What sorts of things do you work on?
I can copyedit or proofread nearly anything that’s written in English: book manuscripts, short stories, essays, website content, blogs, theses, menus, marketing materials, résumés, scripts, plays, or even financial statements (I am also a CPA)!
If you have a project that you aren’t sure I would work on, please contact me so that we can discuss it. If it’s something edgy or risqué, no problem. If it’s something religious or political, no problem. If it’s something that’s just a few sentences, no problem. I’m here to help you make your writing perfect. If I’m not the right fit, I’ll let you know, and I can try to help you find someone who is the right fit if you’d like.
Also, if you need a developmental editor or a line editor, feel free to contact me; I can definitely refer you to someone.
You have a range of rates for your copyediting and proofreading services. How do you determine what rate you’ll charge for my writing?
I’ll ask you to send me your project or, at least, a sample of it. I’ll skim through it to get an idea of the amount of work it will require; the cleaner it is, the lower the rate.
My fee is also determined by the fees I’ll encounter with your preferred payment method; ACH transfers have no fees while PayPal charges a fee for each transaction plus a percentage fee, which varies based on country.
Finally, the rate may be higher if you have a short deadline. Once I know this information and the exact word count, I’ll provide you a total amount that the project will cost.
What are your terms?
Once we have agreed on the level of service and the price, I will send you an agreement specifying the terms. The agreement is in place to ensure that we are both on the same page about the services to be performed, the deadline, and the payment terms. For website review, an estimate of the total number of hours will be included. The agreement must be signed and returned to me. If you have any concerns about the terms of the agreement, please discuss them with me.
My payment terms are a deposit of 50% of the agreed-upon (or estimated) project cost due upon receipt of the signed agreement and before I start any work. The remaining 50% is due upon delivery of the final project.
I greatly prefer to have the entire project available at one time rather than being given chunks of it. I feel that I can do a much better job if I can go back and forth in the text as needed and take advantage of economies of scale. However, if you have a compelling reason to send it to me in pieces, we can definitely discuss it.
How long will it take for you to get it back to me?
As you probably expected, the answer is that it depends. Short texts (about five pages or fewer) will generally be returned within forty-eight hours. Longer projects will depend on word count, whether you have a deadline, and other projects already in the queue.
When you send me your project, or a sample of it, I’ll send you back the date that I expect to get it back to you. If you have a deadline, please communicate that up front. Also, keep in mind that the timeframe doesn’t start until I receive your signed agreement and deposit.
What reference materials do you use?
I am most familiar with Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), which is the style guide used for book publishing. If you prefer for me to use a different style guide, I am happy to do so.
I also ask first-time clients to fill out a preferences sheet specifying how they prefer certain things to be presented, and I stick to client preferences when providing my services. I also encourage ongoing communication with my clients so that I’m not marking things they don’t want marked, which saves both of us time.
I generally use Merriam-Webster as my dictionary, but I am open to your preference.
What tools do you use to proofread my documents?
I prefer to use Track Changes in Microsoft Word. It enables me to mark my suggested changes and all you have to do is either accept or reject them. If you accept them, then your writing is automatically updated with no further work required. I also use Comments sometimes to ask questions or to explain why I changed something if I think there may be some confusion.
Google Docs has a Suggestions feature that is similar to Track Changes that I can use if Microsoft Word doesn’t work for you.
If your document is a PDF, I use a tool called PDF Annotator that enables me to mark suggested changes. Unfortunately, you would still need to do the work of incorporating the changes into the final document yourself since I would be unable to edit a PDF directly.
Websites are a little trickier since they’re not in document form. I will usually copy and paste content and make suggestions in Microsoft Word using Track Changes as described above. For other things like spelling errors in menus or broken links, I will either describe the problem (if it’s easy to follow) or capture an image and mark it up either in Word or in a PDF.
If I use a copyeditor, do I also need a proofreader?
It’s not a bad idea. Copyeditors will catch most errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. However, their focus is more on accuracy, clarity, consistency, word choice, and sentence structure.
Mistakes could be overlooked by copyeditors simply because that’s not their sole focus. Proofreaders will be laser-focused on grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting without having their attention divided with other concerns. Proofreaders won’t be able to tell you if the flow of your writing is good, if you overused a word, or if your plot and timeline make sense; their attention is too narrowly focused.
It’s always a good idea to have a proofreader look over your writing as the final step before finalizing it. However, your writing should be pretty clean after using a copyeditor, so you should expect a proofreading rate near the bottom of the proofreader’s rate range.