Free Editing Is Not Free

Editing Advice, Writing

I’d heard a lot recently about some websites that proclaim to help authors with editing. These sites apparently use algorithms and other software to help authors “edit” their work. 

As an editor, it concerned me because I know there are a lot of nuances when it comes to editing the written word. Although there are a lot of standard writing rules, all too often these rules can be more of a “suggestion” and need to be carefully examined in context before making a decision.

For example: One website said that only 44 words in the English language follow the “I before E” rule and there are 925 exceptions to the rule!

And it also concerned me because these sites are proclaiming to be the “best” editors for your work. But I know that there is only so much a program can do. (After all, even Word doesn’t always catch all the misspellings or missing punctuation in a document.) So I decided to check out a few of these sites to see how well they actually edited a piece. What I found frightened me.

In all fairness, most of these sites are about “proofreading” a written piece and usually about nonfiction articles – not full-length novels. Proofreading does typically come at the end of the editing process and is meant to pick up minor errors like missing punctuation. And articles are typically shorter pieces that do not need the detail of a manuscript editor. However, if an author is unaware of these facts – many people interchange the words “editing” and “proofreading” and not all the sites make it clear that it does not work well for novels – then they may run their piece through one of these sites and find only minor errors when there are larger mistakes looming.

One site, touted as the “Best Free Grammar Checker,” did not even point out plagiarism to me when I blatantly put in another author’s work. Nor did it find anything except two misspelled words when there were many comma and punctuation errors (input by me). 

In fact, most of the sites I checked missed major errors. However, if you are a habitual bad speller, these sites would be a good place to start. Finding spelling errors seems to be the bulk of what these sites can do well.

However, what about slang words? Dialects in your character’s dialogue? And we haven’t even begun to consider where a paragraph should begin, how the timeline works, or if you’ve completly forgotten to change the name of your character in all the right places. Bill and Jill are both fine names to these editing sites, but if you changed your character from one name to the other – you better have done it throughout the entire piece (including changing “he” to “she”) or your readers will be mightily confused! These sites will NOT find these errors.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t let these sites replace real, live editors. They simply can’t. There are so many aspects to the English language that it is impossible for an automated machine to catch it all. I mean, some of us human editors don’t catch every error!

When you have spent months and months, or even years, writing your manuscript, do not throw all your hard work away by only using these online editing programs. Seek the counsel of a professional editor instead. 

If you want to learn a few ways to self edit your novel, check out my eBook: Edit Your Novel for Less!: Tips and Tricks to Save Money During the Editing Process






The Author/Editor Relationship

Editing Advice, Life and Happiness, Writing

Last week, a potential client asked me, “Can you please tell me a little bit more how you work with a new client?”

It was something that other potential clients had asked me and I’d always found it a bit hard to answer. I edit. That’s it. Isn’t it always the same? I look for punctuation and grammar errors. I point out inconsistencies, etc., and I use Word’s Track Change feature to keep track of it all for the author. But after I had taken a Editing Boot Camp a few weeks ago, I realized that not every editor works in the same way. Some ask questions of their author and try to offer instruction (that’s me!), and some simply change whole sentences and paragraphs without any instruction (that’s NOT me). While others seem to only want to completely change an author’s words altogether.

After I had thought about it for awhile, here is how I chose to answer her:

“My motto is: I don’t change voices. I make them louder. It’s more than a gimmick to me. I strive to not change the voice of the author, ever. I want to understand what their goals are for their work and what they are trying to convey to their reader. Very often what I will do in my editing work is leave comments asking the author questions about their piece. This way, the author can scrutinize the sentence or paragraph and determine if it truly is what they intended or if it doesn’t quite work.

I try to approach the content/substantive part of the editing process as if I’m the reader. If I don’t understand something, I point it out. If something conflicts with what I thought was happening, I point it out. If a character seems – well – out of character, I point it out. Very rarely do I change whole sentences or rearrange things without giving the author a firm reason for the change. In the end, it’s YOUR work, not mine. I only want to point out to you what may or may not work. My authors and I often have small debates and, sometimes, they convince me their way is correct. I like to make friends with my authors, but that doesn’t mean I’m lenient! I push my authors in good ways to make their work better. 

