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about us

Blue spark editorial is owned and operated by Julie Cantrell, a new york times and USA TODAY bestselling author whose novels have won the Christy Award, the Carol Award, and the Mississippi library association's fiction award. 

JULIE CANTRELL is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling, award-winning novelist with decades of experience working as both an author and an editor.

After years of helping friends polish their manuscripts, Julie launched BLUE SPARK EDITORIAL, LLC to help bridge the creative vision of the author with the business goals of the publishing team. She aims to help scribes find the balance between the art and the craft of the writing process, while helping publishers polish a captivating story that will find shelf space in today's market.

In addition to publishing four novels and two children's books, Julie has contributed to more than 20 anthologies, devotionals, and non-fiction works.

Aside from the books, Julie has penned newspaper and magazine columns, written grants for both non-profit and corporate clients, and worked as a marketing writer for FNC, Inc. She has operated a freelance business for more than 20 years, providing content for PUBLIX Super Market, Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl., The Nautilus Publishing Company, Princeton HealthCare System, and more.  She also served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review.

Learn more about Julie's writing by visiting her author website: www.juliecantrell.com

What I most admire about Julie is that she listens to the author and to her own instincts as she explores the possibilities for deepening the story.

I like that she focuses on the takeaway for the reader, on making certain that every element of the novel contributes to the whole, and on crafting a story that is authentic.

I highly recommend her for working with other authors. And, if you have any doubts, read her novels. They’re perfect examples of her creativity and craft.
— Christa Allan, National Award-Winning Author and Amazon Bestselling Author of Since You've Been Gone
 
 
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Our Services

We offer two tiers of editorial services: 

1.      A broad-brushed Critique

2.      A fine-tuned Comprehensive Edit

 

WHat is a Critique?

A Critique is the initial stage of the editing process. At this stage, the editor provides general feedback to help improve the story structure for the next round of edits. Feedback focuses on:

  • Writing style
  • Plot Structure
  • Pacing
  • Tension
  • Stakes
  • Voice
  • Setting
  • Character development
  • Theme
  • Clarity
  • Consistency
  • Specific strengths and weaknesses of your story

 

The Critique includes:

1.      Editorial Letter as a general overview with specific strengths/weaknesses

2.      One phone call PRE-EDIT to discuss author goals and concerns (30 mins)

3.      One phone call POST-EDIT to discuss Editorial Letter (30 mins)


WHAT IS A COMPREHENSIVE EDIT?

When the manuscript is structurally sound, it is time for the Comprehensive Edit. This is a more in-depth edit that breaks the manuscript down line by line.

The Comprehensive Edit includes:

  1. An Editorial Letter

  2. Editorial Comments in the Margins

  3. A Line Edit with Tracked Changes throughout the manuscript

  4. One phone call with editor PRE-EDIT (30 mins)

  5. One phone call with editor POST-EDIT (30 mins)

 

1.      EDITORIAL LETTER

The Editorial Letter is similar to the one for a Critique. At this level, however, the feedback is more detailed because the manuscript is now structurally sound.

2.      EDITORIAL COMMENTS

Editorial Comments will be made in the margins of the manuscript to point out specific areas that can be strengthened. Comments are best viewed digitally using Microsoft Word and aim to:

  • Highlight sections that need greater development, more details, etc.
  • Point out spots that slow the pacing or pull a reader out of the story
  • Identify areas that interfere with the story’s progression
  • Address weaknesses in both the internal and external plot lines (tension/stakes, motivation/goals, unresolved issues, emotional development, character growth, etc.)
  • Suggest any needed adjustments with the setting
  • Point out flaws in the timeline
  • Identify illogical or confusing parts of the narrative

3.      LINE EDIT

The Developmental Edit also includes a Line Edit. Here, the editor will directly edit word/sentence structure to improve the manuscript.

The editor will TRACK CHANGES in Microsoft Word. You can easily click to Accept, Reject, or Modify them. No changes will be made without tracking.

Line Edits aim to:

  • Trim extraneous words, phrases, or sentences
  • Avoid "echo" words, phrases, or ideas 
  • Improve rhythm by rearranging/deleting passages or suggesting additions
  • Tighten dialogue to boost character development
  • Alter wording to clarify or enhance the message
  • Polish sentence structure while striving to maintain the author’s voice

4.      PRE-EDIT PHONE CALL

Before reading your manuscript, the editor will schedule a 30-minute Pre-Edit Phone Call to discuss the author's overall concerns and goals for the story.

