Steps in the writing process

stairsYou may think you need a proofreader when you really need a copyeditor or developmental editor. Developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading are all distinct steps in the writing process.

In the early stage of your writing, a developmental editor will help you organize your book (or article or paper), suggest additions and deletions of material, and perhaps rewrite some sections. While I have done some developmental editing of EFL textbooks, I prefer to work with authors in the later stages of editing.

I can help you with copyediting—including substantial editing or line editing—and proofreading. I have copyedited nonfiction website articles, trade books, EFL textbooks, and scholarly books, including translations from Arabic. I have a basic knowledge of Arabic and am familiar with several methods of transliteration (romanization).


Once your manuscript is more or less in shape, the copyeditor (that’s me) is the next person to help you. As your copyeditor, I work in Word documents and will be responsible for mechanical editing to apply the required style (for example, which numbers are spelled out, which words are italicized or placed in quotation marks, which abbreviations are allowed). I will also correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and correct or query inconsistencies. If your work has notes or references (bibliography), I will check that no notes are missing and format them and the bibliography according to the style guide you are using. If your writing needs heavier editing (substantive editing or line editing), I can help with rephrasing your ideas, polishing your language, and trimming wordiness.

While I am doing this, I will make every effort to maintain your voice and writing style. I will track changes so that you can review my work and accept or reject my edits.

The materials I edit most often follow The Chicago Manual of Style, but I can apply the rules of any other style guides that you need, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Modern Language Association (MLA).

After you have accepted or rejected my edits and answered my queries, I will check the manuscript again to ensure that no new errors were introduced and that all the queries were addressed. This step of copyediting, called “clean-up,” is usually agreed upon at the beginning. When the clean-up is completed, the manuscript should be ready to go to typesetting or layout.


Many people ask for proofreading when they really need copyediting. True proofreading is done after the material has been typeset or laid out.

At this stage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation have been corrected. As your proofreader, I will read every word to ensure that no errors remain and that no typos have occurred. I will also check for errors in text placement, spacing, and alignment; fonts; styles of headings; headers and footers; pagination; the table of contents; placement of figures and captions, etc.

I can proofread your book in PDF form or, if you are a local client, on printed pages.

For some publishers I perform a quality assurance edit, which they may call proofreading. In this step I read the manuscript in Word after it has been copyedited and the author has answered queries, before it goes to the typesetters or designers.

If you have more questions, read about me or see the FAQ, or contact me.