With all that said, I hold firm to many writing rules and I use the Chicago Manual of Style or the Christian Writer’s Manual of Style as my guides. These don’t affect the overall plot, but things like ellipses, punctuation marks, and spelling out of numerals – things like that. I like to instruct. I’ll tell you why I’m suggesting a change (usually based on these style guides) and encourage you to learn about this rule to apply it to future works.

I’ve worked with one author for over five years. She writes romance – which isn’t my first pick of genres, but I’ve grown to enjoy her books. We’ve created such a great relationship that I can tell what she means to say even when she says it “wrong.” For her, I often will just fix things and she accepts them because she knows I know what she means. But that’s rare and I only start doing that once I’ve worked with someone long enough to know their style and voice.”

After that, I pointed her to the testimonials page on this website and said I hoped I had answered her question. In fact, because I thought it was such a good response (for once!), I chose to make it this blog post in the hopes that others would read it and want to work with me.

When I say I don’t change voices, I mean it. I know how hard it is to write and I don’t like it when someone tells me to rearrange my whole story. They don’t know what’s in my head – only I do. And I don’t know what’s in my client’s heads either. But I want to learn and I want to help. I want their story to get OUT of their head and onto the paper in the most pleasing, and engaging way.

So there you have it. It’s how I work and I’d love to chat with you about how you work too. Drop me a message or leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to working with you!

What is this “rest” you speak of?

Editing Advice, Life and Happiness

Since my birthday was Monday, I decided ahead of time that I didn’t want to exercise on my special day. But, since I’m working hard to lose weight and be fit, I didn’t think it was completely smart for me to just skip working out altogether. So last Saturday, I took my trainer’s “boot camp” course instead.

I’ve gone to the class before – it’s similar to what we do in our Wednesday class – so I knew I’d be able to get through it and I’d feel good about it and not guilty for taking Monday off.

The class has a lot of unfamiliar faces in it since it’s in a different location. It’s not my normal (and I hesitate to use that term) group of ladies, but I’ve met most of these girls before and it’s really about just working out so the social aspect doesn’t matter to me.

In my weekly classes, most of the ladies are pretty fit. Most of us come twice a week and we are a pretty strong bunch of bit…ahem…ladies. But the Boot Camp class has a variety of women – young, old, strong, not so strong, thin, heavy…and with all sorts of ailments and infirmities that they are fighting.

As we worked with this new group, I noticed something. Some people used lighter weights, some heavier. A few women used modified movements and our trainer pointed out when not to do something if you had bad knees or a sore back. We each went at our own pace and pushed ourselves in our own ways. We all made it through the hour – each having accomplished only what our own bodies could accomplish.

And I had this thought: that’s what we need to do in all aspects of our life. As an editor, this is something I encourage with all my clients – go at your own pace, let your book speak to you (just as these women let their bodies speak to them). You will know when something isn’t right. When something seems forced, or painful, step back and reevaluate.

This past week, one of my friends brought a chapter for her book to our critique group. She’s trying to finish her book that she’s been working on for years. And as we read this chapter, several of us could tell her heart just wasn’t in it. She openly admitted that the chapter had been hard to write and had felt forced. She didn’t have to point that out, though. We could all feel it. Here’s the worst part: she wrote it because she felt like she had to sum something up that didn’t need summation. She wrote the chapter because all her “how-to” books said she needed to write it. But, as her readers, we didn’t need it. In fact, we told her it could probably be summed up, instead, with just a few sentences tacked on to the previous chapter. I could see the relief in her eyes and a newfound bit of joy came back about her manuscript. Just like I feel when my trainer says, “It’s okay if you need a drink. Feel free to take a minute to rest.” It was time for this author to rest. The book is done – it’s time to rest.

You see, no one had told her that it was okay to not push past what she knew to be the end. No one said, “You’re done. It’s okay to stop.”

We can’t always go at the pace that others go. We can’t always write, edit, teach, or live the way others live. We need to go at our own pace and we need to know what’s right for us. God often will guide us – those little times when something doesn’t feel quite right or when something seems too painful…that’s God speaking to your soul, telling you it’s okay to stop.

As we go into this next weekend, I’m going to listen to that quiet voice of God. I want to rest, and to enjoy how far I’ve come. I don’t need to always keep pushing. Sometimes it’s okay to rest.

