Services

I have experience working on a wide variety of projects, some intended for general readership (adults and children) and some designed for more specialized purposes (attracting clients or promoting sales, etc.). Whether you are writing a book, article, short story, or screenplay, I can provide proofreading and editing services to help you improve the quality of your work. I can also review the content of your website, query letters, or other important documents for accuracy, clarity, and effectiveness of purpose. (I’m not qualified to critique poetry, and I may not be the best person to review highly technical material intended for members of specific professions.)

In addition to reviewing written content, I offer coaching calls if you need advice about your project or the publication process (including self-publishing options).

Why do you need an editor?

If you are reading this, then you probably know how to speak and write, so you may not think you need expert advice. After all, you use words every day, and you get by just fine. You get your point across. Why not just write something and put it out there on one of the many platforms available at little or no cost?

The answer depends upon your objectives. If you want to be taken seriously and considered a professional, you must be mindful of how your message will be received by others. If you don’t know the rules, you won’t know when you are breaking them—but others will, and your credibility will suffer. If you are new to a field—any field—you may not even know what questions to ask. You don’t know what you don’t know!

Some people tell stories and jokes or deliver lectures (or write novels) better than others. Talent is innate, but craft is learned.

We all develop habitual ways of expressing ourselves—favorite phrases, distinctive ways of thinking, speaking, and writing. Some of these are desirable, but others may have unintended consequences. Just as a speaker must change distracting patterns (frequent uhs and you knows) if he wants to maintain audience interest, a writer must eliminate repetitions and grammatical errors for her work to hold a reader’s interest.

A professional editor can show you how to correct problems with grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, word usage, organization, and content so that you have an opportunity to make changes before publishing or submitting your work. You can share your writing with greater confidence when you know that it is free of errors.

An editor will be more objective than your friends and associates—though getting feedback from acquaintances or a writing group (or teacher) is a good place to start.

Learn to improve your craft.

You can learn a lot from reading a book or attending a class or seminar, but the lessons become more meaningful when they apply to your work.

My job is not to substitute my words for yours, but to help you express yourself clearly and effectively, in your own unique way. (I do, however, often give suggestions for different ways you might rewrite a sentence or passage. These suggestions are meant to spark your imagination about how to make changes and to show you why those changes are needed.) The choice is yours. It’s your work, and you maintain control.

Editing is more than proofreading. 

In addition to errors in grammar or punctuation, I look for unintended repetitions/redundancy, confusing or vague (or awkward) phrasing, and problems with organization and flow. Sometimes material is irrelevant and should be cut, but sometimes there are gaps in a story or a discussion is incomplete. When I am familiar with the subject matter, I can sometimes suggest ways to address deficiencies as well as excesses. In other words, I evaluate the content as well as the form.

Editing is a process.

If I have a lot of comments, I may only address the most important matters in my initial review your work. (In some instances, a sentence or paragraph is not so much “incorrect” as “ineffective.” You can decide which changes you wish to make after you have read my comments.) You may wish to have some materials reviewed again if they have changed significantly during your rewrite. Editing is a process, and with every change an author makes comes the risk of introducing new errors.

If we work together for a while, and I become very familiar with your work, I am better able to address deeper layers and point out inconsistencies and omissions in substantive content. (You may have promised in the introduction to include a topic, but then you dropped the matter without discussion. In a fictional story, you may have left a minor character hanging from a ledge and then forgotten him. Readers will expect some kind of resolution!)

How do I charge?

I work on an hourly basis (one hour minimum to start), so you can use my services* as much or as little as you need (depending on my availability, of course). Clients need not reside in the United States. Payment is through PayPal unless other arrangements are made.

Contact me for additional information and availability at: YourWritingAlly(at)zoho(dot)com.

Please do not send me any materials until you are requested to do so.

*Please note that I do not work on projects that promote violence, hatred, or abuse. I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason, at any time. If for whatever reason I do not feel that I can help you improve your writing (e.g., you are working in a specialized field and the topic is too far out of my area of expertise, or our styles, objectives, and priorities are too different), I will refund payment for work not completed. No refunds are given for work that has been completed. I make no guarantee that you will be satisfied with my services and suggest starting with a small investment so that you may evaluate the usefulness of my comments. Due to time constraints, very few book-length projects are accepted, but short consultations (whether communication is oral or written) are often possible.