In this section you can find frequently asked questions and information about how the process works. Scroll down the page to find out what happens when you hire me as your editor.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the types of questions that I am asked most frequently:

  • Why do I need an editor when I have spell check?

    The introduction of word processing programs and spell checkers has made life easier for most of us. But who hasn't had an incident where the spell checker substituted a word that was spelled correctly—but it was the completely wrong word. This can be embarrassing (I instantly recall an incident when genealogy was replaced with gynecology). The English language is filled with homonyms and special case scenarios. A computer program will never replace a human because the computer can never understand your intention or meaning.
  • My mother/spouse/friend read my work and they don't see any problems.

    I am often the first set of unbiased eyes to read someone's work. It is hard to be an impartial reader when you have an emotional attachment to the author. My job is to assess the work objectively and in relation to professional standards. Alan Williams said, "An editor [does] something that almost no friend, relative, or even spouse is qualified or willing to do, namely to read every line with care, to comment in detail with absolute candor, and to suggest changes where they seem desirable, or even essential. In doing this the editor is acting as the first truly disinterested reader, giving the author not only constructive help but also, one hopes, the first inkling of how reviewers, readers, and the marketplace…will react, so that the author can revise accordingly."
  • Won't my publisher edit my manuscript?

    If a publishing house accepts your work, they will edit your manuscript. Even if it has been previously edited, there will probably still be some editing done to adhere to house style or to the personal whims of the publisher. But you run the risk of your work, regardless of how good the story is, not being accepted because it represents too big of a financial and time commitment on the publisher's part to edit it. Publishing is a business. Part of the equation in accepting a book for publication is determining how much money they will have to invest in it before it can be published. Having a well-edited submission tilts the scales in your favour. And publishers will often not even read your manuscript if it is not neat, well organized, and well written.
  • My book is a compilation of (very successful!) speeches that I have made. Do I need an editor?

    All of us have had misunderstandings from e-mail communications that did not convey the message as the writer intended. Verbal and written communication is very different. A vibrant and successful speech may fail pitifully on paper because the text is stripped of the nuances of tone, delivery, and facial expression. These projects can actually require much more editorial work than you may think.

How does the process work?

The first thing we will do is sign a contract. You should never work with a freelance editor without a written agreement in place. This protects both of us and ensures that we are working from the same page. Here is a sample contract from The Editors' Association of Canada. Once we have a written agreement in place, you need to send your document or manuscript to me. I can edit both electronically and manually (on hard copy). My preference is to edit electronically because it is quicker and saves some trees. I will send you instructions on how to securely transfer your document to me.

placeholder imageI use the Track Changes feature of Word for most of my editing. The benefit of using Track Changes is that you, the author, are able to review and accept or reject any or all of the changes. If you are unfamiliar with Track Changes, I also send detailed instructions on how to use this feature.

If you choose to have your manuscript or document edited manually versus electronically, you must courier a copy to me. Please do not send your original manuscript. I will courier the edited manuscript back to you upon completion. I prefer to use a courier service because the manuscript will be tracked and insured. I will also send a legend of editing symbols so that you can decipher my mark up on the manuscript.