Editing Breakdown

So I’ll edit your text. What’s in it for you?

Hand drawing_sigAfter you re-read your text for the 100th time, it may be difficult to spot a misspelled word or summon the enthusiasm necessary to replace a redundant word with one that is more precise and expressive. Similarly, it may be challenging to discern whether your potential reader will understand what you have written, given you are intimately familiar with what you mean to say.

But, why do you want an editor on your team?

An editor is a fresh set of eyes, a mind brimming with vocabulary, and the capacity to make you sound positively eloquent. An editor can make the difference between average and stellar text.

Even better, I’m on your team. You are probably supposed to inform, impress, and even convince a host of people (supervisor, boss, reviewers, funders, colleagues, general public, policy makers, volunteers, and even Mom).

It is an editor’s job to help you do that.

We’re talking better writing, faster.

Sure, you can put aside your text for a while, and come back to it with fresh eyes. But, you still have the same familiarity with the topic and the same vocabulary.

Working with me means your writing benefits from my personal and professional interest in science and sustainability. You won’t have to explain lots of jargon and concepts to me. At the same time, I am a step removed from your work, so I can spot when your descriptions and explanations aren’t clear.

I also have over a decade of experience doing journalism, education, and outreach. This means we can tailor your text to your specific audience(s).

And, while I’m working on your text, you can focus on something else. Win-win: we’re improving your text and productivity at the same time.

Even better, I actually enjoy collaborating with you to ensure that your text says what you mean to say.

I approach editing like number crunchers do Sudoku puzzles – editing is a fun challenge, and we win the ‘game’ when your text says exactly what you mean to say. Working with an editor like me, who sincerely likes editing, means you’ll most likely enjoy the editing process better yourself.

There are lots of kinds of editing.

Scroll down, have a look at what I offer, and then let me know what kind of editing you need.

**Note that your project may involve more than one type of editing. For example, a pre-submission manuscript might involve Substantive editing (1) and Stylistic editing (2), while a website that is being updated may involve Stylistic (2) and Copy editing (3).

Types of editing I offer:

(source of definitions)

1. Substantive/Structural Editing: Along with Stylistic editing, Substantive editing is my specialty. It is the type of editing recommended for pre-submission manuscripts, as well as any text which requires (or is lacking) an explicit logical flow.

  • Included: Clarifying or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure; suggesting text revisions, including possible drafting of such suggested revisions.
  • Does not include the following unless specifically requested by client: research, writing original material, negotiating changes with author
  • Examples of projects which may benefit from Substantive/Structural editing: academic manuscripts, reports, cover letters, grant proposals, marketing copy, etc.

 2. Stylistic Editing: This is both my specialty and my favorite kind of editing. With this type of editing, we are focusing on self-expression, eloquence, and other complex communication objectives such as convincing your reader. This is also the type of editing you need if your manuscript requires shortening.

  • Included: Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, polishing language, and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing. Also includes suggesting text revisions, including possible drafting of such suggested revisions.
  • Does not include the following unless specifically requested by client: checking or correcting reading level, creating or recasting tables or figures, research, writing original material, negotiating changes with author
  • Examples of projects which may benefit from Stylistic editing: academic manuscripts, reports, cover letters, grant proposals, public communication text (including website copy, presentations, speeches, marketing materials, etc.).

3. Copy Editing: This type of editing is for text that is almost finished – text that just requires some polishing. “Copy editing” is often loosely used to include stylistic and even structural editing, fact checking, and mark-up. That is not how it is handled in my service agreements. These other tasks must be specifically requested by the client.

  • Included: grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and for internal consistency of facts; inserting head levels and approximate placement of art; editing tables, figures, and lists; notifying Designer of any unusual production requirements.
  • Does not include the following unless specifically requested by client: Revising to a specific type of English (ex: British, American, Canadian, etc.), revising to a specific numeric system (ex: metric, imperial, etc.), providing or editing artwork, providing or revising citation system, editing index, writing or editing captions or credit lines, writing running heads (headlines), obtaining or listing permissions needed, providing front matter (prelims), cover copy or CIP data, editing preface or forward, negotiating changes with author, seeking approvals from clients’ representatives
  • Examples of projects which may benefit from Substantive/Structural editing: text which will be in print, such as academic manuscripts, reports, cover letters, grant proposals,website copy, marketing materials, etc.).

 4. Developmental/Project Editing: Occasionally a client hires me to coordinate and edit a project from proposal or rough text to final product. I have over a decade of experience with communications-oriented project management and execution, and am interested in projects focused on science and sustainability.

  • Included: Coordination with one contact person at the client’s company/institution; coordination with contributing authors, photographers, artists, etc.; incorporating input from authors, consultants, or reviewers.
  • Does not include the following unless specifically requested by client: budgeting, hiring, design supervision, production coordination 
  • Examples of projects which may benefit from Developmental/Project editing: special edition magazine or newspaper, books and booklets, calendars, websites, etc.

5. Rewriting & Copy writing: Sometimes, you just want someone to do some (or all) of the writing for you. Thanks to my background in communications, outreach, and journalism, I can produce dynamite rough or final drafts for you.

  • Included: Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by the client.
  • Does not include the following unless specifically requested by client: research, writing original material (unless it is a copywriting project)

Proofreading is not a service I currently offer.

Proofreading involves checking proofs of formatted, edited material for adherence to design and for minor, mechanical errors in copy (such as spelling mistakes or small deviations from style sheet). This is not the type of editing I enjoy, and as I work for a wide range of clients, it is not efficient for me or my clients to expect that I memorize the numerous and widely varied styles of publications, institutions, and businesses.


Sometimes getting the words on the page is the easy part.  Take your project to the next level with customized images, facilitated brainstorming, content writing, public speaking coaching, design, or workshops.  It is all about giving your vision a voice.  Explore the possibilities or contact me today.


“Thank you so much for the correction. You did a great job for me and improved quality of my paper text. Your corrections were quite clear and INFORMATIVE to me. I applied them and also added you name in the “Acknowledgement” section (as B. G. Merkle).”  Geomatics researcher; Iran, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada