What does your writing need?

Writers need editors to make their work shine. Sometimes we just need a practiced eye to pick apart our grammar and syntax, but sometimes we need to have the deeper structure of our work analyzed and optimized. Let’s find out what sort of intervention your work needs…

Substantive Editing

This is editing that goes to the heart of a text, assessing its content and organization. For nonfiction and academic writing, that means intervening at the level of argument and structure; for fiction, it means grappling with elements of the story – pacing, plot structure, character development. Substantive editing addresses the way your text works as a piece of writing, suggesting avenues for revision. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, a substantive edit can help get your text ready for the editor or agent (or thesis committee!) you are hoping won’t turn you away. The process is also a great learning experience for writers, and you will carry the lessons into your future work.

Before performing a substantive edit, I will ask to see a few pages of your work to get a sense of the level of attention it needs, and then I will quote you a price accordingly. We can also discuss ways to scale back the edit to fit your budget.

A substantive edit will gloss over errors in spelling, grammar, and syntax, so your manuscript will still need final copyediting – logically, that kind of fine-tuning should come after you have revised your text according to an editor’s suggestions.


Proofreading is a quality-control phase that comes at the very end of the writing process, before an edited text goes for publication. I am not a professional proofreader, but I would consider small proofreading jobs, especially those that involve text with graphics (I have an excellent eye for spatial relationships on the page).


This is a line-by-line fine-tuning of a finalized text that corrects technical errors, catches internal inconsistencies, and polishes style. I can work according to any style book you stipulate, consistent with either American or British English. For academic texts, we can set up a style sheet tailored to your work.

If you are planning to submit a text for traditional publishing, the publisher generally will provide final copyediting, but if you are planning to self-publish, you definitely need to hire your own copyeditor. I guarantee you, there is not a single successfully-published writer whose work wasn’t first scrutinized by a dutiful editor.

Students submitting a thesis or dissertation can also benefit from having their work copyedited. I charge on a sliding scale for students who can prove their current enrollment in a degree program.

English not your native language?

I have lots of experience working with non-native English writers, and as someone who regularly needs to communicate in foreign languages, I understand how frustrating it is when you cannot express the full nuance of your meaning. It would be my pleasure to help you hit your mark. 

If English is not your native language, I will ask you to send me a few pages of your writing so that I can make a preliminary assessment (at no charge) to place you in one of the following categories:

  1. your written English is at or near native-speaker level, and your writing will need a relatively light touch;
  2. your written English has many grammatical errors typical of a non-native speaker and will require some extra time to correct;
  3. your written English is very poor and it will be time-intensive to re-write much of your text;
  4. your written English is nearly incomprehensible and I would not be able to take on the task of editing your writing – you should seek intensive English grammar tutoring.

This assessment will allow me to quote you a realistic price for the services you choose, whether substantive editing or copyediting.


Perhaps you are not ready to write your own text in English, but you nevertheless need to communicate something to English speakers. I might be able to help you with this, too! I have extensive experience translating from Russian, and I can also handle translations from German and French. I’m ready to discuss your project and work out a deal.

If you are looking for translation INTO these languages, I suggest you find a native speaker to do that – even the most fluent speaker of a foreign language can miss the nuances that a native speaker would feel intuitively. However, in a pinch, I can be persuaded to undertake short translations from English to Russian or German (I have access to native speakers who can check them for me).

What kind of editing do you think you need?
If you have something a bit different in mind, or you aren’t entirely sure what you might need, I’m happy to work out a special arrangement with you.


 Let me know.