Frequently Asked Questions
Can I discuss my document with you before you edit it?
Yes, absolutely! It's very helpful to speak with you about your document and expectations before I begin work.
What file formats can you work with?
It's easiest if you send me your text in Microsoft Word. Then I can use the Track Changes feature to document all my edits so you can review them when I'm done. If that's not possible, I can make edits by hand on a hard copy, or I'll be happy to discuss other file formats with you to see if we can make it work.
How do I send you my document?
You can email your document as a Microsoft Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need to use a different file format or prefer a hard copy edit, please contact me and we'll figure out the best option.
Am I obligated to hire you if you give me a free estimate and sample edit of my text?
No. Once you receive your free estimate and sample edit, you can decide whether you'd like to hire me to edit the rest of your document. There is no obligation.
How do you calculate your estimates?
My estimates are customized for each document and are based on several factors, including the length of the document, whether the content is technical, the degree of editing you desire, the quality of the draft you submit to me, and the proximity of your deadline.
What are your rates?
My rates are customized for your individual document. If you send me your document, I'll provide a free estimate. I offer a 25% discount for students.
Will you keep my document confidential?
Yes, I will keep any writing you send me confidential and will not share your text or ideas with anyone.
How will you make the edits? Will I see your changes?
If you send me your document in Microsoft Word, I'll make all my edits using the Track Changes feature, so you'll see each change I made and will be able to accept or reject individual edits (or you may accept all the edits at once if you prefer). If you give me only a hard copy, I'll mark up my edits by hand using standard copyediting symbols, and it will be up to you to type in my changes.
Which style guides or reference materials will you use to make your edits?
In general, I use The Chicago Manual of Style as a comprehensive guide. For spelling and usage questions, I refer to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you are required to follow a different style guide or particular citation format, please notify me when you submit your document for editing, and I will adhere to it.
How do I pay you?
I will send you an invoice through PayPal, which you can pay either with a credit card or your PayPal account.
I'm an English language learner. Can you help me with my writing?
Yes! If English is not your first language, I can definitely help you improve your writing. I'll edit your document with a special focus on challenging areas for English language learners, such as articles, prepositions, subject-verb agreement, and tenses. I can also answer any questions you have about my edits.
My document is very technical, involving [mathematics/engineering/chemistry/computer science/medicine]. How can you help?
When writing about technical topics, clarity, phrasing, and consistency are especially important. I can improve these aspects of your text and correct any grammatical errors, even without fully understanding the content. I have experience editing technical materials because my husband is a computer science professor at Virginia Tech, and I've helped him with his writing throughout his career. I also have extensive experience editing complex legal documents and legal education materials.
Is using an editor "cheating"?
In most circumstances, no. Every word you read in books, magazines, and newspapers has been carefully reviewed numerous times by editors. It's an essential part of the publishing process, and there's nothing dishonest about it. If you'd like to have your text edited, assess the purpose of your document: Is it simply a means of communication (like a newsletter, website, or advertisement), or is it intended to be a test of your writing skills (like an assignment for class)? If your document is simply a means of communication, there's nothing wrong with hiring an editor. If your document's purpose could be to test your writing skills, it's your responsibility to determine whether you may hire an editor to improve your writing. If you're a student, this may mean reviewing your institution's academic integrity code and checking with your professor.
What if I'm not satisfied with your work?
If you're not satisfied with my work, please notify me within five business days of your receipt of the edited document. If you explain the nature of your dissatisfaction, I will provide a free second edit of your document as soon as reasonably possible.