Important Notes for All Levels of Editing

Copy Editing PoliciesPotential clients should take careful note of these policies:


  1. I charge on a per-word basis, for the most part, so the writer will know from the beginning what the charge will be. I go by Microsoft Word’s word count in the status bar; the count is noted in the agreement between the client and me.
  2. If, as I proceed with the editing, I discover changes in the quality of the text that indicate that a higher level of editing is needed, I will stop work and notify the writer. When notified by the writer that I should continue, work will resume and the appropriate price will go into effect. If the writer chooses to stop at that point, work will cease and the writer will be charged for the amount of text edited to that point.
  3. Academic writings will need to be within the scope of my own education and personal studies if specialized knowledge is required to follow arguments. As noted elsewhere, my formal education was in theology and philosophy, and my personal and professional studies have carried me into matters of culture and society. I can work with writings in other areas as long as a significant background in the area isn’t needed for comprehension. Note that in the area of philosophy, my education in symbolic logic was limited, so I will not be able to proofread logical notation.
  4. Students writing theses, dissertations, or other research papers are responsible to notify me if their institution has its own style manual that must be followed and provide it for me if I do not already have it. Check to see if your particular department has its own style manual in addition to (or in place of) the one used by the institution generally. Writers should also should find out whether their institution has any stated requirements regarding the role of editors and forward such requirements to me.
  5. Important notes for writers of academic research papers: I am a copyeditor, not your secretary or research assistant. It is not my responsibility to search for details for resources in footnotes and bibliographies. These are the responsibility of the writer. Do not give only the name of the author in a subsequent footnote; the title (if only in shortened form) needs to be there, too. And do not simply copy references in bibliographic format into footnotes for me to reformat. Reformat them as called for by the relevant style manual. I will look for the occasional overlooked item (online only) and correct an occasional formatting error. If such problems become excessive (by my estimation), I will highlight them and return them to the writer for correction. If the writer wishes me to correct these problems instead, I will change to a per hour rate for the entirety of the manuscript.
  6. If I am to work on the formatting of your manuscript, please do not send a copy that has been edited by several people with a lot of custom styles applied and comments crowding the margin. If there are previous comments by other editors, I will assume the writer has dealt with them and will delete them. Sometimes hidden formatting in Microsoft Word can cause problems, in which case the document has to be stripped of all formatting. That takes extra time. If that becomes a consistent problem, we will talk about moving to a per-hour fee.
  7. For biblical quotations, I do not locate the scriptural “addresses” for the writer, nor do I check to see if ones given are correct. I strongly urge writers to copy the text directly from a Bible program or online Bible source (and then strip any hyperlinks in the text that may have been imported). The writer will inform me of the translation used. Note that academic institutions do not all require the same form for biblical references (e.g, “Gen” or “Gen.” for “Genesis”). It will save time (and possibly money) if they are done correctly from the beginning.
  8. Necessary grammatical corrections and typos will be accepted by me (in the Track Changes dialog), while questionable matters will remain visible for the author to accept or reject. Writers can see all changes made, using Word’s Compare feature (under the Review tab), by overlaying my finished copy (with all changes accepted) on their original. I can do this if requested. 
  9. Writers for whom English is not their first language may expect more interaction with me since I may not be clear on their intended meaning behind certain word choices or sentences. Rates may be on the higher side if many changes and clarifications must be made.
  10. If a writer returns a manuscript to me after I have completed my work, I will go through it a second time for minor touch-ups or to correct any mistakes I might have made. If it is returned to me for further editing after that, the fee will shift to a per-hour basis for that work (in addition to the previous charges). The rate is $25.00 per hour.