Substantive, Stylistic and Copy Editing 


In scholarly publishing the final copy edit in the publication process is often very basic: grammar, spelling, punctuation and consistency of style and documentation. By this time, the book has gone through peer reviews and revisions. Neither the publisher nor the author is looking for major changes. But there will inevitably be sentences and paragraphs that have lost their meaning, so I read carefully and edit for clarity.

More substantive and stylistic editing is usually done earlier in the process. Before a text is submitted to a publisher or during the revision process for the publisher, I work directly with new and experienced authors. I work on journal articles and full length book manuscripts. The result is a more focused argument, made with clarity and grace.

I also work with first time authors revising their theses into book manuscripts. On some projects, all that is required of me is an outline for a revised structure. On others, working with the author, I implement major structural and editorial revisions.

Literary, Trade and Self-Publishing

Editing for literary, trade and self-published books can be basic, as with scholarly books. Or it can be comprehensive. I work with publishers and authors editing and proofreading nonfiction and memoir. I also work directly with fiction and nonfiction authors, often over long periods, as a book comes to life.


For ten years, I worked with Descant magazine, a Canadian literary journal, first as managing editor, then as a co-editor. We published fiction, poetry, essays and visual art. I developed an already nascent love of poetry during this time. Since then I have enjoyed the privilege of working with a few poets. 

I make special mention of Karen Mulhallen, poet and editor-in-chief of Descant.

Mary Newberry worked as both an early consultant and, later, my copy editor ... Her attention to detail and her ability to decipher and clarify many threads of argument at once are rare gifts.
— Jennifer Nelson, Razing Africville: A Geography of Racism (University of Toronto Press 2008)

Sample Projects

For PDF of complete CV click here