Jodie's Editing Process


Welcome, writers, authors, and aspiring authors. I’m an award-winning author and highly respected editor who can help you polish your manuscript and get it ready to publish or pitch to agents. I edit POPULAR FICTION, specializing in thrillers, suspenseful mysteries, romantic suspense, and crime fiction (nothing too gory, though, and no horror). I also edit HISTORICAL FICTION and some fantasies, YA, and middle-grade fiction. I accept novels of up to about 97,000 words, as well as short stories and novellas, and also offer detailed critiques and edits of up to 50 pages (up to the first 12,500 words).

I also edit NONFICTION books on selected topics (see below for more info).

I’m a voracious reader of popular fiction and a former English teacher and librarian with a master’s degree. I’ve been an independent professional editor since 2007. I’m the author of three award-winning writing guides in the series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller, Fire up Your Fiction, and Captivate Your Readers. I’m also regularly asked to serve as judge in short story and novel contests. I mainly edit for a North American readership.

Thanks to Kindlepreneur for listing me among their Best Book Editors.

For client reviews of my editing by published authors, please click on the REVIEWS tab.

Is your novel over 97K words? Check out this article: How to Slash Your Word Count by 20-40% — and tighten up your story without losing any of the good stuff!

Also, see “How to Save a Bundle on Editing Costs — without sacrificing quality.”


My editing services for FICTION range from developmental and “big picture” advice, through structural editing, content editing, line editing, copy editing, to final proofreading. I use Track Changes and comments in the margin. I send you both a marked-up version and a “clean” version, which has all my changes accepted.

For a full-package, comprehensive edit, I work in sections, with payments in instalments as we go alongI’ll do several passes of your manuscript, sending it to you for feedback and revisions between passes. My editing process is interactive and collaborative, with lots of teaching moments, links to related articles, and other suggested reading.

If I decide to take on your story, I’ll do a free sample edit of about 1000 words and send it to you, along with my fee for the whole manuscript. Then you can decide whether to proceed or not.

You can also decide to go on an editing “date” of the first 10-20 pages to see if you like my approach to your work.

I can also do a detailed critique and edit of your first 10 to 50 pages (details below).

You may wish to choose this more intensive option to see how I work, then do some revising based on my suggestions. Then you can contact me about editing the rest of your manuscript, likely at a lower rate.

Or, for a lower fee, I can just do one or two thorough passes, then send it back to you.

Another option is to just have me do a thorough final proofread of your edited or thoroughly revised manuscript,.

I also offer substantive/structural editing, rewriting, and copyediting of NONFICTION topics such as lifestyles, wellness, nutrition, self-help, herbal remedies, gardening, design, and more.













My fee for several in-depth passes, with revisions by you in between, starts at 1.8 cents ($0.018) USD per word ($18 per 1000 words; $1,440 for an 80,000-word manuscript) for already very good writing that may need the following: help with point of view issues, reducing info dumps and picking up the paceshowing instead of telling; finding a more natural, authentic voice; appropriate/effective word choice, querying of character motivations and actions; flagging of any plot holesinconsistencies, discrepancies and implausibilitiesstreamlining the sentences; eliminating redundancies and repetitions; and finally, light copyediting and proofreading for spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.

Prices go up to 5 cents ($0.05) USD per word ($50 per 1,000 words or $4,000 for 80,000 words), for a very comprehensive edit, (several passes), including substantive or structural editing and deep content editing with lots of coaching geared specifically to make your story stronger and improve your writing skills. You’ll get big-picture (developmental) advice first, offering links to articles and books tailored to your needs, as well as ongoing comments, suggestions and questions re: effective fiction techniques, character motivations, and general logistics (all of the aspects mentioned in the paragraph above). This is followed by stylistic editing / heavy copyediting to smooth out and tighten your writing, with the sections going back and forth, then final copyediting and proofreading.

