Proofreading FAQ

Proofreading & Copyediting FAQs

What's the difference between proofreading and copyediting?
Put simply, proofreading is the process of reviewing content to ensure proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In some cases, proofreading is sufficient if the goal is simply to make sure that the content is free of obvious errors. Copyediting is a more complex process that is designed to improve or enhance the document to improve the reader experience. It generally involves reviewing the text more comprehensively to ensure clarity, flow, internal consistency. In the case of academic proofreading, the copy editing services I provide include reconciling in-text citations with the sources listed in the Works Cited section of a dissertation or thesis.

What's the difference between proofreading and copyediting?
If you haven't already seen it, click here and scroll down a bit to see the graphic that provides a simple answer to this question.

Which style guide(s) do you use?
I've been using APA for years (currently using version 7). In the spirit of full disclosure, I've only recently started using MLA to write my thesis for my second Master's degree. An important lesson that I learned is that MLA provides more opportunities for individual institutions to use their own style guidelines, so be sure to read any resource materials on writing your thesis or dissertation provided by your educational institution.

What document formats do you accept?
To make things as simple as possible for my clients and for me, documents must be submitted as Word documents, double-spaced. 

How will I know what changes you're recommending?
I use Word's track changes features which enables you to see the edits I'm recommending. If I have questions or suggestions for your consideration, the comment feature creates a balloon in the margin. In both cases, you have complete autonomy to decide whether to accept each edit or suggestion.

What makes you different from other copyeditors?
While a lot of copyeditors have years of experience in academia, journalism, or publishing, I bring 30+ years of professional writing skills for a wide variety of business documents, both print and digital. One of the most valuable skills needed for effective writing is the ability to translate often complicated or unfamiliar ideas in a way that they can be understood by people who may not be as familiar with them.

You may be wondering why this matters for academic proofreading in particular. More and more graduate students are either considering or planning to  repurpose their research into books, blog posts, courses, and other formats. Writing your thesis or disseration with this end-game in mind makes it much easier to make the transition once your research has been submitted and approved.

Do I have to make all the changes you recommend?
No. As the author of your document, you have complete control over the content.

What tips do you recommend to ensure the most effective experience working with me?

* Read (and re-read) your institution's style guide to be certain that you're adhering to all of their requirements. 

* Use a reference guide for citations to be certain that your resources are cited properly, both in-text and in the Works Cited section. It is difficult for a proofreader to confirm that your resources are cited properly without doing the additional research needed to figure out exactly what type of resource was used for each citation. Your institution may provide citation examples, and there are online resources and books available to help with this.

How long should it take to receive the completed review?
I generally tell my clients to allow 3-5 business days for a thesis review and 5-7 business days for a dissertation review, although the time may vary due to length and/or complexity of the subject matter, writing style of the author, and the number of clients already in the queue. I can provide a better estimate at the time the document is submitted for review.

What will I receive when the review is completed?
Upon receipt of payment in full, you'll receive a marked-up version of your original document containing any grammatical, punctuation, or copy-editing suggestions as well as any questions or comments I have for your consideration. In addition, you'll receive a Summary Report that provides general feedback, insights/observations, and if appropriate, a checklist of additional actions to consider.

Is the material I submit kept confidential?

I need help writing sections of my document. Can you help with that?
No. For ethical reasons, I do not write or re-write sections of your thesis or dissertation. There are people who will do this for you, but I'm not one of them.

How much do your services cost and what payment method(s) do you accept?
Proofreaders/copyeditors typically charge by the page, the word, the hour, or a customized estimate of the amount of work required. I believe that the most equitable pricing method (for my clients and for me) is to charge by the word. This way my clients know up front what the cost will be once they've done a word count on their completed document prior to submission and it avoids having to account for partial pages.

As a point of reference, consider the following rates (per word) currently charged by others:

Scribendi Value Proofreading | $0.02 (proofreading only)
Reedsy | $0.022 (proofreading only)
Editorial Freelancers Association | $0.02-$0.29  (proofreading)/$0.03-$0.039 (copyediting)
Edit Republic | $0.02+ (proofreading)/$0.03+ (copyediting)
Wordvice | $0.048 (academic)

As a freelancer with no overhead or other expensive business expenses, I charge $0.02 per word for both proofreading and copyediting. 

When you're ready to get started, I'll give you an estimate of how long I think it'll take to complete your review. If you need a faster turnaround and my schedule permits, there is a 20% upcharge for an expedited turnaround. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Word's word count does not automatically include words in tables or charts, so I count those separately and add them to the total word count. If you have a lot of tables or charts and you want to save some money, you can convert your tables and charts to images and embed them in your document. Just keep in mind that if you do this, they won't be proofread.

I'm not finished my thesis yet, but I could use some momentum to help me cross the finish line. Can you help?
Yes! You're invited to join my Thesis Co-Working Group. Click here to learn more.

I've completed my thesis, but I could use this type of support while I'm working on my dissertation. Do you have a dissertation co-working group?
No. Primarily because dissertations are much more complex, take more time, and requirements vary wildly from one institution to the next. However, I'll be working on my own dissertation during the sessions, so you're invited to join me in my Thesis Co-Working Group. Click here to learn more.

I'm ready to get started. What are the next steps?
My goal is to make every part of the process as simple as possible. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me by email at If needed, we can schedule time for a brief chat via Google Meet.

Otherwise, please complete the Proofreading Intake Form which asks a few questions about what you need and how soon you might need it. Even if you're not ready to get started right now, add your email address so you can get updates on tools, strategies, and resources to help you during the research and writing process.

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Thesis Co-Working Group