5.      POST-EDIT PHONE CALL

When the editor has completed all edits, she will schedule a 30-minute Post-Edit Phone Call to discuss editorial feedback and answer any questions.

 

HOW DOES THIS PROCESS WORK?

If you're interested in our editorial services, CONTACT JULIE.

1. Once we have agreed on the terms of the contract, email your manuscript to julie@juliecantrell.com

Please be sure to format accordingly:

  • File: MS. Word Doc (or Docx)
  • Font: Times New Roman
  • Font Size: 12 
  • Line Spacing: Double Spaced
  • Margin Alignment: 1-inch Margins
  • Header: Author’s Name, Phone Number, and Email Address
  • Footer: Page Number (lower right corner)

2.      Watch for the BEGIN EDITS invoice to arrive via email.

3.      Pay BEGIN EDITS invoice (½ total package fee).

4.      Your BEGIN EDITS payment gives Julie the greenlight to proceed.

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

After the BEGIN EDITS invoice (½ total package fee) has been paid and the manuscript has been received, a Pre-Edit Phone Call will be scheduled and edits will begin.

When the edits are ready for delivery:

1.      Watch for a FINISH EDITS invoice, which will prompt you to pay the remaining balance (½ total fee).

2.      You will receive written editorial feedback via email.

3.      The project concludes with the Post-Edit Phone Call to discuss the editorial feedback and answer author questions.

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RECEIVE EDITORIAL FEEDBACK?
 

Based on the editor’s schedule, it can take as little as one week and up to two months to receive full editorial feedback. A deadline will be established by both parties at the time of the contract.

Julie Cantrell and I wrote a magazine column together for years and critiqued back-and-forth with one another on novels. She’s not only a talented writer, she’s a crackerjack editor... and fast!
— Lisa Wingate, New York Times Bestselling Author of Before We Were Yours
 
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rates

 

WHAT IS THE PRICE FOR A CRITIQUE?

CRITIQUE BASE PRICE: $2,500.00 per novel up to 320 pages (apx. 80,000 words)

CRITIQUE OPTIONAL ADD-INS:

  • Additional phone call with editor pre-, mid- or post-edit: $30 per 30 minutes.
  • Additional Pages: $125/20 pages or $7/page (after the first 320 pages)
 

 

WHAT IS THE PRICE FOR A COMPREHENSIVE EDIT?

COMPREHENSIVE EDIT BASE PRICE: $3,000.00 per novel up to 320 pages (apx. 80,000 words)

COMPREHENSIVE EDIT OPTIONAL ADD-INS:

  • Additional phone call with editor pre-, mid- or post-edit: $30 per 30 minutes.
  • Additional Pages = $150/20 pages or $8/page (after the first 320 pages)
Julie edited my first novel, Mississippi Cotton, and I couldn’t have been better served.

She thoroughly understood the story and was immeasurably helpful in editing and offering advice on restructuring a number of aspects of it. It became a Kindle bestseller.

I know that she was honest in her assessment because having asked her to review and comment on the manuscript of another novel she did not hesitate to tell me that it was just not ready. And having gone back through it I realized how right she was.

If you are interested in honest and thorough editing I would highly recommend Julie.
— Paul Yarbrough, Author of Mississippi Cotton, A Mississippi Whisper, Thy Brother’s Blood
 
 
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CONTACT US

Let's discuss your editorial needs. Contact Julie today.

 
Julie Cantrell has proofed and edited three novels for me. I strongly recommend her skills as book doctor, editor, and copy editor.

She not only ferrets out grammatical errors, misspellings, and awkward diction but keeps track of characters’ names, unintended repetitions, and awkward redundancies.

Regarding her editorial judgment, she makes wise suggestions as to restructuring chapters, character motivation, themes, settings, and when to expand or tighten. But above all she is candid and honest, covers the author’s back, and saves him from errors he might later regret.

She is diplomatic in editorial discussions but does not stroke the author’s ego. There is no substitute for honesty and clarity in a copy editor, and Cantrell absolutely delivers.
— Larry Wells, Publisher, Yoknapatawpha Press
 
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