Most manuscripts I edit these days fall in the $0.018 to $0.03 USD per-word range for a detailed, comprehensive edit (content/logistics editing, line editing, stylistic editing, copy editing, and proofreading), so $19-$30 per 1000 words or from $1,520 to $2,400 USD for 80,000 words.


I can do one thorough line/copyedit for $0.012 to $0.014 per word ($12-$14 per 1000 words).

Or you can opt for two thorough passes for $0.014 to $0.017 per word ($14-$17 per 1000 words; $1120 – $1360 for 80K words) depending on the amount of work needed, with no back and forth with the author.

I would then send you a marked-up copy with additions and deletions clearly indicated by Track Changes and comments and suggestions in the margin, and also a “clean” copy, with all my changes accepted and no redlining, for easy reading. I’ll send you a style sheet as well, tailored to your story, and some general advice, if needed.

You would then “accept” or “reject” my changes and do revisions based on my suggestions. Then, if you wish, you could send your revised manuscript to beta readers or another editor or proofreader or back to me. I will then do another pass for $0.012 per word, adding any new suggestions as needed.

Note: Even for these passes, I always pay attention to what’s going on in the story, the logistics of the plot and character motivations, and the effectiveness of the fiction techniques used, as well as pacing, sentence structure, grammar, and spelling, so my editing is always content and stylistic editing, too. If something doesn’t make sense to me, I’ll mention it.


If your manuscript has already undergone an edit, or you’ve had extensive feedback from beta readers and have done revisions, I’ll do a detailed final proofread for word choice, grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, indents, spaces, formatting, headings, and more. My fee for this normally ranges from $7 to $14 per 1000 words, but I have a special on now for $0.006 per word, or $6 per 1000 words; $300 for 50K words; $480 for 80,000 words. Click HERE for more details on the proofreading only option.


For copyediting a full manuscript, I prefer payments of about $200 at a time, in advance as we go along, just before I complete each section. For manuscript critiques, payment must be made in full in advance. For a proofread only, you can pay me 50% at the beginning and the rest at the end.

If you can’t afford my rates for your whole manuscript, I can do a thorough edit and critique of your first 10-50 pages, and you can then use the edits and advice to guide you on your revisions of the rest of the novel, which will ultimately save you a great deal of money.


In order for me to consider whether I’d like to take on your manuscript, I need you to send me the following as attachments when you first contact me. Use “Editing” in your subject line. The documents need to be in Microsoft Word. Please familiarize yourself with MS Word’s Track Changes before contacting me or other editors.

·        The first ~20 pages of your manuscript, plus 5-10 pages from somewhere in the middle:
– as an attachment in Microsoft Word (NOT a PDF)
– Times New Roman, 12-point
– double-spaced, left-justified
– one space (not two) between sentences
– Indent each paragraph by using the MS Word paragraphing or formatting tools. (Do NOT press the space bar repeatedly to indent.) No extra space between paragraphs.

For basic formatting instructions, see “Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript.

·        Author’s name (and pen-name if both)

·        Title of novel (or working title)

·        The genre (for fiction) or topic (for nonfiction)

·        Total number of words in manuscript (or projected). Under 97K words for me, please.

·        Your target readership (audience). Who do you see as your typical or ideal readers?

·        For nonfiction, a paragraph on what your book is about and your goal with the book.

·        For fiction, a brief plot outline or synopsis: a few paragraphs to half a page, paragraph form, telling the main points of the story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Start with your main character and be sure to include the main story problem.

·        For fiction, a brief description of each of the main characters, in order of importance

·        A sentence or two about the stage your manuscript is at now. Have you had beta (volunteer) readers read it and offer honest, helpful feedback, then revised it afterward? Has another editor done some work on it? Have you run it through a basic spell check and/or grammar check?

·        It’s best not to send a rough draft or first draft, unless you’d like me to proofread it for your, prior to sending it to beta readers. I can do so much more for you if you send me a relatively clean manuscript that you’ve had feedback on and have gone through at least a few times. Thanks.

·        The level of editing you think your manuscript may need. If you’re not sure, that’s natural and perfectly fine. You can just say “Whatever the editor feels the manuscript needs to bring it up to industry standards, appeal to readers, and sell well.”

