Copyediting

I’m a prolific professional fiction writer, and believe me, I’d rather be writing my own stuff than copyediting for anyone else. Yup, even you.

And I’m not the kind of “prolific” writer who turns out two novels a year. I wrote and published 13 novels in the first 7 months of 2021. Just since October 2014, I’ve written over 60 novels, 8 novellas, and over 200 short stories. I’ve also written hundreds of poems and almost two dozen nonfiction books on writing. My work has been nominated for the National Book Award and several other major awards.

All of that said, I am also a very good copyeditor. I don’t use a “style” manual. I base my edit of your story on YOUR style as I see it in your work. I will not change your style or your voice. I will do my best to make your work read smoothly. For more on that, please see “What I Do” below.

Acceptance (or Not): I don’t work with every writer who offers me a manuscript. To determine whether I will work with you,

* Send me your complete manuscript via email as an attachment in MS Word (.docx, .doc, or .rtf) to harveystanbrough@gmail.com. Note: Do Not send a paper manuscript to my PO Box. I will trash it unread.

* I will read part of your manuscript to assess it. Then one of two things will happen:

* I’ll either explain to you why I do not want to edit your manuscript, or

* I’ll tell you how much per word I will charge you. I will also give you a total price based on that per-word fee.

* Then you will decide whether you want to hire me. It’s just that simple.

If you don’t hire me, that’s fine. I’ll go back to my own writing. If you do hire me, that’s fine too. I’ll turn your story or novel around as quickly as I can (usually less than a day for a short story and less than 2 weeks for a novel) and then I’ll go back to my own writing.

Fees: If I accept your work for editing and if you choose to hire me, the fee will range between my lowest fee of .015 (one and one-half cents) per word and my highest of .05 (five cents per word).

Note: There is no difference between the quality of the copyedit I do for .02 per word and the one I do for .05 per word. The difference is in the quality of the manuscript. The more work I have to do to make the manuscript presentable, the more I have to charge.

  • For example, for a 5,000 word short story, my fee is between $75 and $250. For a 60,000 word novel, my fee will fall between $900 and $3,000.
  • The more well-written your work, the lower your rate.
  • If I feel you don’t need the services of any copyeditor (including me) — hey, it happens — I’ll tell you that and I’ll tell you why. The more confident and trusting you are in your own abilities as a writer, the greater the chance you don’t need a copyeditor. Seriously, that really is how it works.

So Why Do I Do This At All? I only offer copyediting because I enjoy teaching. Hence, you get prime rib for the price of ground round. If you hire me, you get the benefit of a copyedit and instruction (why I made a particular correction) from a prolific professional fiction writer who opts to use his own mind vs. blindly following some “style” manual. And yes, afterward I’ll respond to any questions you may have.

What I Do: A copyedit consists of detailed reading for anything that might interrupt the reading of your work. This includes but is not limited to checking and correcting the following:

  • punctuation, spelling and wrong-word usage
  • grammar and syntax but remaining true to the diction of the narrator or character (your stule), including obviously accidental shifts in verb tense
  • redundancies (usually these are in narrative, and I make recommendations only)
  • consistency in punctuation, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization
  • consistency in character names, clothing, scene details, etc.
  • anything else that might confuse or otherwise interrupt the reader
  • pacing and flow (primarily I’ll recommend reparagraphing to improve pacing and I’ll provide examples from your work)

How I Do It: I use a Microsoft Word feature called Track Changes.

  • Any deletions will be in red strikethrough. Any insertions will be in blue underline.
  • If I feel the need to explain an edit or make a recommendation, I will do so through the use of an imbedded comment in a yellow box out to the side.
  • If I feel a need to ask a question (very seldom) I will communicate with you via email.
  • I’m famous among my clients for retaining author voice. I do not do rewrites. I would never allow anyone to rewrite or revise my work, and I have the same respect for you as a writer.
  • When I finish the edit, I will return to you (at least) one copy showing all the edits and comments and one copy with all the edits applied and the comments removed. That will be your “clean” copy.

Payment

Payment is required in advance. You may pay via PayPal or by personal check.

You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay via credit card through PayPal.

If you’d rather pay by check, please make your check payable to Harvey Stanbrough and mail it to PO Box 604, St. David AZ 85630. I’ll start the copyedit after the check clears.

If you’d like me to copyedit for you but you need to schedule payments, Email Me and I’ll try to work with you.

Please Read These Notes

  1. I accept only short or long fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction or fiction collections for editing. No poetry, please. Speaking as a Pulitzer-prize-nominated poet, your poetry is probably fine as-is. Spell check it and publish it.
  2. Complete works only. No matter what they say, nobody can copy edit a work piecemeal and ensure a quality copyedit.
  3. Five thousand words minimum. (I’ll copy edit shorter works, but for those the minimum fee is two and one-half cents per word [the multiplier is .025], paid in advance.)
  4. Want your work eformatted too? Let me know that up front. If I copyedit your work, the additional fee for eformatting for Amazon and Draft2Digital (they automatically create an interactive table of contents) is only $25. Note: I no longer eformat for submission to Smashwords or any other aggregator or publisher other than Draft2Digital and Amazon.
  5. If I edit for you and you choose to reject more than 10% of my edits, you are not authorized to use my name in your book or elsewhere as your official copyeditor.
  6. I reserve the right to reject any job or any manuscript at any time for any reason. (If this happens after I’ve been paid and started an edit, I will issue a pro-rated refund for any words I haven’t edited yet.)
  7. Because I’ve been burned in the past, please be sure you actually want my services. No refunds once a copyedit is completed.

So there you go. That’s my spiel. To get started, send your complete manuscript via email as an attachment in MS Word (.docx, .doc, or .rtf) to harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

Oh, and if you find a typo (of all places) on this page about copyediting, be a good guy and email me to let me know, would’ya? Thanks.