A Quick Look At Scrivener

Editing Advice, Writing

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of the program Scrivener. I hesitated to purchase it for a long time because I didn’t want to put out the money for it. But I’m here to tell you – it’s worth it.

I’m only just beginning in my use of Scrivener, but I’m going to highlight a few things that I love about the program so you can get a general idea if it’d be right for you. I am not getting any kind of kickback for this, I just want to share my knowledge and help my fellow writers make good, informed decisions.

If you’re a “pantser” like me – which means you don’t do any plotting of your novels, you simply write – then you’ll like the chapters feature – see my circle below.


When I originally began to write my novel, What You Think You Know, I simply started a Word document and began typing. But as the text grew in length, I realized that it was difficult to scroll around to the different scenes when I wanted to make changes. Let’s face it, a book is about 50,000 words MINIMUM. That’s a lot of text to keep track of. With the chapter breakouts, you can jump around as needed without hours of scrolling for the right section. It cut my editing time in half – or more. In addition, it’s easier to move scenes around – simply drag that file to a different section. Easy peasy.

The chapter files also help when you’re getting bits and pieces edited by your critique group. What I did was print out one chapter at a time and then, once they’d edited it, I’d make changes and mark it as “edited” so I knew it had already been looked at. This helped me be consistent with the changes as well as have each section read by my critique group in the right order with no repeats.

Another thing I love is the Project Targets feature. See here:


When you begin your project, you can set up how many words you think it’ll be and set a daily target for yourself. This target is for my non-fiction book I’m working on. When I wrote my YA novel, this really helped keep me on track especially towards the end. It’s an easy way to keep yourself motivated. Towards the end of my novel, I really wanted to get to that 50,000 mark and this little device made it easy to see how much progress I was making.

If you are a plotter, Scrivener has a ton of features to help with that, too, including places for notes, pictures, ideas, background info and a place to outline. At the end, the compile feature puts everything you choose into a lovely and easy-to-use Word document that you can format for printing or ebook conversion. Also, you can have multiple projects going on at once – I have two currently in progress – and it saves the files neatly into a folder on your computer that you can easily back up into any other program like DropBox or the cloud.

In the end, I will never write anything longer than 5,000 words without Scrivener. It has helped me to organize and motivate. I know I need to utilize more of its features, but I’m still learning. If you already use Scrivener – what’s your favorite feature?

You can download the program here. And YouTube has a lot of great tutorials to get you started. Have fun and keep writing!

The Importance of Beta Readers

Editing Advice, Writing

My editing work has hit one of the usual lulls so I’ve been taking this time to work on my own writing. Last week, I sent out the novella I’ve been working on to a few beta readers. We’ve discussed beta readers on here before, but I want to reiterate how important it is to have people who will read your work before you actually get it out into the world.

You might think since I’m an editor that my writing is perfection on every level. You’d be wrong. And it’s why I am an editor – because I know that when we write, we often do not truly see our words with fresh eyes. We use crutch words. We gloss over things in our stories because we just assume our reader will be aligned with the voices in our heads.

Guess what? They aren’t.

For instance, I have a problem with ellipses. (Hi, my name is Sue. I’m an ellipses junky.) Every time I hear a pause in my head…I add ellipses. (See what I did there? That should have been a comma.) I can catch it quite easily in other’s works, but, apparently, not my own.

After I’d written What You Think You Know and several beta readers pointed out my ellipses addiction, I went over my new novella with a fine-toothed comb. Or so I thought. When not one, but TWO beta readers commented on my over usage of those pesky dots, I realized I was not yet over the hump. So I went back through it again and removed almost all of them. (They are actual correct uses for ellipses. Those I kept in.)

My point here is this: beta readers, editors and pre-order readers are VERY important to your writing. Not only are these folks usually good for free feedback, but they also help you to hone your writing skills.

(FYI – Most of my beta readers are also writers so I often exchange their feedback for my editing services. If you have something to give in return – I recommend it. This helps to create professional and lasting relationships. Also, if you have writer friends – ASK THEM FIRST. They will often give you more feedback than you imagined simply because, as writers, we don’t want to be associated in any way with sub-par stuff. Plus, we know the “writing rules.”)