·        A brief bio and any other publications, if any.

If I feel we can go straight to copyediting (light, moderate, or heavy), I will give you a per-word rate (and total fee) depending on the amount of work the manuscript seems to need to make it publish-ready.

Or, you may need an initial assessment and overall advice. I’ll first look at the “big picture” and address any noticeable craft-of-fiction issues, such as your opening, characterization, point of view, pacing, style, and dialogue. Then, after you’ve done subsequent revisions of the first chapters and returned them to me, I’ll get started on the copyediting stage.


Are you an expert on or passionate about a topic and want to share your knowledge about it in a book? And add to your resume and make some money at the same time? Maybe you’ve made a good start but are feeling a bit overwhelmed or have reached a roadblock with your project. Now’s the time to find some professional help with rewriting, revising, and restructuring your book so it will appeal to your target readership and sell well.

As the author of three award-winning nonfiction books, I’m accepting nonfiction books for substantive/structural editing on these or related topics, aimed at a general (not academic or scientific) audience: personal growth, healthy living, self-help, wellness, lifestyles, nutrition, health, senior living or issues, relationships, or alternative healthcare and wellness.

I will work with you on your nonfiction book to do a detailed substantive/structural edit, as well as a thorough copyedit and final proofread, which will include:

·         Helping you define your target readership

·         Clarifying your goals with this book

·         Discussing the scope of your book (maybe too narrow or too broad?)

·         Helping you, if needed, to develop more of a “voice” and style that will appeal to your target readership

·         Discussing the overall organization and flow of your book, and transitions between chapters

·         Helping you with an enticing opening (first paragraphs)

·         Checking for overly technical phrases and jargon your target audience may not easily understand

·         Rearranging, adding, or condensing chapters, topics, and subtopics to make the whole structure more cohesive

·         Moving, adding, rewriting, or deleting details, sentences, and paragraphs

·         Watching for any inconsistencies and discrepancies

·         Flagging and helping you rewrite any confusing statements

·         Asking for clarification and examples if needed

·         Suggesting anecdotes, interesting facts, or a bit of humor, if needed

·         Noting repetitions or redundancies within a sentence, paragraph, or elsewhere in the book

·         Flagging digressions and off-topic references

·         Rewriting overly long, overly formal, or convoluted sentences

·         Fixing spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spacing, and typos

·         Clicking through any references to make sure they lead to the intended source

·         Proofreading your references, using an acceptable style guide

I’m a former English teacher and librarian with a Master’s degree. I’m an author and have been a freelance editor since 2007. I edit American and Canadian English, and my main two reference sources are The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Finally, I will format your book for publishing, including creating proper chapter headings, subheadings, and a Table of Contents (made clickable for an ebook).

Fee range: I will take your manuscript from first draft to polished, publish-ready copy for $0.03 to $0.08 per word, depending on how much work it needs to get to industry standards, appeal to readers, and sell well. So if your book is about 50,000 words, my fee for a substantive/structural edit and a copyedit would be from $1,500 to $4,000, payable in instalments at a pace you’re comfortable with as we go along. Rewriting from a rough draft will be $0.10 per word.

My process is interactive, so the manuscript goes back and forth several times, with plenty of input by the author. 

If your nonfiction manuscript, article, or webpage only needs a basic copyedit and proofread, I can do that too, at a considerably lower fee.

Contact me at info@JodieRenner.com with your topic, target readership, projected number of words/pages, ideas and/or table of contents, and your first 10-20 pages. If your project interests me or I have time to take it on, I’ll get back to you with some ideas and a sample edit/rewrite.


Has your fiction or nonfiction manuscript already been edited? Or you’ve received extensive feedback and have made revisions? I’ll do a detailed proofread for word choice, grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, stylistic consistency, repetitions, indents, spaces, formatting, headings, subheadings, and more. 

