Copyediting corrects errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and usage. Achieves consistency in numbers, capitalization, hyphenation, lists, footnotes, bibliography, and other style matters, using the required style manual or house style. Ensures that headings are parallel and that formatting, such as tabs and spaces, is consistent. May include clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, and changing passive voice to active. May include correcting overuse and repetition of words, inconsistencies in tone and style, confusing passages, factual errors, and wordiness.

Substantive editing focuses on the “big picture” — the overall organization, clarity, consistency, and coherence of the manuscript. Considers audience, reading level, depth of treatment, genre conventions, point of view, pacing, and story structure. May include smoothing transitions, rearranging elements, reorganizing chapters or sections, and recommending deletion of redundant or unnecessary text or addition of new material.

Manuscript critiques are evaluations of unpublished manuscripts. A critique includes a detailed report with recommendations about structure, voice, writing style, approach to subject matter, audience, and other overarching components, paying particular attention to your specific concerns. Helpful in determining what type of editing would be best for your manuscript.

Read more about levels of editing.

Reference books I use include Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.), The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.); APA, AMA, and AP style guides; and your house style guide, if required.


The first step is to contact me to talk about your manuscript. We’ll discuss subject matter or genre, length, audience, publishing goals, and the level of editing you are looking for.

Before beginning work, I will review and edit a representative sample of your manuscript. Then I’ll prepare a quote with my recommendations and a proposed time frame. Once we agree on the level of edit, the time frame, and the fee, I’ll send you a contract outlining the specific work and terms we have agreed on.


Because every manuscript is different, I don’t have a single rate for editing, but my rates are in line with the Editorial Freelancers Association’s list of common rates for editorial services.

Depending on the project, the fee may be a page rate, word rate, hourly rate, flat project fee, or some combination of the above. If your budget is limited, don’t worry. We can work together to prioritize tasks so that you stay within your budget.

Note that the industry standard is one manuscript page = 250 words. Rush jobs and work outside the scope of our original agreement will incur additional fees.

A deposit (usually 50 percent) will be due before work begins. For shorter projects, the balance is due upon completion. For lengthier projects, payment may be in installments. I accept payment in US dollars by personal check or PayPal.


Manuscripts are acceptable in either Word .doc or .docx format. Delivery and return are by email or through a Cloud service such as Dropbox. All editing is done on the computer in Word with tracking on. Final delivery will include your edited manuscript and a style sheet listing any style decisions I made. All work in progress is completely confidential and will be securely backed up to the Cloud at no extra cost.

For more information

The Editorial Freelancers Association’s Code of Fair Practice contains helpful information regarding ethical standards and fair practice between freelancers and clients.