Has it been a while since you’ve been in an English class? Concerned you might be dangling your modifiers? Will your readers be confused by awkward grammar or inconsistent citation styles? Don’t allow grammar gotchas undermine your credibility. Let me smooth out your writing so your readers can focus on your message.

Self-Publishing Process Overview

Let’s briefly review the self-publishing process (I’m also happy to work with authors who wish to use traditional publishers). Many writers say proofreading to mean any kind of editing, but familiarizing yourself with different levels of editing and where they fit in the publishing process will make it easier to communicate.

  1. The first step is writing an amazing manuscript. Piece of cake, right?
  2. Next is developmental editing, also called content editing, substantive editing, or manuscript critique. This high-level review applies to the manuscript as a whole and helps you keep your book on track. I don’t offer this service, but it’s really important. Don’t skip this step.
  3. Copyediting comes next. I take a detailed look at your manuscript, suggesting edits that may apply to sentences, words, even individual letters. See the “Copyediting” section below for details.
  4. If you’re creating a printed book, designing the interior and cover mustn’t be skipped. Again, I don’t do this work, but it’s also important, and you’d be wise to hire a professional.
  5. Proofreading will catch missed or newly introduced errors in language and layout. I explain what I do during this step in the “Proofreading” section below.
  6. If you’re creating an e-book, preparing and formatting it for digital publishing will improve the reader experience.

Your book is now ready to wow readers!


Here are issues I address in my copyediting (click potential issues for examples):

Are verb tenses correct?

Are assure and ensure used appropriately?

Is it data is or data are, hone in or home in?

Are the same terms spelled exactly the same every time?

Is it eBay, Ebay, or EBay?

Is your book well-written or well written?

Are semicolons used correctly?

Is it eighty-eight or 88, March 3 or March 3rd?

Is that report from the C.D.C. or the CDC?

Are they styled appropriately and consistently?

Are all formatted according to your preferred style?

Can readers follow your train of thought?

Does each paragraph transition smoothly to the next?

Is totem pole okay to use?

Are all illustrations, charts, and tables titled, numbered, and formatted appropriately and consistently?

Do the entries accurately duplicate the headings in your book?

Do they all accurately describe their illustrations?

Because I use Microsoft Word’s Tracked Changes feature, you will easily spot my edits. You can then review and selectively incorporate my suggested edits. Unless you tell me otherwise, I apply your preferences, the Chicago Manual of Style (commonly used in book publishing), and my own editorial judgment to make decisions. My aim is to balance being neither too strict nor too permissive, to maintain the flexibility that best serves your work.


Even a carefully copyedited manuscript will retain some errors, and more may be introduced in the design phase. I will pore over your manuscript (now a PDF file) to catch errors such as these:

I will mark your manuscript with proofreader symbols and comments in the margins. Note that proofreading is not a substitute for copyediting.

How Much Will This Cost?

Because your manuscript is unique, you will receive a customized quote for each service. My copyediting or proofreading quote is based on a sample edit you can review.

Providing high-quality work is important to me. I have spent many years honing my skills and furthering my professional education, and according to my clients, I’m very good at what I do. I charge accordingly while providing excellent value. So if you’re on a tight budget, we may not be a good fit.

If you are on a tight budget, allow me to give you a piece of advice. You’ve spent a great deal of time and effort creating your manuscript. Don’t scrimp on professional services, limiting your success as an author. Most books aren’t tied to today’s headlines, so if you need to, wait to save up enough money for at least a high-quality copyedit, a professionally designed cover and interior, and a good book publicist. Treat your book like the investment it is.

Okay, are you ready to get started? Contact me to begin our collaboration.

John was recommended to me by a friend whose opinion I trust implicitly, and boy was she right. He was a pleasure to work with—courteous, professional, and fast. The subject matter of my book was quite particular, and I was astounded at the level of detail in John's work. He not only edited and formatted the manuscript beautifully, but did an amazing job at fact checking and catching each and every error. I could not recommend him more highly.

—Eugene Ruffalo, author

I highly recommend John Vias for copyediting services. His professionalism and commitment to accuracy helped to create a book that is not only error-free, but meets the highest standards for publication. As an author, I was particularly pleased with his consideration in retaining my voice throughout the text as changes were made. His skill led to a text with not only technical accuracy, but raised the comprehension level and aesthetic enjoyment as well. He was a pleasure to work with and I look forward to partnering with him again for future publications.

—Patricia Dischler, author

He has excellent attention to detail, is thorough, and sets high standards for the quality of his work. I appreciate that he always meets his deadlines and is exceedingly reliable. He is also a pleasure to work with and has great communication skills.

—Sally Mudd, repeat client