Besides being an author and independent publisher, I’m a former English teacher with a master’s degree and have been a professional editor since 2007. My main reference guides are The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. If you have a preferred house style guide, I will use that.

My fee is $0.008-$0.012 per word, or $8 to $12 per 1000 words. (Minimum 10,000 words.) Turnaround time is usually two weeks or less.

I will send you back both a marked-up copy, where you can “accept” or “reject” my changes if you wish, and a “clean” copy, with all my changes accepted.

Fiction writers, please note – Proofreading does NOT include: line editing or copyediting for plot, characterization, dialogue, point of view, author intrusions, showing instead of telling, voice, logistics, discrepancies, pacing, or other effective fiction-writing techniques, all of which I look at in my editing services. Proofreading is the final step in the editing process.

Proofreading is best done after a manuscript has undergone a thorough line edit or copy edit, or the author has had significant feedback and has done a lot of revisions. There’s no point in having a manuscript proofread if it’s going to undergo significant changes, which would then require another proofreading pass at additional cost.

“I recently needed a quick proofread of my first three chapters before sending them to an agent. I contacted Jodie, and she did a thorough job of finding and fixing spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spacing errors and returned the polished manuscript to me the same day. Very happy with the service and quick turnaround.”

– Angela Douglas, author of Every Fall

Below are some of the problems I look for when proofreading your fiction or nonfiction manuscript aimed at a general readership. (I don’t proofread academic or scientific documents.)


Spelling and word choice confusions:

·        Spelling errors and typos: I’ll check for errors that spellcheck won’t catch, including common typing mistakes (e.g. “manger” instead of “manager”, “fried” instead of “friend”, etc.) and embarrassing errors, such as the “l” missing in “public”.

·        Confusions between homophones, e.g., there/they’re/their or effect/affect or peak/peek or counsel/council

·        Missing words, e.g., “to hospital” or word doubles, e.g. the the

·        Incorrect word choice (word used doesn’t fit the meaning desired)

·        Incorrect hyphenation of words and phrases: Is it takedown, take-down, or take down? ripoff, rip-off, or rip off? follow-up or follow up? rear-view mirror or rearview mirror?

·        Misuse of definite and indefinite articles (the/a/an)

·        Misuse of prepositions (of, at, in, from, between, among, etc.)

Grammar and sentence structure:

·        Incomplete sentences, run-on sentences

·        Overly long, convoluted sentences

·        Inconsistent verb tenses

·        Lack of parallelism in lists

·        Passive rather than active voice

Repetitions and redundancies:

·        The same noticeable or specific word or root word used within a sentence or paragraph, e.g., “two big stacks of files were stacked on her desk.” or “Music blasted from a bar. A cold blast of air hit his face.”

·        Overuse of words such as thatveryjust, quitesmiled, etc.

·        Overuse of generic words such as “thing” or “good” or “walked” instead of more specific words

Capitalization and Punctuation:

·        Missing, extra, or misused commas

·        Confusion between hyphens, em dashes, and en dashes

·        Incorrect punctuation and/or capitalization for dialogue

·        Incorrect use of apostrophes

·        Incorrect or overuse of semicolons, colons, and ellipses

·        Missing end (closing) quotation marks, parentheses, and periods

·        Inconsistent capitalization of words and phrases

Overuse or misuse of italics, underlining, bolding, or all caps:

·        Generally, italics are more acceptable for emphasis than underlining, bolding, or all caps

·        Italics for some but not all foreign phrases

Possible inappropriate style or word choices for your target readership:

I’ll flag for your attention:

·        Jargon – technical terminology that a general readership might not understand

·        Pretentious language – wording or phrasing that might seem overly erudite, haughty, or condescending to your target readers.

·        Course language and profanities: If they seem a bit overdone, I might point them out and you can decide whether to keep them or tone them down.

Stylistic inconsistency:

·        Inconsistency of style and tone (word choices, sentence structure), based on target readership

·        Overly formal or overly casual wording that doesn’t fit the overall style

·        Consistency of UK, US, Canadian, or Australian spelling (labour/labor, theatre/theater, travelling/travelingjudgement/judgment, licence/license, organise/organize, etc.)

