How it Works
I use Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” function to edit documents sent to me in digital format.
- You send me your text as a Microsoft Word document attached to an email.
- I edit the file using MS Word’s Track Changes function to produce a marked-up version showing additions, deletions, and any comments or queries that I have regarding what you intended to say.
- I send you the edited file as an email attachment.
- You look at each suggested change and either accept or reject it using the Track Changes functions in MS Word.
Consults: If you prefer, comments and queries from me can be dealt with by phone or email, rather than being placed in the document. If you have questions about anything I’ve done, you should always feel free to contact me. In principle, I don’t charge for such consults unless they begin to occupy too much time.
Clean copy: If you wish, I can also send you a “clean” version of your document in which I have accepted all of my suggested edits and made my best guesses in any cases of ambiguity. You should still examine the marked-up version and read my comments to be sure you know what I’ve done and why.
References: I will edit references for style (order, punctuation, and formatting of the parts of the reference) if you provide me with a model or source for the style desired—such as the name of the intended journal. I do not check the accuracy of the citation, nor can I edit references for spelling or grammar since these may reflect the original source.
Non-Word documents: If your file was not originally in Word and you aren’t able to convert it to Word, contact me and we’ll see if we can figure something out, such as editing a PDF.
Re-Edits: I’ll be happy to go over a document a second time after you have processed my edits or made other changes. I do charge for re-edits, but the amount of work needed should be very much less and the charge correspondingly lower.
How I Charge
I can charge either by time or by project. My rates are in keeping with guidelines published by the Editorial Freelancers Association. For new clients I offer a free edit of a representative sample of your document. This allows you to see what I do and allows me to provide a time and cost estimate based on what your document needs. These needs can vary widely. (See levels of editing, below). I will do my best to listen to and respect your opinions and requests, and I will not take on a project if for any reason I believe I cannot deliver good value.
Levels of editing:
It is important for authors and editors to agree on the level of editing being sought. There are various terms used for different levels of editing, but their usage varies, and they tend to grade into one another. The main thing I do is what is usually called line editing or copy editing, but I’m sometimes able to do things that fit at the lower end of substantive editing. Proofreading can be problematic because it is so easy to read through minor glitches: The brain fills in what ought to be there. Producing error free copy is largely a matter of running the text past enough pairs of eyes. I’m willing to be one of those pairs of eyes, but I would not guarantee that I can catch everything.
Here is what these terms mean to me:
Proofreading refers to the kind of corrections that would be made at the proofing stage in the publication of a work. This generally means fixing things like typos, missed punctuation marks, and wrong words not flagged by spellchecking software. This level would also include fixing inconsistencies in any style that has been applied to the document. (This includes hyphenation, capitalization, use of acronyms, heading styles, etc, as specified by a style sheet or style manual.) The assumption here is that work has already been through an editing process, that the individual sentences and overall content of the work have already been finalized and any desired style has broadly been applied.
Line editing or copy editing examines the writing sentence-by-sentence for both correctness and clarity. It can include the things listed under proofreading, but also involves correcting errors in grammar, word usage, and punctuation. Sentences may be broken, combined, or rearranged to make them more readable or to improve flow. A desired style may be applied, at this level, to a manuscript that was not composed with that style in mind. The assumption is that the writing can be improved but that the content is not to be meddled with any more than is needed to make it clear to the reader.
Substantive editing is editing that makes or suggests changes to the content, or substance, of the work. As such, it may require that the editor have some specialized knowledge, or content expertise, although an editor who does not have such knowledge may still be able to identify weaknesses in a manuscript and make suggestions for fixing them. The logic of an argument might be flawed, for example, or the supporting detail inadequate. Sentences, paragraphs, or sections might seem superfluous or might not be arranged in the most logical order. An editor might not have the expertise to actually make some of these changes but might still identify them and address them in comments to the author.