In the end, I know my novella will be sharper, more focused and better defined thanks to my beta readers. Plus, I’ve gained a few new friends this way and look forward to providing something back to them in return.

This week try and connect with some other writers or people in your field. Can you do a favor for someone in exchange for something in return (or even for free)? #spreadthelove


Get Your Novel Edited for Less

Editing Advice, Writing

As an editor, I am astounded at the amount of work I receive that includes so many blatant, simple-to-fix errors. And I’m usually further confounded by these same writers who tell me, “I don’t have a lot of money to spend on editing.” I think the solution, many times, is simple: edit it yourself first!

There are often mistakes that jump off the page to me, but, I’m assuming, they don’t always to the author. So here are three tips to help you spot the issues in your own work and one tip about using others for help – before you spend any money.

Check the timeline throughout the book.
If the narration has moved into winter, make sure your characters are dressed appropriately. When they leave the house there should be snow, or ice, or, at the very least, cold temps. The same goes for summer. I’ve seen too many characters taking off coats in hot southern climates – don’t do it!

In addition, make sure characters’ ages match once another. This is especially true if your book does a bit of time hopping. Maybe the beginning is set when the main character is young and then moves on to when he/she is older. Guess what? Everyone else ages, too. (Unless this is some weird Sci Fi book where they don’t, of course.) Days of the week can be much more hard to determine as a book often doesn’t even mention it. However, if you have kids going to school, you’ll need to pay attention to weekend time when they wouldn’t go.

Here’s another timeline kind of issue. The main character has just closed his eyes, yet just two sentences later he sees his friend sit down and the scowl on the face of another friend. His eyes are closed! He can’t see anything! Think about what your characters are doing. See the scene in your mind – your readers will.

Watch Your POV 
Point of view is one of the most disregarded writing structures with today’s writers. Yes, yes, I know – many people hop around. It’s a thing. However, for me (and many, many other editors and the Chicago Manual of Style) it is imperative to give your readers some kind of indication as to when you’re switching POVs. Here is a good example:

Bob sighed and sipped his lemonade, making his own mouth pucker. “God, that’s awful.”
Janice fidgeted with the kitchen towel as she watched the men talk. Their fight earlier worried her.

By using the three asterisks, it shows the reader that something has changed. In this case, the POV. You can also use chapters to change POV. But without the asterisk above, the reader is forced to be in Bob’s head one minute and Janice’s the next without any kind of warning. Also, watch for subtle POV changes. If Bob is our main character and we’re typically in his head throughout the story, but then the text does this: “Bob looked at Mary. She was nervous and thoughts rushed through her head.” Bob can’t know that Mary is nervous – she’d had to be showing some outward signs of it: nail biting, twisting her hair, biting her lip. And he also cannot know that thoughts are rushing through her mind (Again, unless he’s some kind of X-men and he has that kind of power). Be careful of this kind of POV trickery.

Catch Your Crutch Words
Look for words such as that, just, very, -ly words, was, were, and any word that you use too much of. My husband likes the word “ultimately” in his doctorate papers. I use “that” and “just” a LOT. Some people’s characters roll their eyes constantly. I had one author whose characters’ eyebrows “shot up their head” in almost every scene – it made me crazy! And it will your reader, too. Enough for them to pick down your book and pick up another.

If you can catch these “crutch” words in your own writing before you send it off to your editor – it’ll mean less time spent pointing them out to you. If you see you have a favorite word or phrase, simply do a search in Word by clicking “Ctrl” and “F” together. This will bring up a search box that you can put in the words you think you’ve overused. Then simply change them, rearrange and make your writing tighter.

BONUS TIP: Have someone read your work before sending it to the editor
This doesn’t mean have your mother, best friend or significant other read your work. They will think it’s great no matter how badly you’ve written it. Get into a group that will do a “beta read” for you. Sometimes people do this in exchange for other beta reads – which means you’ll read their book and point out their timeline, crutch words and POV issues to them. Or, perhaps, it means you will give them a free copy of your book for their efforts. You can find beta readers in a plethora of online Facebook writing groups or find a local critique group in your hometown.

Once you’ve edited out the POV, timeline and crutch words issues, plus have had at least two other people (ideally, someone you don’t know personally) read your novel, you’re ready to find your editor. I’m guessing that, as a result of your diligent work in these areas, you will spend much less than you would had you not done these things. In the end, your editor, and your wallet, will thank you.