·        Inconsistent treatment of numbers (30/thirty, 65/sixty-five)

·        Inconsistent capitalization and punctuation in headings and subheadings

·        Inconsistent capitalization and punctuation in lists

·        Inconsistent presentation of abbreviations (e.g. U.S./US; Nasa/NASA/N.A.S.A.)

Basic formatting issues:

·        Inconsistent font style or size

·        Incorrect spacing between words, sentences, and paragraphs

·        Inconsistent paragraph indentation and spacing

·        Incorrect or missing page breaks between chapters

·        Inconsistent formatting of headings and subheadings

·        Inconsistent formatting of lists and bullet points

·        Inconsistencies between the Table of Contents and the actual headings and subheadings


If you’d like me to do a thorough, professional final proofread of your manuscript, please email me at j.renner.editing@hotmail.com with:

·        Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction

·        The subject or genre

·        Total word count

·        British, American, Canadian, or Australian English

·        Target readership

·        Your preferred style (chatty, casual, formal, businesslike, etc.)

·        A brief description of what it’s about (one paragraph)

·        10 pages of the document

·        Your preferred deadline

“Jodie Renner is the real deal. In a world awash with sketchy advice for writers, Jodie cuts through the darkness with the piercing light of her expertise. Her editing, advice, and suggested revisions are concrete, practical, and produce compelling prose. Jodie skillfully helped me navigate from the shores of my nonfiction through the treacherous waters of thriller writing. She helped me take a manuscript that was not ‘there’ yet to one that was. I feel fortunate to have found her and look forward to working with her on my next project.”

– Peter Eichstaedt, Sept. 19, 2014, journalist and author of thriller, Borderland. www.petereichstaedt.com


My comprehensive editing process is instructive, interactive, and collaborative, with lots of teaching moments and referrals to other resources. I or you will divide your manuscript into sections of about 3-6 chapters each, and I’ll work on one section at a time, then send it back to you for your reactions and revisions before going on to the next section. We’ll usually send each section back and forth several times, until we’re both happy with it, before going on to the next section. And you’ll likely be going ahead and tweaking or revising future chapters, based on what you’ve learned from feedback I’ve given you on the early chapters.

At the copyediting stage, I perform two very detailed edits on every section (with revisions by you in between), then more passes to quickly check subsequent changes only. The first pass is to address content and style issues, as well as word choices, sentence construction, reducing wordiness, and smoothing out awkward phrasing, etc. Then, when you send that section back to me with your revisions, I go over it again with a fine-toothed comb. Using Microsoft Word Track Changes and Comments and my well-used copies of The Chicago Manual of Style (956 pages) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (1624 pages), as well as online resources, I’ll correct typos, spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and make suggestions for word choice, sentence flow, and clarity. After that, I’ll just look at final changes indicated through Track Changes. 

For more detailed information on my editing services, please contact me at j.renner.editing@hotmail.com.

“No matter where you are with your project, Jodie can help. Her sense of dialogue is superb. She will show you how to pace your work appropriately and is a master at point of view issues and building more personality into your characters. She does it all without infringing on your voice. Jodie is also a precise grammar queen. Simply, Jodie is the best all-around editor I have ever used.”

~ John Tkac, author of the award-winning Talking to Water – A Dolphin Chronicles Book, edited by Jodie


Here are a few of the many issues I look at and advise on in all my fiction editing:


Is the first page compelling? Does it hook the reader in quickly? Does it introduce your protagonist? Does it situate the reader as to Who, What, Where and When, so they can quickly get into your story world and start enjoying your story?


Is your protagonist likeable, smart, resourceful, and strong enough to appeal to your readers, but with vulnerabilities and inner conflict? Are your main characters complex and three-dimensional, or flat and predictable, cardboard cutouts? Do your characters develop through the course of the novel? (Is there a good character arc?) Are their motivations clear and plausible?

