Helping Writers

Do you have a story to tell? A message to share? Something you’d like to see in print—preferably with your name in the byline?

I can help!

Professional Editing and Proofreading

If you already have part or all of a manuscript written, I can help you polish it. My comprehensive editorial services include:

  • analyzing your manuscript to assess the marketability of the concept, organization of the material, and the general tone of the writing
  • providing a detailed evaluation of your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, encouragement on what’s working, specific suggestions for improvement, and formatting tips
  • checking for such things as development, consistency, pace, and ease of readability
  • suggesting ways to increase smoothness, eliminate ambiguity, and tighten the writing
  • looking for words and phrases that may be confusing or offensive to certain readers
  • advising you of the appropriate guidelines for use and permission of quoted material
  • checking for pronouns that do not modify the appropriate nouns and verbs that do not match their subjects
  • pointing out clichés, jargon, dangling modifiers, repetitive words or phrases, and run-on sentences or paragraphs
  • indicating where the writing sounds stilted or unrealistic
  • identifying words, sentences, paragraphs, or sections that could be cut to improve the manuscript (and to fit into publishers’ word-count guidelines, if applicable)

For nonfiction, I illustrate how certain fiction techniques can improve the manuscript. For novels, fictional anecdotes in nonfiction, and true stories told in a narrative style, I highlight areas where you need to “show, not tell,” use active voice rather than passive, and weave in more sensory details and point-of-view characters’ observations, thoughts, and feelings.

In addition, I correct typos, inconsistencies, and errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling according to the US publishing industry’s standard references (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition, The Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition, and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style 2004).

I like to start with the first few chapters. As you study the initial edit/critique, you can pick up on recurring corrections and suggestions and apply them to future chapters, making later sections more polished (thus requiring less time to edit). Therefore, later edits should cost less. If you prefer, I can do the full manuscript, sending you chapters as I get them edited.

Click here for some Writing Tips and Punctuation Pointers.

Publishing Assistance

Once your manuscript is polished, I can provide the following services:

Marketing assistance. If you wish to try for a traditional publisher, I can help with proofreading, editing, and critique of your query/cover letter, synopsis or summary, and other facets of a book proposal. I can also make recommendations regarding agents and publishing houses.

Self-publishing help. If you decide to pursue independent publishing, I can recommend reputable companies that will print your book (or format it as an e-book). I can also help with typesetting the interior and/or designing the cover. I can also assist you in writing back-cover copy and proofreading the final manuscript prior to publication.

Social media quotes. As I perform a final proofread of your manuscript, I can highlight quotes from your book that would make good posts for your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.

Click here to read about the variety of publishing options available to writers today.

Long-Term Writing Assistance

Mentoring. If you’re interested in a long-term working relationship, in which you will learn a variety of writing techniques using your own manuscript(s) for the lessons and assignments, I can provide a variety of instructional material and specific suggestions on how to improve your manuscript while honing your skills and taking your writing abilities to the next level. This program is like taking an in-depth writing course, but you work at your own pace, set your own goals, and pay for as many hours in advance as you want. The schedule you choose can be revised, extended, put on hold, or stopped at any time. (See the Mentoring page of my website for details.)

Writing career coaching. If you’d like to pursue writing as a career, I can help you navigate the ever-changing seas of the Christian publishing industry through ongoing e-mails. Ask whatever questions you like, and I will provide the answers based on my years of experience in the business, my regular contacts with publishing professionals at writers’ conferences and other author events, and my perusal of industry publications. You simply send a payment for the number of hours you anticipate wanting to spend on these exchanges. When that amount is close to being used, I will let you know and you can decide whether or not to pay for more.

Ghostwriting/Collaborating

If you’ve got an idea for a book, but don’t want to go to all the time, trouble, and expense of learning how to write professionally, I can help.

Why Work with Me?

I have been a full-time freelance editor since 1998. I’ve edited both fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres. (Click here to see some of the books I’ve edited.) I’ve worked with lots of aspiring, beginning, and intermediate writers, but I’ve also worked with several of the top authors in Christian publishing. (Click here for a list.) I’ve also done substantive content editing and line-by-line copyediting for a number of publishing houses (both traditional and independent). (Click here to read some testimonials from satisfied clients.)

And as for proofreading … well, my Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors is the culmination of almost twenty years of studying the publishing industry’s standard reference books for punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling (and doing proofreading for a number of traditional and subsidy publishers). I’ve also gathered an impressive collection of tips on catching typos, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies from some of the top Christian authors in the business. (Click here for some excerpts from that book.)

The sequel to that book, Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, is scheduled for release in 2015.

Contact Me

E-mail me to get a personalized quote on editing your manuscript.

If I’m not the right editor for you, I can help you find the right one for you. As founder and director of the Christian Editor Connection, I can put you together with other established, professional editors whom I have personally tested and screened … at no cost to you. Just go to ChristianEditor.com and fill out the form for Authors Seeking Editors.

Ultimately, it’s not my goal to get your business … it’s my goal to do whatever I can to help you achieve the dreams and goals God has placed on your heart.