Technical Editing

Technical editing as a service from Rachel Andrew. I'm a web developer working right across the stack, business owner, writer and technical editor with over ten years experience in publishing.

Why use a technical editor?

When self-publishing you have to wear many hats. Outside of the framework of a traditional publisher you may worry that no-one else has set eyes on your work before publication, be unsure if your examples make sense to others. Even the most experienced authors find that we miss important details, assume knowledge the reader may not have, or introduce some inaccuracy into our code while formatting it.

A technical edit of your book ensures that your code examples are accurate and that any advice you give is up to date and helpful. It involves your work being reviewed by an independent set of eyes, code samples being tested, and advice considered.

A technical editor who understands the technology you are teaching will also be able to point out where your advice is potentially biased, or even outdated. The editor should in this way act as a reader of your book, posing the questions or comments a reader might have - before the book gets in front of people who have paid money for your advice.

Technical editing is useful for books about code and software, but can also be of use for business books. While these books might not be full of code to test, the advice given can be technical in nature and benefits from outside review.

“At SmashingMag, we’ve been working with Rachel for quite a few years now, and it’s been a truly rewarding and enjoyable experience. The level of expertise and thoroughness that Rachel has is quite remarkable. If you’re looking for a very knowledgeable, smart, impeccable technical editor and reviewer to work with — a person who is always on time and also spot on, you will not be disappointed with Rachel.” - Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine

Why choose me to edit your book? I have acted as a technical editor for publishers such as A Book Apart, Smashing Magazine and SitePoint. I’ve written for SitePoint, Five Simple Steps, Apress and Smashing Magazine in addition to self-publishing.

However I’m not purely a writer and editor. In my day job I’m a business owner and web developer, working across the stack. I’ll only take on editing projects where I believe I have the knowledge and technical experience to be able to properly check the code and advise the author.

My professional experience

HTML, CSS and JavaScript, PHP, Perl, Software architecture and planning, MySQL and to a lesser extent other database technologies, Linux and Unix systems administration, OSX, Windows and Desktop Linux, DevOps subjects including Vagrant, Puppet, Hiera, Ruby as used with these technologies, Business administration and process, project management.

If your topic falls outside of these areas or is very specialist or advanced, drop me a line. I’ll be very honest if I don’t think I am the person for the job.

Pricing

Fixed price pricing based on number of pages.

Article

$50per document

Have a short article or blog post you would like edited?
For posts up to 2000 words
Single pass review
Current turnaround: 3 business days
Pocket Guide

$299per Book

For very short books of up to 30 pages choose this service.
for mini books of up to 30 pages
Two pass review
Start date: see the FAQ below.
Short Books

$599 per book

For short books between 30 and 160 pages.
books between 30 and 160 pages
Two pass review
Start date: see the FAQ below.
Big Books

$1099 per book

For books between 160 and 350 pages.
books between 160 and 350 pages
Two pass review
Start date: see the FAQ below.

FAQ

I’m taking a page to mean around 300 words. Books with a lot of images or code might have fewer words in a page. That said, you don’t want to work with someone who is going to argue about one or two pages of extra work, and I don’t want an author not sending the final chapter because it slightly overran that estimate. Pick the package that you believe is appropriate. If your small book turns into an epic, we’re both going to be aware of that and can come to an agreement.

Yes, however I’m offering this as a paid up front service only. If you want to pay via bank transfer then drop me a line and I’ll invoice you. Once I receive payment I’ll schedule in the work.

At the moment I have availability to start on new book projects within the next 2 weeks. I’ll update this site if that changes. One off articles and blog posts I can currently turn around within 3 business days. If you have a really urgent requirement - for example you have selected a launch date and really would like a review before then - get in touch and I’ll try my best to help.

Most electronic formats are fine. I’ve written and edited books in Word, Pages, Docbook format, Markdown and HTML - let me know if you are using something else. It does tend to be easier if the copy is in a format where I can add notes inline, but if not we’ll work out the best way for you to get my feedback.

If the book has a lot of code then I will ask that you send that as a separate package if you want me to test it.

A shared Dropbox folder is often the easiest way to work, however I am very happy to fit in with the way you want to run your book project.

For articles you might like to take a look at Draft which allows a reviewer to add notes and changes inline.

A technical edit isn’t an English or copy edit. If I spot a glaring error I’ll let you know but this is primarily a technical edit and my expertise isn’t copyediting.

I can edit one chapter at a time, or can review an entire manuscript in one go. It really is up to you. Many authors prefer to have chapters edited one at a time as they can take the comments on the earlier chapters on board to help with writing the later ones. However for shorter books or those with a strong narrative flow it can be more useful to edit the manuscript as a complete work. I don’t mind, and can fit around your preferences.

For this fixed price service I will do a full technical review of the book - chapter by chapter or as a complete book. I will then send it back to you so that you can make any changes you want to make based on that feedback. While you make changes I’m happy to answer any questions you have via email. Once you have your second draft I’ll do a final readthrough for you and check any areas that have been significantly changed.

If you then feel you need further reviews we can work something out.

My main areas of expertise are listed above. If you are writing a beginner level book in an area I don’t know well but where my existing skills transfer, then I can probably help. In fact you may find that my beginner eyes coupled with my existing technical skills, bring up the sort of questions that your beginner reader is going to ask.

Please just drop me a line and ask. If I feel it is outside my skills completely then I won’t take on the work, if I think it might work I can explain where my skills match up so you can make a decision.

I’ll email you and we can arrange when I will start on your book, how you will get the copy to me and any deadlines you have. If you are expecting to submit the book or chapters at some future date I’ll get in touch as that date approaches to check in.

I’ve written lots of books and I know how difficult it can be to write a book alongside your work and family commitments. What we don’t want is for the technical edit to become a big rush right at the end, as I’ll not be able to do the job I’d like to do and you’ll not have time to think about any suggestions.

So I just ask that you keep me up to date with your schedule. If you know you won’t get the copy over to me by the agreed date, just let me know and then we can make sure that the new timescales work for us both.

I’m in the UK, however people tend to be used to converting to USD and most of the editing work I currently do is invoiced in USD. That said, if you are in the UK or Europe and want to pay in GBP or Euros just let me know and I’ll convert at the current rate and invoice you.

Have questions?

Email Rachel