Writing, Editing, and Self-Publishing Services


I WRITE both creative and nonfiction works.
I have written (or ghostwritten): production notes for over 40 major Hollywood films; project proposals and one-sheets for independent filmmakers; corporate biographies, web content, advertorials, brochures, and business plans; artist biographies; film and book synopses; guest blog and newspaper editorials; and even family histories. For five years I was the co-editor of the Women in Film and Video – Vancouver Newsletter, for which I also wrote editorials, features, a regular column, and interviews with industry leaders. For select examples, click here. I currently blog for the independent publishing industry.

Rates vary; please contact me to discuss your needs. Confidentiality assured.

I EDIT fiction and nonfiction works, whether creative, commercial, corporate, or academic. Rates are flat or per word, making it easy for you to calculate up front what your costs will be. I work with Canadian, British, or American spelling and grammatical conventions, various style guides, as well as print or digital conventions, as required by the client. See Editing Services.

I STORY EDIT or REVIEW fiction and nonfiction works. Rather than working directly on the text, a story edit or manuscript review is a report on the work’s strengths and weaknesses and is a shorter, less costly form of development edit. It is useful for both creative works and nonfiction, including academic theses. See Story Edit/Manuscript Review.

I previously offered self-publishing assistance as a standalone service; this is now reserved for clients of my writing or editing services.

Rates are in CDN but clients may request a quote in USD and pay in USD. Clients outside Canada are not subject to tax. Canadian clients pay 5% GST.

Credentials

• Twenty years’ experience as a freelance writer, editor, and creative consultant
• Self-published novelist (Baby Jane, The Point Between)
• Self-published nonfiction writer (The Global Indie Author, 3 editions; To Kindle in Ten Steps; Build Your Own eBooks For FREE)
• Ghostwriter of production notes for over 40 major Hollywood films
• Lecturer/instructor on self-publishing (various public libraries, Capilano College)
• Screenwriter of six spec and four commissioned scripts and one optioned documentary project, and the uncredited story editor on the award-winning MOW A Cooler Climate, starring Sally Field and Judy Davis
• Former editor of the Women in Film and Video – Vancouver Newsletter (1996 to 2001)
• Former editor of the Academy West Newsletter (1999 to 2005)
• Published editorialist
• Featured essayist in Writing About Literature: A Guide for the Student Critic by W. F. Garrett-Petts (both editions)
• Past winner of the annual W. W. Norton Book Prize for English at the University of Alberta (top essayist in first-year English)
• B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Alberta, with a minor in Art & Design and an unofficial minor in Religious Studies

What are the different types of editing?

There are two distinct types of editing: development editing and manuscript editing. Development editing is done first, while the work is in progress, and was previously a given of the traditional publishing deal (some still offer this, most don’t). During the development stage, the editor helps the writer refine their work by addressing problematic plot points or character arcs (or lack thereof), the author’s writing style, cultural issues that may affect reception of the work, the appropriateness of the content for the target audience, and so on. In nonfiction works, development editing looks at style, cultural appropriateness, argument, logic, the flow of ideas, and whether the level of discourse matches the target audience.

Development editing includes the more limited substantive editing, which is done after the work is deemed publishable. Substantive editing involves rewriting where necessary to tighten the work, improve style, and eliminate ambiguities and other issues that still mar the text.

Manuscript editing comes last. Manuscript editing includes mechanical editing (also called line editing), copyediting (or copy editing), and proofreading. Mechanical editing ensures that organization and presentation – things like font choice and size, heading styles, bullet points, ellipses, hyphenation, capitalization, abbreviations, footnotes and bibliographies – conform to a particular style guide, either published publicly (such as Chicago, Oxford, APA), internally (corporate, government, the publishing house/journal), or the author’s own.

Copyediting (or copy editing) covers all points of grammar: spelling, punctuation, and syntax.

