points.

Line editing covers grammar and punctuation issues, problems with flow, stiff dialogue, formatting problems, rough transitions, and anything else that sticks out. Each scene gets a thorough sweep at least twice to help catch everything from the layout of furniture in a room changing to a misplaced apostrophe. 

Sample segments are essentially critiques of a first chapter, a few consecutive scenes, or any other small excerpt that you would like to send. You are welcome to do this to check the key opening of your book or to try out my analysis before committing to it for a full manuscript. I treat these just like shorter manuscript overviews with a touch of line editing thrown in for anything that sticks out. 


I specialize in fantasy, science fiction, and YA fiction, but I'm willing to work on manuscripts in any genre. If you're trying to evoke the feel of a particular sub-genre or novel with which I am unfamiliar, feel free to ask and I may be willing to read it if you compensate me for the cost of the books and the additional time. I read an average of three or four books per week on top of my day job and editing work, and if you feel that my having a more detailed background would be helpful, we can work something out.  

Contact and Payments: 

I can most easily be reached for questions and editing requests via lcownbey@gmail.com. My PayPal account is at the same address, and I'm also open to mailed checks or other methods of payment if agreed upon in advance.

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