Professional Editing Services

In a marketplace where your manuscript faces heavy competition, it needs a second eye to ensure success. To help you achieve your goals, I provide a variety of editing services, including proofreading, copy editing, substantive editing, and developmental editing. My professional services are among the most writer-friendly you’ll find – and I’ll polish your manuscript until it shines bright!

Types of service

ProofreadingSimple editing of a piece for spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar
Copy editing Editing of mature manuscripts close to being published
Substantive edit Editing of an early draft of your manuscript
Developmental editing Guidance through the writing process

Fees (per piece):

(All prices are in U.S. dollars)

Developmental editing

Blog post, resume (1 page)
• Proofreading – $10

Short story, academic paper (1-5 pages)
• Proofreading – $25
• Copy editing – $35
• Substantive edit – $40

(6-10 pages)
• Proofreading – $40
• Copy editing – $50
• Substantive edit – $75

(10+ pages up to 10,000 words)
• Proofreading – $75
• Copy editing – $100
• Substantive edit – $125

(10,001-20,000 words)
• Proofreading – $100
• Copy editing – $125
• Substantive edit – $150

(20,001-30,000 words)
• Proofreading – $150
• Copy editing – $175
• Substantive edit – $225

(30,001-40,000 words)
• Proofreading – $225
• Copy editing – $275
• Substantive edit – $325

(40,001-50,000 words)
• Proofreading – $275
• Copy editing – $325
• Substantive edit – $375

(50,001-60,000 words)
• Proofreading – $425
• Copy editing – $475
• Substantive edit – $525

(60,001-70,000 words)
• Proofreading – $475
• Copy editing – $525
• Substantive edit – $575

(70,001-80,000 words)
• Proofreading – $525
• Copy editing – $575
• Substantive edit – $625

(80,001-90,000 words)
• Proofreading – $625
• Copy editing – $675
• Substantive edit – $725

(90,001-100,000 words)
• Proofreading – $725
• Copy editing – $775
• Substantive edit – $825

(100,001-110,000 words)
• Proofreading – $825
• Copy editing – $875
• Substantive edit – $925

(110,001-120,000 words)
• Proofreading – $925
• Copy editing – $975
• Substantive edit – $1050

(120,001-130,000 words)
• Proofreading – $1025
• Copy editing – $1075
• Substantive edit – $1125

(130,001-140,000 words)
• Proofreading – $1125
• Copy editing – $1175
• Substantive edit – $1225

(140,001-150,000 words)
• Proofreading – $1225
• Copy editing – $1275
• Substantive edit – $1325

(150,001-160,000 words)
• Proofreading – $1325
• Copy editing – $1375
• Substantive edit – $1425

(160,001-170,000 words)
• Proofreading – $1425
• Copy editing – $1475
• Substantive edit – $1525

(170,001-plus words)
For every 10,000 words, add $100 to the rate for 160,001-170,000 words)

What is my turnaround time?

Expect about a week on a short story, four weeks on a novella, and nine to ten weeks on a 90,000-word novel. I typically return pieces much sooner than these time periods but like to give conservative time frames in case other issues arise (illness, funerals, computer motherboard fries out, etc.).

How to contract my services?

You may send a story via email or snail mail. In either case, include a cover letter specifying which level of service you desire and the word count of the piece to be proofread or edited. Multiple pieces may be sent, but note that the fee schedule listed above is per piece. So, if you send two nine-page short stories for proofreading, the total cost is $150, or $75 per piece. In addition, if you resend a piece for another edit after I’ve edited it, the costs above are applied again.

Payment must be made in advance of any services. Payment can be made via PayPal, Zelle, Google Pay, money order, personal check, or money transfers such as Walmart’s MoneyGram. Make the money order, personal check or money transfer payable to Rob Bignell. Please note that I do not offer refunds for services. I am an honest individual and will give your manuscript a thorough edit; if I believe your manuscript still needs work after my edit, I will tell you to write another draft.

You can reach me via email. Attachments are accepted only if they are MS Word documents.

If sending the manuscript via snail mail, please include a SASE with sufficient postage for the return of your manuscript. Contact me for my address.

In what format should I send my manuscript?

Use the same format as if you were sending it to a literary agent, publisher or professor. If your piece is a short story or novel, it should be typed in 10 or 12 pt. Times (or similar font), double-spaced with one-inch margins on white paper. Your use of manuscript form is part of the critique (unless you’ve just contracted me solely for proofreading) but formatting the text for printing as a book is a separate project and charge. No onion-skin paper, flash drives or handwritten pieces, please.

What does my payment buy?

I’ll provide one pass-through of your manuscript. I then check my comments and recommendations to ensure they are accurate. A manuscript almost always requires multiple drafts to take it from start to finish, and my suggestions – should you decide to follow them – usually will require that you pen another draft. Most manuscripts I receive are far enough along that the new draft just involves tightening or clarifying specific sentences rather than revising the entire plot or character arc (for novels) or reorganizing the entire book (for nonfiction). Manuscripts being edited for the first time by a professional probably will need more revisions than that.

