Sally Chewter - Copy Editor / Proofreader

Why do you need an editor?

I understand your fiction & non-fiction projects

whyWhether you've written beat poetry or the next blockbuster screenplay, a lavish, bodice-ripping period romance or a science fiction adventure, I know your form and genre. I know about important things like leaving the dialects alone, preserving your voice and vision, and making sure you retain complete creative control. If you've written non-fiction, be assured I'll be focused on helping you communicate your ideas clearly and concisely, giving you a better, stronger, and perfectly crafted manuscript.

One thing many independent authors don’t invest in is a quality editor. But let me tell you: EDITING IS NOT OPTIONAL.

One of the reasons many authors skip this step is because they just don’t know what they are going to get.

Worries I often hear:

  • Will you be mean to me?
  • Will you try to change my 'voice' or my vision?
  • Will you charge an unreasonable fee?
  • My book looks GREAT to me.. so what exactly does a copy editor do and why would I need one?

Copy Editing - the options

copy editorYou have written your text or your book, but before submitting it for publishing, or self-publishing, you know it probably needs thorough checking and tidying up.  This can be difficult to do yourself, as you will see what you expect to see and will tend to miss any errors.

In a sense, copy-editing is a "step up" from proofreading, although in the traditional publishing process, it actually comes before proofreading. The idea is that the copy (the manuscript, document, etc.) is first edited by a copy-editor and then proofread as the last "quality control" phase.



No Proofreading

proofreaderProofreading means examining your text carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style and spelling. Be sure the larger aspects of your text are revised first. You don't want corrections made at the sentence and word level, if you still need to work on the focus, organisation and development of the whole manuscript, of sections, or of paragraphs. The proofreader will read through your work once (backwards, sentence by sentence) to check for fragments; read through again (forwards) to be sure subjects and verbs agree, and again (perhaps using a computer search for "this," "it," and "they") to trace pronouns to antecedents.



"A ghostwriter is a person who is hired to author books, manuscripts, screenplays, speeches, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, participants in timely news stories, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, memoirs, magazine articles, or other written material. In music, ghostwriters are often used to writing songs, lyrics and instrumental pieces. Screenplay authors can also use ghostwriters to either edit or rewrite their scripts to improve them."

- Wikipedia

In the film industry, as screenwriter William Goldman and others have repeatedly pointed out, everything about the writing process has to do with teamwork and collaboration. Why should the same principles not apply to book writing? Ghostwriters are also hired to write books for people who perhaps have a great story to tell, or an important message, but don't feel they have the time or, possibly, the appropriate skills to write the whole thing themselves. In these cases, the accredited 'author' of the book is the person who hires the ghostwriter, unless the book author wants to share some of the credit with the ghost, in which case the book may be subtitled "As told to ...", or the ghost may be named as a co-author or “editor” of the book, and this is usually listed somewhere in the acknowledgments.


Web Content Writing

I have considerable experience in this area. We often make websites for experts in sports, building, or other fields, who are highly skilled in what they do, but are not sure where to begin when it comes to writing suitable copy for their website or other publicity material. That's where I come in! I make the websites SEO-friendly from the start, thus avoiding an extra, expensive step later. Good web copy is short, pithy and to the point, and Google loves that. This is a skill that not everybody has; many people believe that the more waffle, flowery language and padding, the better, but the opposite is true.

"A website content writer or web content writer is a person who specialises in providing relevant content for websites. Every website has a specific target audience and requires a different type and level of content. Content should contain words (key words) that attract and retain users on a website.

Most story pieces are centred on marketing products or services that the website is selling or endorsing, though this is not always the case. Some websites are informational only and do not sell a product or service. In those instances, the content should be geared toward helping to educate the reader while providing them with complex information in a way that is easy to understand and retain." - Wikipedia


Price Guide

I find the simplest pricing strategy is to charge by the word count. This way, there are no surprises! I charge 1c. US per word for proofreading, and 3c. US per word for copy editing. If you refer to the following links, you can see exactly what is covered by these two services: Copy Editing and Proofreading.

Once this has been agreed, I take one third of the total as an upfront payment, usually via Paypal, upon receipt of which I immediately start work. Once I consider the work basically finished, I take the second third, at which point I send the document back to the client for their approval and so that they can inform me of any further changes which they would like to see. Once these are attended to, I will ask for the final third of the payment and, immediately upon receipt, the completed document will be returned to the client. If required, for a small additional fee, the manuscript can be turned into an eBook, suitable for submission to Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu print-on-demand and so on.


book pile