Proofreading (proofing) refers to the final check of the manuscript pages after they have been typeset and readied for printing, which the industry calls a “proof.”

Editing Services

The many terms for manuscript editing create confusion because individual editors or editing houses often define the terms differently or apply them quite fluidly. To avoid such confusion, I present my services according to the length of the work and the depth of the edit.

Copy Edit – short-form fiction and nonfiction (maximum 4000 words)

A copy edit of a short work includes both copyediting and mechanical editing. I will ensure your work conforms to your chosen style guide and English-language dictionary; if you elected to deviate from the style guide, I must be informed prior to the edit so as not to overcorrect. The copy edit also includes checking the spelling of established proper nouns and trademarks. If you are using coined words or phrases, scientific terminology, or industry jargon, please provide a list prior to the edit.

• Under 2000 words: $.04 per word
• 2001 to 4000 words: flat fee of $100.00 for the first 2000 words plus $.03 per word thereafter

If your short-form work is part of a larger collection or series, we should first discuss whether you want to establish a definitive style you will conform to as you continue writing the series. If so, creating a style guide is recommended. An additional fee may apply.

NOTE: if sending me an academic work that includes references, and you wish to have those references checked for accuracy and not just form, an additional fee may apply. Please inquire.

Copy Edit Level I – long-form fiction and nonfiction (over 4000 words)

A Level I copy edit provides both copyediting and mechanical editing. I will ensure your manuscript conforms to your chosen style guide and English-language dictionary; if you elect to deviate from your chosen style guide, I will add your personalized grammatical conventions to the style guide* I create for your work.

The style guide includes a list of: all main and secondary character names; other proper nouns and trademarks; spelling of uncommon, slang, coined, and foreign words/phrases you use in your manuscript; and your chosen spelling where variants exist (for example, cellphone or cell phone, but not both). The style guide ensures consistency and avoids embarrassing errors such as naming your character Elizabeth then accidentally renaming her Elisabeth.

In nonfiction works the style guide includes: proper nouns and trademarks, industry or technical terms and jargon, foreign words and phrases, and your chosen spelling where variants exist.

NOTE: In a Level I edit I will not confirm the spelling of real trademarks and proper names; I will simply ensure you are consistent in your use. I advise you to check your spelling prior to sending me your manuscript (so you don’t have William Defoe drinking Glennfiddich whiskey and singing “These Irish Eyes Are Smiling” in the New York State Building, instead of Willem Dafoe drinking Glenfiddich whiskey and singing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” in the Empire State Building). If you are deliberately misspelling a trademark to avoid legal issues, please let me know.

Errors are marked using Word’s “Track Changes” directly in the digital manuscript you provide. Includes notes.

• First 10,000 words: flat fee of $180.00 for the first 4000 words plus $.02 per word thereafter
• 10,000 words and up: $300.00 for the first 10,000 words plus $0.01/word thereafter

*Without Style Guide: less 15%. Authors who provide me with their own style guide can deduct 15% off my rates. Please note this deduction will be adjusted if I have to add to your guide.

Copy Edit Level II – long-form fiction and nonfiction

Level2EditWriters often make stylistic errors such as overusing the comma or em dash, wordiness (redundant words and phrases), poor word usage, or ambiguity. Although stylistic errors may be grammatically correct, they devalue the text and irritate the reader. A Level I edit will not fix these errors because they are not technically wrong; a Level II edit fixes these stylistic errors (or suggests how you can fix them). A Level II edit results in a much more polished manuscript and helps you develop your skills as a writer.

For a Level II edit I will also create a more detailed style guide* to include any traits you impart upon your characters, things like their age, profession, education, familial relationships, residence, clothing, physical traits, dialect, mannerisms, etc. This ensures, for example, that you don’t accidentally change someone’s hair or eye color or the name of their employer. I will also check the spelling of any real trademarks, proper nouns, and celebrity names you use in your manuscript.