Generate book sales by offering webinars

A great way to generate money from your book writing is by offering webinars.

You’ve probably heard of and even attended seminars. A webinar is exactly the same, except that’s done over the Internet.

Since you’ve written a book, you’re more than half done with creating a webinar. All you’re really in a webinar doing is turning your written, published information into an event. You share that information with others, just as you would in a book, but instead say it aloud to a live audience.

Webinars mark an affordable, easy way to sell more books. When you host a webinar, you place your expertise and hence your books right in front of potential readers. You also get people to notice you, as webinars can be much more effective than blogs at attracting attention and garnering new sign-ups for your mailing list. You’ll gain authority as well; by simply presenting valuable information to others, people respect you as a maven in your field. Lastly, you can bond with your readers; for them, seeing you on a screen and conversing with you through it is the next best thing to standing next to you.

Putting on a webinar involves several steps.

Begin by writing a script for the webinar. You can draw material from your book but be sure to present new information as well. Spend about five minutes on an introduction in which you welcome everyone and tell a little about yourself; this gives people a chance to show up late or to fix their faulty connections without missing the presentation. Then spend at least 25 minutes, but no more than 45 minutes, on a presentation. Leave 10 minutes at the end for a Q&A. Have material prepared so that if there aren’t many questions you can provide some additional information.

Next, you’ll need to ensure you have a way to technically deliver the webinar. A laptop camera or other way to take video that can be streamed live via the Internet is necessary, as well as a microphone on your computer; for the latter, you probably will want to used a dedicated mic for superior sound quality. A number of options exist online so others can interact live with you; most authors use an app on a page at their website where the webinar is embedded (btw, the URL for this page is revealed only to those who sign up for the event). The free Google Hangouts on Air is popular for this; with it, you can offer a slide show presentation as well as appear live on camera.

Once you have a script and the technical hardware/software, practice and rehearse. This will ensure your delivery goes smoothly and that you don’t have any technical problems during the webinar.

Lastly, you need to promote and market the webinar. Many authors who’ve held webinars report the most successful strategy for promoting the event is to treat it as like the lead-up for a book launch. Start by adding a registration page to your website. Then write a blog entry about the event, including a place where people can list their questions that you’ll answer during the event. Next, pen guest blogs for other sites; mention the webinar in the post or at the end where your bio is given. Make regular posts on social media about the event with link to where can register. Send three promotions with a registration form to everyone on your email list; the first email should be sent a week before the event, the next one four days before, and last one the day before. Typically, only about a quarter of the people who’ve signed up for the webinar actually attend; you can boost that number by sending out an email to all who’ve registered just before your presentation begins.

Grammar Court: Judgment vs. Judgement

Which spelling you use largely depends upon what side of the Atlantic you’re on. And if on the British side of the pond, then it’s only slightly more complicated.

In American English, judgment (no e) is the preferred spelling. This is because back in the 1820s, Noah Webster, when he wrote the first American dictionary, decided to simplify the spelling of a number of words. Today, The AP Stylebook and American Heritage and Merriam-Webster’s dictionaries among others echo this spelling.

In British English, both spellings are used, though they have the same meaning. Judgment is used in official court documents while judgement prevails elsewhere, however.

A simple memory trick: “Add the e if in England” (which many Americans often incorrectly call the entire United Kingdom…but that’s another topic for later).

A symbolic problem: Literally vs. Figuratively

The difference between these two words is one of apples and oranges, figuratively speaking that is.

Literally means “actually” and “without exaggeration.” To wit: When I told him to go fly a kite, I didn’t mean for him to literally do it.

Literally is overused these days, primarily because it’s become an intensifier, as in I was literally on fire. Arguably, it’s also misused, for literally as an intensifier virtually means the opposite of “actually” and “without exaggeration.”

When literally is used as an intensifier, the speaker probably should have used figuratively.

Figuratively means something is “metaphorical,” as in The wildfire figuratively cast a shadow over the holidays.

So remember – when using these two words don’t literally mix up your apples and oranges!

Strive for web pages with high scanability

Few people read text on a web page like they do a book. While most approach a book by reading it word-for-word, most Internet readers scan. That is, they peruse, looking for the key points to get the gist of the text or to find specific information they are willing to read word-for-word. Because of this, you want to ensure any text you write for the web has high scanability.

This is true even for author’s websites. Although you’d think that avid readers and writers would prefer to look at every piece of writing in a word-by-word approach – especially when looking at an author’s website – the fact is that most don’t. There’s something about the medium of the Internet that makes scanning the natural way to read it; perhaps it’s the size, shape, brightness, or subtle underlying pixelation of the screen.

