Editorial Guidelines and Policies

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What are your qualifications?

I'm an experienced book editor, with a degree in English and experience teaching grammar and composition at the college level. I've worked as a professional proofreader and have supervised the work of proofreaders and copyeditors in academic / professional / postdoctoral / scientific / technical publishing work, with years of experience at CRC Press and the scientific / technical unit of HBJ.

What kinds of material do you edit?

Academic papers, dissertations, theses, capstone projects, essays, books of all kinds (including novels), postdoctoral / professional monographs, web sites of all kinds, and articles.

How should I submit my material?

Electronic formats only. Manuscripts should be supplied as attachments to e-mail, and while Microsoft Word files (.DOC or .DOCX) are preferred, Google Docs files are also acceptable, as well as .PDF, .ODF, HTML, and .TXT files. Edited pages will be returned in the same format, or any of these formats you prefer.

Minimum manuscript length is usually 100 pages, but some exceptions can be made.

Number of manuscript pages will be determined by counting the total words in the manuscript and dividing by 250. For works that are not yet complete, or are still being revised, an estimated total number of pages can be determined by copying the work into industry-standard manuscript editing format: 12-pt. Times Roman, double-spaced, 1-inch margins on all sides.

How can I be sure I'll get a high-quality product?

I'll gladly provide a free sample of my work, on request — just send me a representative chapter, and I'll return up to three edited pages to you within a few days. You can also read testimonials from satisfied clients below.

Will the edited work conform to APA / Chicago style?

Absolutely, if requested. I'm familiar with APA and Chicago styles, and ensuring that your manuscript conforms to one of these styles is included in the copyediting rate.

What are your rates and payment options?

Unless the difficulty of the material justifies a higher rate, $2/page for proofreading, $4/page for copyediting. Minimum manuscript length is usually 100 pages, but some exceptions can be made.

Number of manuscript pages will be determined by counting the total words in the manuscript and dividing by 250. For works that are not yet complete, or are still being revised, an estimated total number of pages can be determined by copying the work into industry-standard manuscript editing format: 12-pt. Times Roman, double-spaced, 1-inch margins on all sides.

Payment may be made via PayPal (preferred), or by personal or business check. Credit cards are not accepted at this time. Checks should be made out to John Herring, and mailed to 6400 Kimberly Blvd., North Lauderdale FL 33068. Payment options include: (1) full payment due on delivery of the completed work, (2) deposit in advance of half the estimated total, with the balance due on delivery of the completed work, or (3) payment in installments, with the amount of work to be done in each installment (one chapter, two chapters, etc.) to be agreed in advance.

Can you supply references?

Absolutely! References are available from satisfied clients — published authors — including academic / scientific PhDs, novelists, and biographers. Just ask. Here are a few samples:

“ . . . my professor loved your writing.”

         — MS, Miami, graduate student, capstone project
“ . . . I was fortunate enough to have John Herring assigned as my editor . . . . Working with John convinced me, on numerous occasions, that I had made the best choice [of publisher]. His suggestions on style, organization, and usage were always on point, yet were presented in a friendly, cooperative manner . . . . I cannot overestimate the positive [effect] John had on my book, and I heartily recommend him to anyone in need of an editor.”

         — DB, Washington DC, professor, postdoctoral monograph
“I needed someone to edit my dissertation, and John Herring was the right person for the job. His work was professional, and he delivered a very high-quality product on schedule. I highly recommend him if you want a good final product, especially if, like me, English is not your native language. Hiring an editor like John is a very worthwhile investment, if you care about the quality of the finished work.”

         — ES, Cambridge University doctoral student, dissertation
“I don't know anyone better at policing the nuances of prose than John Herring. As a grammarian, his work is scrupulous, and I find his stylistic and structural suggestions spot-on.”

         — GS, Chapel Hill, novelist
“It's not easy to find a good editor. It's even harder to find an editor who is easy to work with and who shares your interest in, and enthusiasm for, the written work you're creating. John Herring helped me with my new novel . . . . which is now available on Kindle and in print . . . . John is a likable, easygoing, knowledgeable editor with professional skills that meet the highest standard. I plan to recommend John to others.”

         — RD, Virginia, author of 60 published books
“John was a distinct joy to work with. He was always on time with his scheduled editing of my book. He was first class and professional in every way. I would use his services again with great pleasure.”

         — DG, Boca Raton, biographer
“I was fortunate to find John. His editing techniques are great; he also provided suggestions and gave alternate paragraphs to choose from. He was very quick to respond, and always worked around my schedule. I am looking forward to working with him again.”

         — BN, California, memoirist
Can I see your resume? How do I contact you?

You can reach me via e-mail (preferred) to jhherring@yahoo.com, or call me during normal business hours (Eastern time) at 954-971-5785.

I look forward to hearing from you!

What's the difference between proofreading and copyediting? Where does one stop and the other begin?

Generally speaking . . . .

I can restrict my work to proofreading alone — punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and basic grammar and consistency issues only — if that's what you want. Anything else that's clearly wrong would probably cause me to bring it to your attention, but not necessarily make me correct it.

Copyediting — things like word choice (diction), grammar, overall tone, fixing sentence structure errors, and polishing the text to make it conform to commonly accepted usage — takes more time and thought, and consequently costs more.

As an example of copyediting, I rewrote the following original text for a recent client:

Genetic engineering is a technology where writers can show how all of these issues converge. The way genetic engineering is depicted generally reflects a projected future science based on when the story was written — as well as the surrounding controversies.

to read:

Genetic engineering is a broad enough technology that writers can use it to demonstrate how these issues converge. Science fiction authors have used it as a vehicle to depict their projections of future science, as well as the controversies attendant on the subject.

Copyediting would also involve, as another example, a query to the author regarding the following excerpt, presented as a quote spoken by a character (the query would be set off from the rest of the text):

"This body you see before you, which is, of course, shaped as yours is shaped, for you are the end result."

>>> This may be a direct quote, but it's not clear as it stands.
>>> Perhaps the original intent was:

>>> "This body you see before you is, of course, shaped as yours
>>> is shaped, for you are the end result."



If you want, I can even go as far as developmental editing — which undertakes to assess the arguments and improve the work as a whole, but this is really another kind of work, and I prefer to leave such decisions up to the author, unless we've agreed to do this in advance. This kind of editing is more involved, takes longer, and costs more.

As an example of developmental editing, I questioned whether eugenics should appear in a list of "real-life sciences" — eugenics isn't a science, but a (rather dubious) philosophy.

I also suggested that including Stephen Jay Gould in a list along with the pseudo-scientists Herrnstein and Murray (Gould was an outspoken opponent of theirs), without distinguishing his position from theirs, looked suspicious. It may have been an accident; the text may have simply failed to point out that Gould was on one side of the debate, and Herrnstein and Murray were on the other, but such distinctions should be made clear.

I hope this discussion clears things up, at least a little. It's not always possible to define clearly where proofreading ends and copyediting begins, but if you send me a sample chapter, I'll be happy to provide a free sample (a few pages) of my work. I can even do it twice — once for proofreading only, and once for copyediting — and you can decide.