Around eighteen years studying and practising law where accuracy in word choice, grammar and punctuation is vital.
I have published in excess of half a million words of fiction, doing all my own editing and proofreading. To judge the quality of presentation of my books, click the Amazon links to one of them (from the dropdown ‘Books’ menu) and download a free sample, or utilise the ‘Look Inside’ feature.
Who is this for?
It’s not for writers looking to improve structural aspects like pacing, plot, characterisation and setting—for that, you need a developmental editor. It’s also not for writers looking to make their writing more appealing by improving stylistic matters like fluidity, clarity and tone—for that, you need a line editor.
It is for writers almost ready to publish who need mistakes eradicated at the technical level: spelling, grammar, punctuation, consistency. These are the sort of mistakes that can make readers put a book down, never to pick it up again—there are so many well-written books out there, many readers won’t stick with books strewn with errors, no matter how good the story is.
I read a lot of works by independent authors. Many are well-written and thoroughly edited, indistinguishable from their traditionally published counterparts. Sadly, in my experience, there are as many, perhaps more, for which the same cannot be said. They are littered with errors, from incorrectly punctuated dialogue to run-on sentences, that distract the reader from the story.
In an ideal world, a manuscript should go through, in this order, developmental editing, line editing, copyediting and proofreading before it is let loose on the reading public. In the real world, most independent authors won’t have the budget to fund four rounds of editing.
This service is therefore aimed primarily at independent authors on a limited budget who are looking for a cost-effective way to improve their manuscripts at the copyediting and proofreading levels before they are published.
Fiction: any, though nothing that promotes things like child pornography, homophobia, race hatred or religious intolerance.
Non-fiction: as above, and also provided it’s not crammed with complex mathematical formulae or technical jargon. Writers of such technical books need to have them checked by a proofreader with specialist knowledge. The exception is legal textbooks, since I am familiar with legal jargon.
What type of English?
I’m British, but from a lifetime of avid reading am familiar with English as written in the United States and most other English-speaking nations. I can only accept manuscripts written in English.
What I will be looking for in your work
• Typing errors
• Spelling mistakes
• Missing or misused words
• Misplaced or inconsistent punctuation
• Inconsistent or incorrect grammar
• Inconsistent style
• Mistakes in sentence structure, such as run-on sentences and dangling modifiers.
Some of these corrections are more traditionally dealt with by a copy editor, but I will be trying to help you make your manuscript as polished as possible and can’t simply ignore such errors I come across. This is, therefore, a proofreading service combined with most aspects of copyediting (and, if I happen to notice a technically correct sentence that can nevertheless be improved, an occasional dash of line editing).
What I won’t be looking for
• Plot holes or inconsistencies
• Whether any facts (or footnotes, references, etc) are correct
• Whether any foreign words or phrases are spelt or used correctly
• Any other inconsistencies, such as starting to refer to your character ‘Peter’ as ‘Paul’
• Clumsy sentences that are otherwise grammatically correct
• Formatting issues
• I won’t interfere with style choices—for example, I don’t care if you use the Oxford comma or not, so long as you’re consistent.
However, should I notice any of these issues (and I tend to notice awkwardly worded sentences because they make me stumble), I will mention them and offer suggestions how to correct them – I’m built that way.
A rate of $5 / £4 per 1,000 words, rounded up or down to the nearest thousand, subject to a minimum fee of $50 / £40.
Unless I’m already familiar with your work, I’ll need a sample of between 500 and 1,000 words, preferably from somewhere other than the beginning of the manuscript.
If it appears to me that the manuscript needs a major edit, I’ll tell you and recommend you have that done first. If there do not appear to be any major issues (though it’s not always possible to tell from a short sample), I’ll proofread the sample and return it to you free of charge. You can then decide if you want to engage me.
Midpoint cancellation option
When I’ve reached the halfway point, I’ll send you the half-proofed manuscript. You have the option to end the agreement without reason—it’s entirely your call.
One half of the total fee is payable (through PayPal) on engagement and delivery of the manuscript. The remaining half is payable on completion before I return the fully-proofed manuscript. I realise some people might balk at this, but I don’t have time to chase late payers and, sorry, cannot accept work on any other basis.
Samples: I aim to turn samples around within three working days (meaning normal office hours, Mon-Fri, excluding Bank Holidays).
Full manuscripts: we’ll agree this before I start work.
To contact me for a sample edit, please complete and submit the following: