You’ve worked hard. You've invested time and energy to create a story that you hope will entertain and delight readers. You owe it to yourself to ensure the prose is polished. A sloppy manuscript is more likely to be rejected if you send it to agents, and reader reviews will certainly be harsh if you self-publish writing that is full of errors, cliches, and stilted language.
Before you send a manuscript to an agent or publish a novel yourself, you’ll want to ensure that your prose is smooth and that readers won’t be yanked out of the story by bad grammar, poor word choices, or incorrect punctuation.
Because you’re so close to your story and invested in the world you’ve built, you might not be able to judge your writing objectively. An editor helps you by spotting the flaws you don’t see.
I’ve worked with authors at all stages, from the unpublished novice to the New York Times bestseller. My clients typically return to have me edit each new book they write. They give me high marks for explaining grammar in a way that’s easy to understand, my ability to spot inconsistencies from one part of the story to another, and the research I do to ensure their facts are correct. See the Testimonials section for some of their comments.
I’m passionate about words, about getting the words right. I’d like to help you avoid the kinds of reviews where stars are knocked off because the story needs editing. But getting the words right doesn’t mean I impose my style on your prose. I value the author’s unique voice. While I will make suggestions to improve readability, clarity, and impact, I recognize that your phrasing may be different than mine.
In addition to being an editor, I’m a writer. I’ve written dozens of short stories, won contests, and honed my skills. Having participated in numerous critique groups, I know how it feels to have my work judged by others. I’m familiar with that sense of anticipation when you’re waiting to hear what people think of your story. Rest assured my comments are always about the writing, not the writer, and I strive to be objective and gentle.
You send me your manuscript via e-mail as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format. I will save the original then make a copy for the markups and use the Microsoft® Word® “Track Changes” feature.
In most cases, I correct the spelling, word choice, or punctuation directly, though the choice to accept my changes is yours to make. If I think some explanation is required, I’ll add a comment to let you know why the correction is necessary. If I see the same mistake being made again and again, I’ll explain the grammar or punctuation rule in clear, easy-to-understand language. Oftentimes, I’ll give you a link to other websites where the rule is explained in depth.
In other cases, I’ll highlight a word or phrase and insert a comment with a suggestion and explain why I would prefer to see a different phrase or word used, but I’ll leave it up to you.
Once I’ve completed the editing, I’ll let you know and request payment. The markups are returned to you when the project is paid in full. You then accept or reject my changes and incorporate my suggestions as you see fit.
The fee I charge depends on the amount of work it will take to complete the editing project. The amount of work depends in part on how skilled a writer you are and how carefully you’ve already revised and edited on your own. The price can range from $7 to $15 per 1000 words. I charge by the word rather than by the page to avoid variations in page length based on font size, margin width, etc.
For a personalized estimate, send me an e-mail with the full manuscript attached. Based on what I see, I’ll recommend one of two approaches.
I’ll mark up the first 5 pages (up to 1500 words) and return it at no charge along with my quote and an estimated date by which you can expect the edited manuscript to be returned. The marked-up sample should give you a good idea of the type of editing you can expect, and whether you think I’m a good fit for your style of writing.
This involves marking your document up using the Microsoft® Word® “Track Changes” feature. I’ll fix simple misspellings and grammar issues, but where there is an inconsistency or awkward phrasing, I’ll insert a comment to make a suggestion or ask a question. When I send the document back, I usually write a short summary (400-500 words) of my findings. You then accept or reject the changes I’ve made in the document and address the comments.
A developmental edit is a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the story by category, such as Beginning, Point of View, Characters, Plot, Ending, etc. I make suggestions for making the story stronger, whether that’s adding a chapter, deepening characterization, fixing POV issues, or whatever else the story needs. This kind of summary is usually six or seven pages in length (about 3500 words). I also insert comments in the document where I spot trouble, such as “I don’t understand her motivation here,” or “this was already explained in Chapter 5; no need to repeat it.” But there’s no point fixing spelling and grammar in a document that needs substantial re-writing, so mechanical issues are largely ignored (though I may point out an issue that occurs repeatedly).
I grew up in western Michigan, but ever since getting a degree in Metallurgical Engineering at Michigan Tech, I've lived in southern Ohio. To pay the bills through college, I worked in several restaurants, a turkey hatchery, and a steel mill. After graduating, I worked for an aircraft engine manufacturer for several years then changed jobs and became a software quality assurance engineer.
As for hobbies, I spent a few years practicing martial arts--first Tae Kwon Do and then Kyokushin karate. I got as far as brown belt, but a back injury put an end to any thoughts of moonlighting as a ninja. At one point or another, I've studied half a dozen foreign languages. I'm not fluent in any of them, unfortunately, but the French and German came in handy when traveling in Europe. I've also taken the occasional classes in arts and crafts (for several years I made all my own greeting cards). The majority of my free time is spent reading, writing, and doing math puzzles.
My reading tastes are fairly broad. Most of the books I own are in the fantasy and science fiction genres, but I love a good story regardless of genre. I also enjoy books categorized as thriller, mystery, romance, horror, YA, and others. I read non-fiction titles, too.