How to create a scannable page
Fortunately, scanability is easy to achieve through a number of techniques:
• Use clear navigation for the page – Include a headline and subheads, which often appear in a larger font size and are boldface, to help readers quickly identify the page’s main points. Headlines tell in a few words exactly what the web page is about. Subheads act as signposts that help visitors located particular points supporting or elaborating on the main idea given in the headline.
• Place main idea in first paragraph – The most important information – what the web page’s text is about – needs to appear in the first paragraph. This may seem redundant given that’s what your headline does, but the opening paragraph also shows why knowing this information is important and sets the page’s tone.
• Chunk your content – Limit each paragraph to one topic, specifically a point that supports or elaborates on the main idea given in the opening paragraph. You can include examples. A paragraph shouldn’t be more than 2-3 sentences long. Paragraphs can be grouped together by using a subhead.
• Use lists – Bulleted points are the ultimate way to quickly deliver information. They are very useful when you have a long paragraph of multiple points. Simply separate each point into a bulleted point and give it a two- to six-word leader.
• Utilize font style changes – Placing headlines, subheads and bulleted points in boldface help readers quickly locate the main points. Italics also can be used, especially for examples or for emphasis, to ensure they stand out. Just don’t overdo it, or the font style changes lose their effectiveness, as they can’t be easily picked out.

Need an example of each of these listed techniques? This article is written with each one used.

Standalone pages
You can help readers a lot by ensuring that each web page is independent of all others at your website. If this page had required visitors to first have read my web pages about readability and tone, then the text here probably won’t make much sense to them. Visitors can come to any page on your website through a variety of means – a search engine, a tweet, a Pinterest post, another website’s link – and that means they often bypass your home page and don’t read your web pages in sequence.

If you have web pages with related content, create a link on your page so that visitors can go to it. Including the related information in text rather than via a link only dilutes your web page’s hyperfocus on a single topic.

5 Sci-Fi Writing Prompts: Novums

Science fiction stories typically arise from a novum, a scientifically plausible concept that is a “reality” in the tale. The novum might be an mechanical device like robot servants, artificial intelligence, or faster-than-light spacecraft; it also can be a hypothetical idea such as “The Earth is a scientific experiment run by aliens to determine the meaning of life” or “The government outlaws books.” The author then asks “What if?” exploring how the world with this novum is different than ours.

Among the problems of many novice science fiction writers is instead of introducing a new novum they rely on used furniture – that is, they borrow novums from popular SF series. After all, how many novels have you read that use starships exploring the galaxy for the Earth-based Federation? Barely changing names to appear as if you are not appropriating – a starcraft seeking M-class worlds for the Earth-centered Alliance – still doesn’t cut it as original or fully using the potential that science fiction offers to examine our culture or humanity.

To help SF writers, here are some novums of potential near-future inventions from which stories could be built:

Choose your own actor
What if you could choose which actor/actress played a part in a movie or a television show? AI and access to previous digital recordings of performers will allow this to become a reality.

Creative cuisine
What if synthetic biology allowed us to create food that could be preprogrammed to spell out messages or to create pictures? For example, using an app you might ask the chef to mix up a chocolate cake in which the icing spontaneously arranged itself to spell “Will You Marry Me?” after it arrives.

Energy-generating floorboards
What if floorboards used electro-magnetic induction to generate electricity from footsteps? This electricity could at least partially power homes and buildings or in large-traffic areas perhaps even the entire facility.

Linear artificial gravity
What if we could create artificial gravity by accelerating a spacecraft in a back and forth motion rather than by rotating around a central point? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of such a system?

New York City seawall
As sea levels rise thanks to global warming, many coastal cities either will be swallowed up or will have to take countermeasures. For large cities that are economic centers – like New York City – seawalls are erected.

Know nothing about ‘Naught vs. Nought’?

Naught and nought are yet another example of how our language has evolved. Both words are spelling variants of the same pronoun.

Both are a synonym for “nothing.” In mathematical terms, nought in British English also is another word for zero, as in He added a nought and bet £100 rather than £10.

Interestingly, naught evolved from the Middle-English nought, the latter of which has been around for more than a thousand years. You’ve probably heard it in phrases like it was all for naught or the more modern came to naught.

Both words are considered archaic and hence pretentious. All you really need to write is “nothing” or in some cases with nought “zero.”

If writing historical fiction, however, your character might use this archaic word; for example, When I was naught a wee bit of a lad, I practiced my slingshot on passing sparrows. In that case, use naught if your story is set after 1500 CE but use nought if set before then.

21 Tips For Making And Selling Your Nonfiction Book

• Sales advantages of writing nonfiction books
• How to conduct an interview for book research 
• How to structure your nonfiction book 
• Potential disclaimers for your title page 
• Your acknowledgements and dedication pages
• How to create your book’s table of contents
• Forewords, prefaces and introductions
• How to handle direct quotations, paraphrases
• Write end of chapter summary in nonfiction books
• Enhance book with sidebars, breakout boxes 
• Thinking up a title that sells your nonfiction book
• Make tables readable in your nonfiction book
• Create an index for your nonfiction book
• Writing your nonfiction book’s bibliography
• Place hyperlinks in your nonfiction ebook 
• Always review proof your book before okaying it
• How to write an author’s bio 
• Pay attention to your author’s bio pic 
• Seek endorsements for your nonfiction book 
• Speak about book’s topic to various groups 
• Write articles to promote your nonfiction book
• BONUS: “Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.” – Oscar Wilde