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 We're Jeni Chappelle and Melissa Koberlein. We're on a mission to explore the world of publishing with some amazing women.

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Indie Chicks Season 3 podcast for websit

EPISODE 7, Season 2 – Editing with Jeni Chapelle

In episode 7, Melissa welcomes Jeni Chapelle to the show to talk about the editing process. Listen in...EPISODE 7- Editing

Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! I’m your host, Melissa Koberlein. I’m an author and professor of publishing. If you’re just tuning in for the first time, let me tell you about the show. Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice. Each week, I invite a guest host to join me for a hot topic in publishing or a book review.

This week I was joined by Jeni Chapelle.

Jeni is a freelance editor with over nine years of editing experience and a lifetime of word nerdiness. She has edited a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction in all age groups and has had the pleasure of working with over one hundred authors from all over the world, including bestselling and award-winning authors. She’s a member of Editorial Freelancers Association and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a co-founder and editor for Twitter pitch event Revise & Resub and the inaugural Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival.

She considers herself a hobbit (minus the big, hairy feet) and lives in a tiny town near Charlotte, NC with her family and way too many pets: three dogs, eight cats, four fancy rats, a rabbit, and an aquatic turtle.

She edits all genres of fiction for middle grade and up but especially loves elements of fantasy, history, and mystery. I get really excited by underrepresented cultures; stories that work real-world concerns into fictional settings; characters with psychologically-sound motivations and reactions; realistic non-romantic relationships (although I love a good romance too!); and new twists on old favorites—whether that’s character, plot, concept, or tropes.

Welcome, Jeni...

First, Jeni and I chatted about how we met. We had some contact through Twitter but met in person at the Corvisiero Authorpreneur Workshop in Red Bank, NJ in October. We moved on to talk about our weeks.

We then moved on to the topic of the week. Here's the Q&A from the podcast:

What can you as the writer do to self-edit your manuscript? Best practices? Thoughts on Grammarly?

Get some distance from it first. Read it aloud. Go over it at least three times: once for story, once for flow, once for grammar. Tools like Grammarly can be amazing and can definitely help authors find errors, and that can save a lot of time and money on editing. I also recommend the Hemingway app and text-to-speech apps that will read your work aloud to you. For story/content, nothing beats beta readers and critique partners. While these aren’t exactly self-editing in that they involve other people, they can help you get the content to a good place so you’re ready to work with an editor. Ooh! That segues into the next question.

Working with beta readers and critique partners to improve your manuscript. Thoughts?

I’m a huge proponent. In fact, I’ve been known to put out calls for clients who are looking for new critique partners, and I have a young beta reader friend that I’ve introduced to many MG and YA authors looking for feedback from a member of their target audience. It can be a challenge to find the right team of beta readers and critique partners, but it’s a relationship, like most others--it’s worth taking the time to find the people you click with. There are so many benefits: 1. Getting feedback from readers helps you improve your manuscript. 2. Over time, you start seeing patterns in the kinds of issues you might be blind to in your own writing so you can improve those areas. 3. They can become your cheerleaders and support group. 4. With CPs, giving feedback to other writers helps you see your own writing more analytically, so you grow as a writer too.

We moved on to working with a professional editor. Here were my questions:

What are the types of editing?

Typically 3 main phases: developmental, line, and copy plus final proofreading Developmental = big-picture storytelling, line = flow, copy = mechanics (spelling, grammar, word choice, repetition, etc), proofreading is a final polish.

What’s your favorite?

Is it bad that I can’t decide? Developmental is awesome because I can see big changes in the overarching story and characters. Line editing is probably my least favorite to do, but it’s so satisfying to see the difference it can make. And copy editing comes very naturally to me, so it’s actually kind of a palate cleanser, after a lot of developmental edits.   

How do you charge? Per word? Do you assess needs first?

Yes, I charge per word, and I assess needs first. That usually looks like a pass over a sample of your writing and possibly a sample edit, as well as several questions regarding your revision process so far, your intentions for the manuscript, etc. Clients actually get a flat rate quote from me based on needs and word count, so they know up front what to expect.

Favorite types of manuscripts? Do you have a preference for first person or third person?

I love stories across genre, so my favorites are the ones with strong voice and complex characters.  As you might imagine, I read a lot--plus watching movies and television shows--so I know a lot of tropes. I get all excited when a story manages to surprise me with fresh takes on old plots or twists I didn’t see coming. I’m really excited to see diversity becoming more important in publishing, and I love seeing that in stories as well. Third person usually feels most natural to me, but first person is definitely better for some stories. My guideline for most things in a story is to do what works, so nothing is ever a never for me.

I finished up the episode with a Tip of the Week: Hire Jeni Chappelle. LOL. But seriously, if you want to self-publish, you need an editor. Even the most gifted writer needs an editor. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample edit to see how the editor works.

I thanked Jeni for coming on the show. This is where you can find her:


Twitter/Instagram: @jenichappelle


On my next podcast, writer, Lauren Metelski will be joining me to talk about the 5am Writers Club and keeping a writing schedule. I will also have another Tip of the Week.

Don’t forget where to find me! Find my podcast at or follow me on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on iTunes. Please rate me! You can follow me on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or or @TheIndieChicks.

So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for listening!


Indie Chicks out.

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