In a Level II edit I will also draw your attention to any plot errors or factual inconsistencies I notice; for example, you bring someone back from the dead two chapters later, or you change the time of the scene from day to night, or a character walks through an open door you had closed three lines earlier. Such errors are unfortunately quite common, particularly if an author has rearranged whole sections during a rewrite.

Please note that, while a Level II edit is significantly more substantive than a Level I edit, and will include rearrangement of sentences within a paragraph to improve coherence, I will not rearrange whole sections; I will only suggest that you do where I believe this is warranted. I will not rewrite the work to fix significant issues with plot points or character development. I will also not rewrite your work to remove a significant percentage if you have been directed to do so by a publisher or agent. If you need help with these issues, I will suggest a Story Edit or Substantive Edit.

For nonfiction, a Level II edit will also address stylistic errors and minor factual errors or inconsistencies. If the work requires a more substantial evaluation and/or rewrite, I will suggest a Manuscript Review or Substantive Edit.

The fee for a Level II edit is 1.5 times the cost of a Level I edit (a Level II edit can result in literally thousands of edits in a full-length work), more if you lack proficiency in English. If the latter, I will test a sample of your manuscript and provide a quote.

If your text shows that you are technically proficient and you only want/need a style edit, we can negotiate a lower price. Please contact me to discuss.

• First 10,000 words: flat fee of $270.00 for the first 4000 words plus $.03 per word thereafter
• 10,000 words and up: $450.00 for the first 10,000 words plus $0.015/word thereafter

*Without Style Guide: less 20%. Authors who provide me with their own style guide can deduct 20% off my rates. Please note this deduction will be adjusted if I have to add to your style guide.

Post-Edit Re-Read

If requested, and after I have performed an initial edit and you have made changes, I will do a second pass through your document for 40% of the initial fee, provided your rewrite is not more than 25% of your original manuscript. I will discuss with you any initial edits you rejected so as not to repeat past work.

Proofreading

After your work has been readied for print, I can check the proof. The fastest method is to email me the PDF for digital annotations. Alternatively, you can mail me a physical proof for manual markup, which I will then mail back or scan and email, whichever you prefer.

If you are publishing only in electronic form (ebook or online), I can proof the final copy in Word. To avoid transferring hidden code associated with Track Changes, export the final product to Rich Text Filtered (print or online) or WebPage, Filtered (for ebooks).

Additional services

Story Edit/Manuscript Review

StoryeditThe term story edit is used when working on fiction, manuscript review when applied to nonfiction. A story edit deals with story structure, character analysis and development, and manuscript flow; with nonfiction I report on such things as tone, structure, argument, and flow. The result is a detailed* written analysis of the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses and includes suggestions on how you might address the latter. This edit should be done prior to any manuscript editing, since a story edit often results in a significant rewrite.

• under 50,000 words: $.007 per word
• over 50,000 words: $.008 per word

*Many “author services” websites offer cheaper reviews, but these will often be no more than a page or two at most, will only touch the surface of your work, and will not provide concrete examples of how to fix your errors. My reports are detailed, with examples running as long as 25 pages (the more issues discovered, the longer the report).

Substantive Edit

ManuscriptDev

A substantive edit is a rewrite performed to address issues found in a story edit. A substantive edit is, as the name suggests, substantially more work, and this is reflected in the cost. A fee will be negotiated that reflects the degree of assistance required.

Development Edit

I offer development editing services at any stage of your project from inception onward. The fee will be negotiated after a discussion of the scope of your project, its current state of development, and, if any part of the manuscript is available, a preview of the work to date.

Share this!

