Frequently asked questions

Answers to the burning questions in your mind.

Have a different question?
Contact us!
Do I really need an editor?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

Usually, what has been written makes perfect sense to the writer. That doesn’t mean it makes sense to everyone – or even anyone – else. An editor is an advocate for the potential reader, making sure that what has been written is clear, complete, and correct (and concrete, concise and courteous if desired).

Even the best writers will use an editor to ensure their work is in its best possible form.

We often hear comments such as, “I’m just going to self-publish …” or “it’s just a short story” or even “it’s just for family”. If you are going to self-publish, you don’t have the help of a publishing company to ensure the quality. The pressure to have your writing completely correct becomes greater as the length of your work goes down. And, if it’s just for family, quality can be even more important. It might be 40 years before your grandkids pick up your book. Do you want them to put it down after reading one page and say, “Grandma couldn’t write”?

When in the process of writing can I get help? Do I have to finish my manuscript before contacting you?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

The earlier in the process the better, especially if you are new to writing. We can help you avoid many of the pitfalls and problems that inexperienced authors will often meet. We are happy to help with planning before you even put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and, in the interest of getting you going in the right direction, we don’t normally charge you for that little bit of our time. So, no, you don’t need to finish your manuscript before contacting us.

That said, we are happy to get involved whenever you are ready or think it necessary. Some of our clients are just about to go to print when they contact us – and we can definitely say that we have helped a few avoid very costly errors.

What process is followed?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

Our process is very personal, and we spend time to discuss and understand your aims. What is your  project? Who is the work for? How long is it going to be? When does it need to be ready? Who will print it or publish it? Have you considered how it will be distributed? We don’t generally charge for this time: it is such an important part of the job, and can save both you and us a lot of trouble at later stages.

Initially then, we like to talk through your project and find out what you are trying to do and what you want from us. Usually, you will then send us some or all of your manuscript, and we will assess it and report back to you after a few hours of work, giving an honest opinion of what needs to be done. Then we discuss what the next steps are and who is best to carry them out. This may involve us going ahead with a complete edit – perhaps not changing much – or you carrying out a complete rewrite.

The stages always overlap but, once you are happy with the overall content, you (with our advice) or we will ‘copy-edit’ to improve the clarity and flow of the text. Then the work needs to be formatted and laid out (which we can do for you), after which it is ready for proofreading, then printing or electronic publication.

We communicate with you throughout the project, with the aim of making sure you know what we are doing and how long it will take, and ensuring that we don’t get too far ahead without your input.

How much will it cost?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

We charge by the hour, rather than by the page or the word. Doing it that way means you pay for what you need and not more. If your writing is already high quality, the text might be dealt with quickly and easily, and therefore not cost you much. If there is a lot to be done to improve the work, then it will take longer and cost more. Either way, we think we offer you value for money.

We carry out our work in stages, keeping you appraised of what it is costing. Initial assessments, for example, might take 4 or 5 hours and cost about NZD300. After that, we take it step by step, working with your budget and needs to get the best result possible.

What are the differences between content editing, copy-editing, and proofreading?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

Content editing is … about the content. Does it tell the story? Does it make sense? Is it too long? Too short? Does it follow some sort of logic? This is the big picture and has to be the first stage of editing. There is no point in perfecting the sentences, words and punctuation of a chapter that you later delete completely!

Copy-editing is all about clarity and flow, and may involve rearranging words, sentences or paragraphs to ensure your text is easy to read.

Proofreading is the final stage, checking everything in the text: from spelling, grammar and punctuation to layout, headings, pictures, diagrams, weblinks etc.

These stages are on a continuum. A content editor will notice awkward sentence structures and punctuation errors, and should draw your attention to any repeated problems so you can fix them along with the substance of your work. A copy-editor, with a more detailed look, will find most of the spelling and punctuation errors, and may also see problems with the overall content that still need to be addressed. A proofreader shouldn’t need to comment on content or clarity and flow, but that could depend on how thoroughly the earlier stages have been carried out.

I’ve had the manuscript edited. Do I really need a proofreader?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

Our advice is always to have your final, print-ready text proofread. No matter how thoroughly your work has been edited, errors will have been missed or can creep back in with a clumsy touch of the keyboard. Those errors might be all it takes for your work to come across as unprofessional, poorly researched or just plain wrong!

What form do I use to submit my work to you?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

We like to receive work as Microsoft Word documents or PDFs. However, we can also work on other electronic platforms or deal with hard copies as needed.

How will you report corrections to me?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

With Word documents, we usually send back a version with ‘Tracked changes’, so you can see what we are advising. This allows you to accept or reject the changes we are suggesting. However, we also like to return a version with all our changes accepted, allowing you to simply and quickly read an improved version. Most of our clients end up reading the cleaned up text and accepting it straight off.

Remember, however, that you are the author. We discuss your needs and try to meet them, including presenting suggested changes in ways that make them easier for you to follow.

How do I contact you?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

Use the contact page on this website or email us at You can also phone or text us on (+64) 0273 59 69 81. We are happy to take calls during New Zealand daylight hours.

Will anyone else know I am using an editor?
Plus icon that looks painted or drawn

Our service is completely confidential. However, we find that our clients are usually happy to announce the fact that they used 100% Proof and are very happy with the outcome!