For over 25 years, I’ve edited difficult nonfiction works – the kind that require endless fact-checking (“verificationism”) and utmost internal consistency. (Did you write JPG here but JPEG everywhere else? Let’s fix that.)
Specialties: Design; language and linguistics; anything involving explication of technical concepts to laypeople.
The formats I edit range from short articles, to books, to theses, to all the strings internal to a computer software application. (In one latter case, I checked 550 strings three full times.)
I edit nonfiction. Your work doesn’t have to be “technical” to warrant technical editing. I just mean I can handle straight-up nonfiction as well as complex scientific or technological manuscripts.
I call my work severe technical editing because many works prove to be unpublishable after I edit them – i.e., my edits proved the books were unpublishable. One design book that I severely edited was only ever published nearly two decades later (and with none of my edits).
I’ll turn in lexically, typographically, semantically correct documents. That means:
I’ll give you consistent English in the intended dialect (Canadian, American, or the other one [typically mislabelled as British])
All typography will be correct, up to and including umpteen different space characters (and including ridding your document of errant whitespace). Usually, every bit of text will he encoded in a stylesheet.
I’ll give you valid, semantically perfect HTML in any needed variant (including XHTML 1.1 for E‑books).
Just make sure you understand what you’re signing up for. You aren’t paying for some errors to be corrected. The 550-string software example above produced 130 correction files.
If you hire me, you really have to want every mistake in your manuscript corrected. The converse is also true: If you want every mistake fixed, hire me.
Indeed, hire me if you want somebody more competent editing your manuscript than a Millennial female with no real experience reading professionally edited copy. (I’ve just described most copy-editors in the 21st century.)
I assume every stated fact is incorrect. If presented with the phrase “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,” I will:
verify there is a place called Canadian (there isn’t; it’s Canada and the adjective is Canadian)
that Canada has a prime minister
that Prime Minister is rendered in initial caps (only in some contexts; probably not this one)
that Justin Trudeau exists; that his name is rendered that way; and that he was the sitting prime minister at the time the manuscript was written and when it is expected to be published
Note use of “rendered” instead of “spelled” or “written.” Getting spelling right only begins to address the task of rendering text accurately.
Are there nonbreaking spaces or nonbreaking hyphens involved?
Must some terms be bold or italic? (How do we mark up that bold or italic?)
Is case invariant (Ludwig van [not Van] Beethoven)?
Is there reason to ignore or deviate from official or corporate orthography (iPad vs. KISS vs. kd lang vs. Nice’n Easy vs. Nice ‘n Easy vs. Toys Я Us)?
What markup or what character or paragraph style should be used?
What are the exceptions to any or all of the above?
If that sounds like New Yorker–style fact-checking, that’s by design. I am, after all, someone who finds errors in the New Yorker.
If you’re trying to communicate science or technology to a civilian audience, you should let me edit your manuscript.
I’ll make it understandable. I’ll make sure it reads and flows well (a common failing of technical writing). And you’ll probably end up with a noticeably longer manuscript, but one that people will actually read and understand.
If you have a contract with O’Reilly, New Riders, or similar legacy technology publishers, then what you’ll end up with is a tedious technical or computer-programming book of the sort those publishers ship by the ton. All authorial individuality will be ruthlessly stamped out by these half-assed and incompetent publishers.
You can easily Google the names of enough half-assed, semi-competent “technical editors” you can hire to forge your manuscript into the undifferentiable widget required by your contract. Don’t bother trying to hire me.
I cost a lot and I’m worth it. Nobody is as good at what I do.
edit at this domain for inquiries.
I operate with simple, plain-English contracts. I offer nonexclusive perpetual use rights; I don’t sign work-for-hire contracts or anything that confers ownership of my edits to someone else forever.
I’ll make it better. Get in touch.
I’m an actual sociolinguist with 30 years in typography. I’ve got about 400 published articles to my name and have published two nonfiction books (one with New Riders, mentioned above). I’ve been online for 27 years, I’ve volunteered on technical standards bodies, and have written guides for other journalists on producing clean copy.
Most important of all, I am of the last generation that spent a lifetime learning things the hard way, developing broad general knowledge, and reading, reading, reading.
Did you spot the subtle copy error on this page?