What resources do you use when editing?
My go-to resources include the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition and the Chicago-recommended Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. (When a second opinion is wanted, I consult the American Heritage Dictionary, 5th edition.) For usage matters, I turn first to Garner’s Modern American Usage.
For UK authors, I use the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the New Oxford Style Manual, and Burchfield’s New Fowler. I can also work in the subject-specific style of your choice, including APA, MLA, etc.
What kinds of writing will you edit? Are there any genres you won’t edit or types of editing you don’t do?
I am open to most genres of fiction, including YA genres, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, LGBT+, romance, erotic romance and erotica. I particularly like editing mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi/fantasy and romance manuscripts. Profanity is not an issue. Strong sexual content and substantial amounts of violence are acceptable. I may decline to work on manuscripts that contain extreme amounts of gore, torture or sexualized violence. It would really have to be pretty extreme, though.
I do not edit plays, screenplays, or poetry. While I edit YA and middle grade books, I don’t work with books for young children (beyond proofreading/light copyediting).
I do not offer e-book formatting at this time (though as part of my copyediting services I do include what I call “preformatting,” in which I ensure quotation marks are curly and facing the right way, ellipses are consistently formatted, extra spaces and tabs are removed, and so on). I don’t obtain permissions to reprint copyrighted material, nor do I advise authors on business matters related to self-publishing.
How long will it take you?
Typically, I can complete the editing of a standard-length novel of typical quality within one to two weeks from when I begin working on it. Smaller works, logically enough, are quicker, and longer works take longer. If you need something edited faster, I may be able to accommodate you if I have available slots in my schedule—a rush fee may apply in such cases.
I’m in a hurry—can you send me your work as you go?
Typically, I cannot send your edits incrementally—like writing, editing is (for me, at least) a non-linear process. Each editing package I offer (other than proofreading) involves multiple passes, so the fact that I’ve started working on page 50 doesn’t mean I won’t be returning to pages 1 through 49. Similarly, inconsistencies often appear only later in a work. Attempting to ensure that I am completely finished with one page before moving on to the next would take significantly longer than my usual approach, too, so any apparent time savings associated with this method would be illusory. In addition, I need access to the complete manuscript at one time in order to do things like perform global find-and-replace operations.
Do you work with British English (or other non-U.S. variants)?
Yes! I work with many Australian, British and Canadian clients and keep a complete set of UK English reference materials handy, including the New Oxford Style Manual and Oxford Dictionaries (including an Aussie-specific one). For authors using non-US variants of English, I can provide my standard editing services and preserve UK norms, or I can Americanize your writing, wholly or in part. For instance, I can Americanize your spelling (colour→color, centre→center, etc.), your vocabulary choices (lorry→truck, fringe→bangs), your usage (sorted→straightened out), and your punctuation. I can also flag words, idioms, expressions and constructions that are likely to be confusing or incomprehensible to American readers while preserving the British (Australian, etc.) character of the writing, and I can help you write realistic dialogue for your American characters.
What service(s) should I choose for my manuscript?
You can check out detailed explanations of all my services here. In addition, I always base my recommendations for each client on the author’s stated needs as well as an assessment of an excerpt of the project.
However, generally speaking, every manuscript needs copyediting and proofreading to ensure that the final product is clear, logical, elegant and error-free. Many if not most manuscripts will also benefit from content/developmental editing, which involves a higher-level critique of elements such as pacing, plotting, theme and characterization.
Content editing is particularly valuable for plot-intensive genres like mystery, whose readers are unforgiving of plot holes and lapses in story logic, and speculative fiction genres, whose readers are similarly intolerant of inconsistent world-building, creature attributes, magic systems, and so on.
Inexperienced authors, and any authors who suspect they may need to rewrite substantial portions of their manuscript, may wish to break content and copyediting into separate rounds to avoid paying (and waiting) to have copyediting performed on large amounts of text that will end up being cut before publication. Authors who expect to make less substantial modifications to the overall manuscript may opt to save money and time by choosing my popular “comprehensive editing” service, which combines copy/line editing and content/developmental editing into one affordable and time-saving package.
How do I get started with requesting your editing services?
Please begin by sending me an email or contacting me through my contact form and telling me about your project, schedule and editing needs. If you like, you can send an excerpt from your manuscript; a chapter or so is appropriate. If you’re looking for a future editing slot for a book you haven’t written yet, an excerpt of something similar you’ve written in the past is usually sufficient. Please also send me a blurb, plot synopsis, or something similar to let me know what the book is about, and any other relevant information, including your work’s genre and word count, your goals in seeking editing, the current state of the manuscript, and your preferred dates and turnaround time.
After I look at your manuscript or sample, I’ll have a good idea of the type and level of editing your manuscript requires. I’ll then perform a free sample edit of 5-10 pages and return it to you along with my assessment of what your manuscript needs and rate quotes for the services I recommend.
What do I get for my money?
Each editing service is explained in detail here. However, each service or package (other than proofreading) involves at least two complete passes, plus a reasonable amount of follow-up support in the form of e-mail consultations and/or the editing or re-editing of small amounts of added or substantially changed material.
I’m on a budget—can you help me?
I’ll try! I’m well aware that indie authors often don’t have the resources they’d like to invest in improving their books, especially when they’re first starting out. Too often, indie authors on a limited budget obtain the services they think they can afford rather than the ones their manuscripts really need. For example, an author whose manuscript is plagued by usage and style problems as well as gaping plot holes may seek “proofreading” rather than the substantive and line editing she really needs, simply because proofreading is the cheapest service.
I will not proofread a manuscript that needs higher levels of editing first, and I won’t recommend a service or package that isn’t right for your manuscript. Please contact me and tell me about your manuscript and your budget, and I’ll try to find the most effective solution for you! For instance, if you need line editing, I might line edit only a chapter or two and provide a detailed report on your strengths and weaknesses which you can then use to improve the rest of your draft. If you’re having plot or other “big picture” issues, I might read your manuscript and prepare a developmental report detailing problems with pacing, flow, continuity, and so on, while keeping your price lower by not including line-by-line corrections.