SPECIAL OFFER: Send me the first two pages of your manuscript (no more than 1,000 words) and I’ll point out if you have any of these errors FOR FREE. Use the Contact Sue page to get in touch!


Choosing A Good Editor

Editing Advice, Writing

When a new author contacts me about editing work, I always cringe a bit inside because their first question inevitably is, “How much do you charge?” (Why is everyone’s first thought about money?) Now, I know my worth (especially in the editing realm), but all too often I see that authors will go for the cheapest editor they can find. This is not always the best practice.

I read this blog post from Richard Adin this morning on “The American Editor.” What insightful info! I suggest you read it and take every nuance to heart. What Mr. Adin is saying here is that money is not solely the basis of what you should be considering when picking your editor. And I agree.

Let’s consider this: You go to buy a toaster. (Does anyone still use toasters?) You buy the cheapest one because, well it’s just for making toast. That makes sense. If it dies next week, you only have to go buy another. And, chances are, it’ll not die next week so that’s even better.

BUT. Now think about your novel. Your baby. You’ve spent how long agonizing over it, seeking out the best possible words and giving up early mornings and nights to write (while avoiding the kids and hubby) just so you could have a manuscript that might actually sell. And now you need an editor, but you have no money (because you’ve spent too long working on this novel and not making any). So you go with an editor who promises to edit the entire 100,000 word manuscript for $100. What a bargain! Soon your masterpiece will be out there in the world for everyone to read!

Every. One.

So when that two-bit editor doesn’t do a good job (because who could do that job correctly for $100?), every single person that reads your baby, your life’s work, will see every misspelled word, every gap in timeline and every error that editor left behind. (And don’t think you don’t make errors. We all do. It’s a fact. We are blind to our own mistakes – a novel always needs a second set of professional eyes.)

Do you want a manuscript wrought with errors that people won’t want to read? I don’t think so.

As a legitimate editor, I don’t want that either. So here is what I do for new clients.

  1. I don’t make promises I’m not sure I can’t keep. Until I see your work, I have no idea the quality of your writing. Don’t take that the wrong way – you might be a great story teller, but just a bad speller.
  2. I give my per hour rate ($50), but I also suggest a small free sample edit of your work. This serves two purposes: 1) You can see how I edit and 2) I can see how you write.
  3. I give the big picture. When I’ve completed your sample edit (which I time myself for so I can get a good idea of how long your whole story will take me), I provide you with a total cost.
  4. I give options. I like to work within an author’s budget and I want to still give them the best possible editing I can. So, if I know the work is going to take a lot and they are low on funds, we spread out the editing (and the billing). After all, it took you two years to write this baby – why should it be edited in less than a week?

Here are some things I want you to consider if you’re looking for an editor:

  1. It’s a relationship. Every person I edit for starts a friendship. I invest in their work just as much as they have and I get to know that author over time. This is essential in keeping an author’s voice. How can I, as an editor, not get to know the author a bit and keep their voice?
  2. It’s not a race. You didn’t write this book overnight. You invested your precious time into it. Let the editor have their time, too.

One last thought… my dad is a carpenter. When he makes something, he first cuts out the wood, then puts the framing of whatever together (your first draft), then he sands it down a few times (your second and third – or more – drafts), then he adds the stain (my first round of editing) and then, finally, the polish or the lacquer that makes it shine (my final editing pass). Good, quality things take time and effort in many different ways. Good books do, too.


If you’d like to consult me about editing your book, short story or article, check out my testimonials first here. Then check me out on LinkedIn. Then ask for a free sample edit. I look forward to making your work shine.

Additional Services

Editing Advice, Life and Happiness, Writing

I’ve been experiencing a few slow days here in my editing work so I’ve had time to do some work around the house instead. I’ve washed the windows, cleaned the house (goodness, it needed it) and worked a bit on my non fiction book. (My Young Adult novel is being read by a group of awesome writers right now and I’ve gotten good feedback! I can’t wait to get it out there for all of you to read it!)

I’ve also done a bit of extra work for some clients and found that it was a fun way to pass some of the extra time I had on my hands. So, I’d like to pass along my additional skills to every one of my readers in case you’re in need of something I can offer, too.

