Editing for Authors

Don’t Let Your Words Distract from Your Story

Writing a book is hard work, but you did it! Congratulations!

Now it’s time to launch your book into the world for others to read. That’s both exciting and a little nerve-wracking, right? It can be scary to think about others reading and critiquing your book. What if they don’t like the plot? Or the characters? Or the setting? Or the style? What if they hate the story?

Those are the readers’ personal opinions, and unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to control them. Those aspects of the book are completely subjective.

In fact, a lot of what happens in the book market is out of your control. You don’t know how many copies will sell. You don’t know what readers will think of the story. You don’t know how many reviews you’ll get or what your ratings will be.

That’s a lot of uncertainty to face.

There is one factor you can control:

The Quality of Your Text

Focus on What You Can Control

Instead of worrying about factors that are out of your control, focus on what you can control. Grammar isn’t subjective. (Okay, nerdy editors like me may quibble over commas occasionally, but grammar is not nearly as subjective as opinions on characters or plot.) Bad grammar is tangible. Readers can point to mistakes, typos, or misspelled words and say, “This is just wrong.”

Grammar errors make your work look careless. And that’s not the impression you want to give. You put your heart and soul into your book. It deserves to shine.

If your book is edited properly, the words will almost fall away and the story will emerge and entrance your readers. They will be in the story, not distracted by the words!

Author Services

Line Editing
Developmental Editing


Proofreading is the last step before publishing or submitting a manuscript to an agent. It’s the final check, the failsafe.

Your book is ready for proofreading when the text is essentially finalized. The manuscript is clean and free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. All you need is an editor to spot any mistakes introduced while preparing the manuscript for publication.

Proofreading Catches
  • Typos
  • Misplaced punctuation
  • Missing words
  • Mis-numbered table of contents or chapter headings


Copyediting transforms intermediate manuscripts into final drafts. That means the content is mostly complete, but the grammar still needs a little work.

Becton Literary follows the Chicago Manual of Style and the Meriam-Webster Dictionary to make sure your manuscript follows the guidelines of standard written English.

Ps. I love the Oxford comma.

Copyediting Catches Errors in
  • grammar
  • punctuation
  • spelling and hyphenation
  • sentence structure
  • shifts in tone, tense, person and number
  • subject-verb agreement
  • modifier placement
  • mechanics
  • and more

Line Editing

Line Editing is a close reading of the manuscript, line by line. Like copyediting, it focuses on grammar and consistency, but it also incorporates many details of style.

It’s not my job to alter your writing style but to ensure that the expression of your style will not interfere with the reader’s understanding of your story.

So I’ll offer suggestions for rewriting, reorganizing, or presenting material in other ways or a different order so that the meaning is clearer to the reader. But I’ll never rewrite your text. You always get to decide what suggestions to keep and which to discard.

Line Editing Focuses on…
  • the grammar in the copyedit
  • suggestions for strengthening the narrative
  • possibilities for reorganizing the text
  • ideas that could be elaborated on
  • improving character development

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing is for authors who have an idea for a manuscript but have either gotten stuck in the middle of writing the book or who need help getting started.

Rather than focusing on the tiny details of grammar or punctuation, I walk beside you as you create a plan for your book.

Developmental editing is for authors who want help developing a plan for their book.

It all starts with a free five-page* sample edit.

Here’s why it’s important:
  • You get to try out Becton Literary Services for free.
  • You get to sample my work and decide if we are a good fit.
  • We get to assess the right level of editing for you.
  • We get to discuss timelines and special needs.
  • You will know what to expect from hiring an editor.

* Page Calculations: 1 page equals 250 words. A 5-page edit covers 1,250 words.


Why should I hire an editor?

An editor walks beside you to help you create your best work possible. And we provide another set of eyes and an unbiased opinion to give you more confidence in releasing your work to the public.

You’ve already invested days, weeks, months, or maybe years in your characters and plot. Elevate your words! Give your book an advantage in the marketplace. Most of all, don’t let yourself down by sabotaging your book at the finish line.

Can’t I just use spellcheck and grammar check?

Sure. Spell check and grammar check are great places to start. Unfortunately, they don’t catch everything. There are plenty of ways automated checks can fail you. You need a person on your team who knows the rules of good grammar and understands the nuances of your story to catch all the issues that automated checkers miss.

How much do you charge?

Rates will be decided based on the level of editing requested, the condition of the text, and the desired turnaround time. After you get your free five-page (1,250 words) sample edit, we’ll discuss the right level of editing for your book and agree on a fair rate.

Should I get a proofread or a copyedit?