20 thoughts on “Write, Edit, Self-Publish”

  1. Hi Frances,
    I just finished the last in a series of 16 children’s books that skewed toward the age bracket of 8 to 10 years. I have not to date edited anything aimed at your age group, though the same principles apply (age-appropriate language, themes, etc). Let me know if you would like me to contact you at the email you provided.
    Michelle

  2. Michelle,
    I have written a children’s story of 1662 words. I am sure it could use both a story edit and copy edit.Do you have experience with children’s stories (ages 4 to 6 years)? My writing is reasonably sound, but we never see our own errors so I know that would benefit from your expertise. I do want input on the story but just want to make sure I have a good fit with the editor.
    (The story is a departure from my website content, although that will be undergoing a change)

  3. Hi Mandy,

    I would be happy to do a sample review. I will email you at the address you provided.

  4. First time writer and I need a good editor for my book. About 85.000 words proofreading and level II editor. Not native English so I would like to make sure the book is of a high standard before I put it online. Can you help me out? Perhaps do a sample review?

  5. Hi Crystal,

    Of course I would be interested. I will contact you directly at the email you provided.

    Michelle

  6. I have a book that I have written and would like to have it edited. Would like to be able to get a quote. Is this something that you would be interested in?

  7. Hi,

    I have a novel which already has a publisher. They have made some structural suggestions and since this is my first work, I am really confused though I do agree with many of the recommendations made by the publisher’s editor.

    I am required to submit my manuscript to the publishing house for copy edit. But before I do that I am not entirely convinced enough justice has been done as an author and would like someone to have a thorough look at my manuscript.

    Among other things, I want to reduce 10k words from the current 75k words without reducing any content, this can be done merely by text edit.

    Also, some other issues which have been highlighted by others who have read the work already need to be addressed.

    Regards

  8. Hi, I am in need of an editor that would be able to take my novel and effectively cut it down in size without compromising the story. Which type of edit here would I need and can I get a price quote?

  9. Hi Courtney,

    What you are asking for is a content edit. However, the role of the editor is to make detailed recommendations as to the changes required, not to make substantial edits herself. If you want your editor to remove content, as opposed to counselling you on what and how the manuscript should be edited down by yourself, that would qualify as a rewrite. We would have to negotiate a price based on the current length of the novel and the target length. I would have to see the manuscript and discuss your objectives before I could give you a quote.

    Michelle

  10. Hi Sara,

    I would be happy to provide editing services to you.

    In answer to your question about publishing in an English-speaking country, if you self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing and/or Kobo, your books will be available for purchase worldwide including the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, which are the key English-language markets. (If you have a Mac computer you can also contract directly with Apple, though they do not sell in as many countries as Amazon or Kobo.) Additionally, you can publish worldwide in print using a mix of CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

    The Global Indie Author: Your Guide to the World of Self-Publishing contains all the information you need to self-publish in the United States and globally. It is available in print worldwide, and in ebook on Amazon and Kobo.

  11. Hello, Michelle.
    I need an editor to help me publish my work, because I write YA novels in English but I live in Scandinavia, and they do not publish books in English. Can you help me, please? Is it possible for me to get published in an English-speaking country?

    Sincerely Sara Totland

  12. Hello,
    Could you please provide me with a quote (or estimated quote) for editing a 91000 word novel using /proofreading/copyediting level two.
    Thank you

  13. Hi Michelle,
    I would like to speak with you about your editing services. I am in need of basic editing for a YA fiction novel.
    Thanks, maria

  14. Hi Jean,

    Would be happy to be considered for the job. I will contact you directly via email.

    Michelle

  15. Hello,
    I got your details from the Goodreads site. I am about to publish my third novel and I require copy editing services.
    I am Irish and for the purposes of accurate dialogue etc I have worked with Irish copy-editors in the past.
    This book is slightly different as there are two stories running simultaneously, one in Ireland and the other in the US. while the Irish dialogue is accurate, I think there are several inconsistencies in the American English that would need an American editor to spot.
    I have had a structural edit done already and I have rewritten aspects of the story so while I think it is fairly consistent, of course I would need a copy editor to make sure it was all working as it should.
    If you think this is something you might be interested in quoting for I’d be happy to hear from you.
    The book is approximately 105,000 words.

    Regards,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.