  • Editor: As you all know by now, I’m primarily a freelance editor. I work mainly with full-length fiction novels, but I’ve done my fair share of non fiction works, too. I specialize in substantive editing (the big picture stuff), but I have a keen eye for detail, too and I’m pretty OCD when it comes to misspellings and punctuation issues. I’m actually looking for some shorter pieces – articles, blog posts, devotions, etc. So if you have something you’d like an editor to look over – give me a shout out! My rates (I’m told) are very reasonable and I love to help others with their writing.
  • Writer: I don’t like to write for others – ghostwriting they call it – but I do some copy writing. Recently, I worked on an author bio for my long-term client, Shannyn Leah. If you haven’t read any of Shannyn’s books yet, you should. Especially if you like romance novels. Her new story, Winters Rising, comes out soon and includes fantasy with the romance – it’s such a good read! Check out the author bio I did for Shannyn here.           In addition to writing bios, I write book descriptions, too. I’ve written all of Shannyn’s – see the one for Winters Rising here.
  • Amateur Genealogist: I’ve done my own genealogy work for almost ten years now for both myself and my husband’s family. I’ve also helped a few friends with their initial family trees. Although, I think is a pretty straightforward site to use, some folks have a hard time getting started. I’d love to help you start your family tree on Ancestry if you’re interested and see where it might lead! I’ve already identified a Revolutionary War Patriot (several actually) in my family, several in my husband’s family and, probably, at least one in my friend’s family. Not to mention Civil War Veterans! It’s so fun – let me help you discover your family history!
  • Beta Reader: I’ve recently realized the importance of beta readers as I wait patiently for mine to get back to me about my YA. I believe beta reading plays to my own strengths as a substantive editor because I see the big picture of the story first. Does it work together as a whole? Are there lapses in the timeline? Does the story need more … something … to make it shine even brighter? I’d be happy to do beta reading for anyone who needs it and will do so in exchange either for a free copy of your book when it’s complete or for a very minimal fee.

So there you have it – all my many skills! Truly, truly, I’d love to help you in whatever way you think I could. I believe that God has blessed me with the skill set I have in order to connect to others in a more personal way. I love working one on one with authors to refine their novels. I’ve made many good friends as a result and each and every one has been so equally supportive to me when I need it, too. Life is about relationships and I’m loving meeting new people and reading their work every day.

God bless and have a great week!


To see more of my services, click here. To contact me about any of the above services, go to my contact page and send me a note. I respond typically within 24 hours. In addition, follow me on Instagram and Twitter.


The Editing Process

Editing Advice, Writing

Since I’ve started my editing business, I’ve come to understand that there are varying levels of the editing process. I think many authors aren’t sure where to start after they’ve finished their great novel, so I thought I’d share a short explanation about different kinds of editing you will need once you finish your manuscript.

Beta Readers

Some people do not consider beta readers to be part of the editing process, but I think they are an integral part. Why? Because many times, the beta reader will be your actual readers. You can gather beta readers from a variety of sources like writing groups and online writing outlets, but they can simply be your friends, family, church acquaintances, your uncle’s boss’s sister… whomever. I do suggest utilizing readers who have a good grasp of the English (or whatever language you’re writing in) language and who are interested in the type of book you have written. (Folks who like books on the Civil War probably aren’t interested in Young Adult Romance.)

When a beta reader reads your novel, they will catch little discrepancies and even grammar/punctuation issues that you may have missed. In addition, betas typically don’t get paid money, but, instead, get a copy of your book when it’s finished. This gives them a bit of an incentive to do a good job for you. You can also utilize these essential readers after your book release for promotion and reviews (because they’ve read your book and, of course, are now your biggest fans!) You can also offer them additional incentive by including them in your acknowledgements (because who doesn’t want their name in a book?)

Content Editors

After your beta readers have read and given you great feedback, you can make any changes you think are necessary and then move on to the next editing stage: content or substantive editing. (The content edit is my strong suit.) The content editor will read through your entire novel and make note of any timeline or consistency issues. Was your character seated in the last paragraph but is now pacing the room? When did they stand up? Or were they on Tatooine and now they’ve traveled to Hoth? How did they get there? You’d be surprised how often I find mistakes in even thoroughly edited manuscripts! I recently did a content edit for an author who’d have MANY beta readers go through her work and they ALL missed major plot point issues!