Point of view:

Is most of your story anchored in the viewpoint of your protagonist? Is each scene in one character’s point of view? Or is the viewpoint hovering above or ping-ponging among your characters, all in one scene (“head-hopping”)?

Plot and Scene Structure:

Do you have an inciting incident and a main story problem/question? Is there enough conflict? Do you have tension on every page, with rising stakes and ongoing complications? Are the scenes well-written and well-structured? Is the climax nail-biting? Is the ending satisfying? Do you have plot holes that need to be identified and plugged? Are there inconsistencies, discrepancies, or illogical actions or events that need to be addressed?

Style and Pacing:

Does your prose meander along, trying to find its way? Is it awkward, too wordy, or overly erudite? Or is it clear, tight and compelling? Does your pacing fit the genre? Do you vary the pace, depending on the scene?


Does it sound natural, like people in that milieu really talk? Does each character speak a little differently? Or do your characters all sound like the author or university professors?

Logic and continuity:

Do you have sudden unexplained changes or discrepancies in characters, time sequences, and other circumstances? Do all the plot details make sense? Are your characters’ actions and reactions logical and believable?

Grammar, syntax, phrasing, punctuation, spelling, and typos:

I’ll help you smooth out awkward or overly wordy phrasing to create a better flow of ideas. I’ll add the final polish to make your story publish-ready. I’ve been called “a precise grammar queen.” I know my stuff but won’t let correct English stifle your style or voice – this is fiction, after all, not a doctoral dissertation!


If you’re on a tight budget, you may opt to have me do a thorough, detailed edit and critique of the first 10 to 50 pages (double-spaced), including advice on your half- to one-page synopsis, for $0.025 to $0.04 per word ($25 to $40 per 1000 words). This thorough edit includes big-picture advice on fiction-writing techniques such as your opening, characters, plot, point of view, pacing, reducing info dumps, showing instead of telling, dialogue, etc., will help you bring your characters and scenes to life. It also includes comments about your character motivations and story logistics, advice on streamlining your writing to improve the flow of ideas, and finally a detailed, comprehensive line edit and proofread of the whole section. This fee includes several passes, including two complete ones: the first to offer big-picture and stylistic advice, and the second to go over every word again after you’ve done some revisions based on my suggestions. After that, I’ll go over it again once or twice to check any subsequent changes that are clearly evident through Track Changes.

After this thorough initial critique and edit, you can use my advice on that section to guide your revisions and even rewriting of the rest of the manuscript. Revising the rest of your manuscript based on advice in the initial critique will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the editing process for the whole novel, either with me or someone else. If we decide to continue working together on the rest of your manuscript, my fee for the rest will be lower, depending on the extent of your subsequent revisions/rewrites on future chapters before you send them to me.

“Jodie Renner’s evaluation and critique of the first 40 pages of my crime thriller were invaluable. Her analysis, edits, and suggestions were excellent, and she improved my manuscript tremendously. Working with her was a pleasure. She was prompt, thorough, and incredibly insightful. I couldn’t be more pleased and strongly recommend her editing services to all writers.” ~Mary Bush, December 2013 


I have served as judge for many short story contests, including for Writer’s Digest, The Federation of BC Writers, and Word on the Lake Writers Festival. I have also organized and edited two high-quality anthologies for charity, which included several rounds of editing for each story accepted. I edit and critique short fiction for contests or publication. My fees for a thorough, comprehensive edit of your short story, including big-picture advice on fiction techniques, content editing, stylistic editing and a final proofread, with several rounds of back-and-forth until we both feel it’s ready, start at $0.02 per word and go up to $0.035 per word, depending on how much work the story needs to bring it up a competitive level, so from $100 to $175 for a 5,000-word short story, or $200 to $400 for 10,000 words. This includes several passes, with the manuscript going back and forth in between. I’ll do a short sample edit for you first.

For more detailed information on manuscript critiques or my editing services, please contact Jodie at j.renner.editing@hotmail.com. If your writing intrigues me, I’ll be open to negotiation on the price.

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