Why is professional editing so important?
When self-publishing, it’s impossible for authors to step back and objectively examine their work as a whole. With traditional book publishing, the author is assigned an editor. In self-publishing this step is often skipped and the result is mediocre work published before it is really ready for public consumption.
Lack of editing also means poor online reviews from readers who see mistakes and tell potential readers about it.
Working with an editor means an extra set of eyes and someone who will spot spelling, grammar and plot problems, inconsistent characters and other issues before you send your manuscript to a publishing company or an agent.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will you do, exactly, when you edit my work?
I will proofread it for egregious grammatical errors that a publisher would find unacceptable (which is important even for those who intend to self-publish). I will point out contradictions or grammar errors that make the story confusing to the reader. Depending on the level of service we agree upon, I may rewrite your sentences to be more clear and interesting and precise, which, in turn, is more likely to convey your message, and move your reader to action.
Do you charge for the initial manuscript review and consultation?
No. There is no charge for my review of a few pages of your manuscript, or for the 30-45 minute phone conversation in which we discuss the level of service that best suits your manuscript.
My wife/husband, mother and sister-in law (she’s a Language Arts teacher) have all read my book and given me feedback and corrections. Why do I need another editor?
Your relatives have probably given you good feedback and helped you with your grammar. But if none of these folks is a professional editor or proofreader, you still need a professional, one who is objective about your work and able to read it without the filter of affection they have for you.
If you don’t know the difference between an adjective and an adverb, that’s fine – as long as you know when to use which. But if you don’t know that “I feel well” has a different meaning from “I feel good,” or that that comma goes inside the close-quotation mark, you need to employ someone to polish your prose.
Book reviewers notice inconsistent punctuation and sloppy editing. Some readers will be very aware, while others may subconsciously be distracted by it. You want to put your very best foot forward to gain media attention and sales.
And if you still need another reason, consider this: EVERY published author you admire had a professional editor.
How long will it take to edit and proofread my book?
Your book is special, and you’ve spent months or years writing it. I want to give it the attention it deserves. I can answer more precisely after I review the first 10 pages of your manuscript, but it is likely to be in the 1-3 week range.
How will I pay for the editing services?
It’s simple. You will be invoiced by Elegant Book Design first for a 50% deposit when I get started on the project, and a second time for the balance of the project.
To pay the invoice, you will be sent a link to a secure payment page where you may pay the invoice using a credit card.
How much will it cost to edit my manuscript?
I will evaluate your manuscript and recommend the level of service required. (See How It Works, below).
The fee for the work will depend on the number of words in the manuscript, the level of service you need and the number of hours of optional marketing consultation.
One of my characters uses poor grammar because he is uneducated. I am afraid you’ll suck the life out of this fellow by correcting his English.
I have experience in making a character’s American English worse, and more regionally accurate. Grammar rules are made to be broken when the character or circumstances call for it.
Will you give me a grammar lesson?
No. My job as your editor is to help you improve your manuscript before you publish.
Elegant Book Design offers three levels of editing service.
||Example: To/too/two; nieghborhood|
||Example: Use and position of the comma|
||Example: Should you use which or that?|
||Example: On the previous page the character wore a different colored dress|
|Story flow analysis||
||Example: This paragraph would work better on the next page|
|Character detail assessment||
||Example: What motivates him to act this way?|
||Example: Chapter breaks|
(I will point this out.)
(I will rewrite it.)
|Example: They got married before they got engaged? He was an Eagle Scout before he was a Cub Scout?|
About Maryjane Stout
I have been a writer, editor and proofreader for 40 years! I have experience in writing or editing virtually every type of communication, from novels to scholarly documents to business newsletters, business and marketing plans, web pages, business proposals, resumes and more. I will not ghostwrite your book, but I will proof, edit and make recommendations for improvement.
I love the English language and have devoted my life to using it accurately. I also like to have fun with it and sometimes its rules are broken to improve impact. Because I love it so much, I enjoy sharing my knowledge. I want to help you improve your writing.
I earned a BA in English and an MA in Communication. I am also accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (APR). I have worked in book publishing and the marketing/communication/public relations/advertising fields.
Let’s Get Started
Send me 10-20 page pages of your manuscript for evaluation.
How the book editing process works
Step 1: Email me 10-20 pages of your manuscript in Microsoft Word or Scrivener.
I will evaluate your work and recommend the level of service required to ready your manuscript for the publishing process – even if you intend to self-publish.
Step 2: Consultation session and agreement.
We will have a 30-45 minute phone conversation, during which I will explain, with examples, which level of service best suits your manuscript. I may also ask you questions like:
- Who is your intended audience?
- How do you intend to publish?
- What motivated you to write this story?
At the end of our conversation, we will come to an agreement on the fee and the schedule.
Step 3: Deposit.
Elegant Book Design will send you an invoice for 50% of the project so you may make the first of two payments. You will also be sent a link so you may pay the invoice online using a credit card through a secure payment page.
Step 4: My work begins.
I will use the Track Changes feature in MS Word, for both corrections and comments or suggestions. If you’ve used Scrivener, I will use that.
Step 5: First half delivery.
When I have completed work on half the manuscript, I will send you my work. I know you want to see your beloved baby!
Step 6: Check-in.
A few days after you have reviewed my work, we’ll spend up to one hour on the phone. I want to answer any questions you may have, or clarify any comments you don’t understand.
If our discussion ranges beyond reviewing my edits and recommendations, into such topics as the promotion and marketing of your book, or lasts longer than about an hour, we will need to set up a separate time to meet or teleconference, and an hourly fee of $85 will be charged.
Step 7: Second payment.
Elegant Book Design will invoice you for the second payment and will send you a link so you may pay the invoice online using a credit card through a secure payment page.
Step 8: Work is completed.
Upon receipt of the final payment, I’ll complete work on the second half of the book at the same level of service, and deliver it according to the schedule we agreed to.