Content editors will look at your manuscript as a whole and tell you if it works and what doesn’t. It’s the “big picture” edit.

Copy/Line Editors

After you have all your plot points, timeline and big details ironed out, you’ll go to your copy or line editor. This person will go over your manuscript line by line (hence “line” editor) and make sure that the content is accurate, easy to follow, fit for its purpose, and free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition. Sometimes a line editor will even help with formatting. Grammar and punctuation will also be marked through this process as well as misspelled words and any additional issues with the book as a whole.


Last, but not last are the proofreaders. This is the final process of editing for your manuscript. Although proofreaders are similar to copy editors, they get into the really nitty gritty of your work. No missing period or comma will get by these folks. (This is NOT my strong suit…) By the time a proofreader gets your manuscript it has already been through many edits, has been formatted to what you want it to be and will probably have a table of contents, a cover and an index (if needed). This is truly the final stage. Once the proofer is done with it – it’s ready to publish!!

If you’ve written a manuscript, don’t think you only need to have it edited once. A manuscript goes through many, MANY rounds of editing before it’s ready for publication. I encourage you to submit to this lengthy and sometimes grueling process in order to publish your most polished piece.

After all, you didn’t spend all that time writing it to just put it out there with mistakes, did you??

Now go write! (And be ready to edit!)

If you’d like to talk to me about editing your work of art, go to the “Contact Sue” page and send me a note. I’d love to help!


Editing…not all it’s cracked up to be

Editing Advice, Life and Happiness, Writing

As most of you know, I’m a freelance editor. One of the reasons I love the job is because I’m a perfectionist. My husband says I’m a natural at this job because I like to correct people. (Ha. Ha.) But, as most editors know, the job does come with its downsides, too.

For instance… I can’t read a novel without picking it apart. It’s hard to leave the job behind sometimes and just get into a well-written novel. To be honest, it’s hard for me to decide something is a “well-written” novel. I pick things apart so much that even the slightest little mistake can ruin a book for me. (Please also note that I’m a writer, too, so I know how hard it is to not have mistakes in your work… even with the best of editors.)

I’m reading a cute little historical, cowboy, romance kind of book right now. It’s okay… cowboy and romance are not really my cup of tea, to be honest, but it’s someone I know in a roundabout way, so I’m reading it. The story is decent, but, as with most romances, I can see where it’s going. (I like more intrigue.) I’m almost done with the novel and I’ve only found two glaring errors. Only two. Sadly, those errors are what stick with me…not the story. (Ask me about any book I’ve read, actually, and I’ll probably tell you the editing errors… not the plot.) edityourface


In one section of the historical cowboy book, the main character is on her horse and she has to pull up on the reins. The author has it written: “She reigned in her horse.” No, people. A king reigns. A horse has reins. (This is a common, sad to say, mistake among writers.)

Then last night I came across this sentence (written slightly different here to avoid issues with author): “He seemed to be acting tenderer toward her.” HUH? TENDERER? I was appalled. I couldn’t even believe this author’s editor would have let this pass! It should obviously be “more tender.”

In all fairness, I decided to look up this word on the Googles (as my husband likes to say). To my astonishment – I found it (but what can’t you find on Google?) I found one reference that said it was used most often around 1880-1885, which makes some sense for this historically-set novel. HOWEVER, when I researched it further this definition came up: a person or company that puts forward an estimate of cost. Well… that makes even more sense… but not in this context within this book.

I did also find, in some places, that “tenderer” is a comparative adjective of the word “tender.” Merriam Webster, the dictionary of standard in my opinion, does NOT list tenderer as a word… at all.

All this to say… I’m a thorough editor. And I’m always learning and expanding my knowledge. Although I saw this as “wrong,” I still took the time to look it up to make sure. Hey, I don’t know everything. (Don’t tell my husband.)

But, for the love of all things holy, don’t use tenderer in your novel. Or, if you do, tell me not to read it. And rein in your horses. Let God reign.


Click to read a whole article about this topic!

If you’d like me to be YOUR editor – go to my Contacts Page and send me a note!