What’s your deadline?  Here’s some info to help me work faster on your editing project, and ways to save money.

Beat your deadline

Take three steps to beat your deadline

Step One: Use my Free Tools section

A little DIY saves you money. Use the drop-downs (below and at right). To improve grammar, spelling, style, and readability, see “Free tools.” To improve organization, see ‘Improve your document or ms.”

Step Two: Get a free estimate

Send me a sample of your work, and the date on which you want me to return the edited work to you. I’ll describe how and what I would edit, with a cost estimate. Book authors and businesses: please include information listed in the drop-down at right, “About your project.”

  • Professors: Specify your journal’s style (APA, MLS, Chicago, etc.) or the journal name and publisher’s website.
  • Business: Send your company’s in-house style guide, or the website you want me to edit.

Scam prevention
Before you send files, please alert me by email or +1-250-335-3334. I do not open attachments from unfamiliar addresses.

Book manuscripts
Send 10% or up to five representative chapters with a page of synopsis, and half a page about your writing goals and experience.

Send me 10% or up to five pages that adequately represent the style and content.

Step Three: Hire me as your editor

If you accept my estimate, I can send you a contract to sign and return. For academic research papers, an email to confirm acceptance of my estimate is acceptable. The EAC’s short editorial contract is comprehensive but easily adapted. I’m also willing to use your contract if it specifies the details of editing and provides adequate protection for both parties.

About your project

To estimate accurately and edit appropriately for your readers, I will need at least some these details.

Vital statistics
Full title of document, contact person, deadline for return, current word count, and the date you want it completed and returned to you.

Contacts for the designer or webmaster if I need to coordinate text with layout.  The roles of any co-authors in approving the edits.

Content elements
Outline of the photographs, tables, and / or figures (diagrams and maps) that the project will use.

The intended audience(s), and publication / distribution methods.

Your vision
The changes you want in structure, length, and / or style.

Key improvements
Specific things you want me to improve – or preserve.

The number of revisions you have made, and whether you are still making changes or doing research.

Canadian, American, or British: the correct spellings of places, people, and product names as used in your document.

Date and time
Your preferred date format and time zone.

Acronyms and abbreviations
A list of what you have used plus the full versions.

Hidden stuff
Details of any codes, macros, or links that are embedded but may not be visible.

Your availability
The time will you are available to work on it, and how quickly you can respond to queries.

Issues of privacy, terminology, rights, and acknowledgements.

Technology and editing preferences
The file type you will send for editing: I can work in MS Word (.doc and .docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf – compatible with Macs), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), and text (.txt). If you use MS Word, are you familiar with Tracked Changes and Comments? Will you choose and activate the changes that I suggest, or will you want me to do that?

Is there anything you especially want to avoid? Is there anything else I should know?

Free tools

To help me work faster and save you money, you could use the tools below to improve your document before sending. A long-term way to improve your English is to read good writers. The style of “The Economist” magazine is exceptionally clear.



MS Word

This program can be set to check not only your grammar but also your style. In File/Options/Proofing, find Writing Style. In the drop down menu, Choose Grammar and Style, then click Settings. Check the boxes for the aspects of Grammar that you want Word to include when spell checking, and then boxes for aspects of Style.

When the spellchecker is running, see the Options box in the lower left corner to see for the same choices. After spellchecking is done, another box will pop up, giving you document statistics, and also readability grades. See Wikipedia about these tests: Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.

Online readability tools

Online Utility.org
The Readability Calculator is under the English Language tab, and calculates readability using the Coleman Liau index, Flesch Kincaid Grade Level, ARI (Automated Readability Index), and SMOG. The site has several other useful tools.

Automatically checks your text as soon as you paste it. Also does web pages, and .pdf’s. Offers bulk processing too, with a Premium account. Highly recommended site.


Improve your style with brevity tips:

Common errors

Top Twenty Specific Problems –   Professor Paul Hensel, U. North Texas.
Twelve Common Errors – U Wisconsin Writing Centre.

Commonly confused words

Oxford Dictionaries, U. Richmond Writing Centre or Santa Monica College.

Idioms, figures of speech, and expressions

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/ Highly recommended site.


Plagiarism check

Find copies of your page on the web: http://www.copyscape.com/

Citation Styles

Tools for APA, MLA, Turabian, or Chicago (MLS): U. Pittsburgh library, Bibme.



Grammar terms


Free spelling and grammar checkers

A warning. Grammar checkers often give different results from each other, and from MS Word. Does it mean they make errors, or that English changes, and the rules change? See two tests of Grammarly.com, on my blog and on Grammarist

http://www.afterthedeadline.com from Automattic (the WordPress people). You can also get it as a Firefox add-on.



For Serious Editors

How to write a style guide


Editing macros

Download the free book by Paul Beverley, “Computer Tools for Editors”
There’s also a free scripted global find-and-replace system.

Need More Help?




Improve your document or ms

If you do these easy fixes before you ask for help, I can work more quickly and charge you less. See also my Free Tools at left.

page numbers, and bullet points where appropriate.

chapter beginnings and endings to ensure that transitions fit your outline;
headings with “Outline View” in MS Word for logic and fit with the first paragraph;
legal requirements regarding privacy, rights, and acknowledgments.

subsections that break the text into easy-to-read chunks.

accuracy of Table of Contents and page numbers.

chapter titles and section subheadings.

your book with an introduction that says why it was written, describes the context (events, people, issues, and places), outlines the contents, compares yours to similar books, advises how readers could use it (e.g. as a field guide), and introduces multiple authors.

quotes, examples, and evidence into separate paragraphs or text boxes.