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What I Mean To Say

Editorial Services for Authors


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Editorial Services for Fiction Authors

Fiction makes the world a better place.
It gives us a glimpse into places, relationships, and situations that are worlds away from our own;
​it fosters empathy and widens perspective.

Please note that I am not currently accepting new clients for my editorial services.

Welcome, fiction writers, and congratulations on putting pen to paper!

​Here you'll find out all about working with a professional editor to help your story resonate with your readers.

Do I need to hire an editor?

Whether you are:

          • a first-time author looking for an expert to polish your manuscript before you show it to agents and publishers,
          • an independent author looking for a fresh pair of eyes on your novel before you self-publish it,
          • a multilingual speaker looking for help telling a story in English, or
          • an editorial project manager looking for a professional and reliable freelance copyeditor and proofreader for upcoming fiction titles,

an editor can help make your story resonate with your readers, whether by collaborating with you at the story development stage, copyediting your writing to ensure consistency in narrative flow and style, or providing a final proofread to fix distracting typos and formatting issues before you publish your story.

What information should I include when I ask for a quote?

Your manuscript and the level(s) of editing that you want

I need to see your full manuscript (or sample chapters from the beginning, middle, and end of it) and determine the level(s) of editing that you require before I can give you a precise quote and timeline for my editorial services.

If you send me sample chapters, please also let me know the total word count of your story, including any preliminary material and end matter (if applicable).

Rest assured I treat all client documents with complete confidentiality, as per my Terms and Conditions.

Whether an editor has already seen your manuscript

It's helpful for me to know whether you've already worked with an editor on your story and incorporated their feedback into your current draft.

​If, for example, you would like to hire me for a final proofread but your story hasn't been through a developmental edit or a copyedit, it will likely take me longer to proofread your story. This is because I will be the only person who has checked it for typos, and because the story may have distracting inconsistencies and other large-scale issues that an editor would normally address at an earlier stage.

Your budget and your preferred payment method

Knowing what your editorial budget is, and the level(s) of editing and proofreading you want to spend it on, helps me tailor my quote to your needs. If your preferred level of editing is outside of your budget, I may recommend a different level that will still help your story shine while being more affordable for you.

I accept payment by Canadian or UK bank transfer; an electronic bank transfer is my preferred method of payment for clients in Canada and the UK. I also accept payment through PayPal, Stripe, or Wise for clients who are based elsewhere.

I normally invoice for 10% of the full payment in advance to secure the booking, 40% when I begin the editorial work, and the remaining 50% on the deadline before I submit my completed work to you, although I am happy to discuss other payment arrangements with you if necessary.

My rates are in line with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading's suggested minimum rates.

Your deadline

Deadlines shape an editor's schedule, so your deadline will be a big factor in determining whether I can work with you on your story.

I am usually booked several weeks or months in advance for larger projects; so, for novellas, novels, and anthologies I recommend getting in touch at least a few weeks before your text will be ready for editing.

If your story is on the shorter side (under 20,000 words), I may be able to fit it in around my larger projects right away, but the more advance notice you give me the more likely I'll be available for your project.

If you tell me that you will have a text ready to be edited in a few months, I will follow up with you at a later date, but please note that I must prioritize clients who make firm commitments. I can only reserve an editing or proofreading time slot for your text if you pay a deposit at the time of booking.

How long does editing and proofreading take?

As the saying goes, "How long is a piece of string?" There's no single answer to the question.

An 80,000-word novel can take me under two weeks or over a month to complete, depending on the writing quality, the level of editing or proofreading that you need, how quickly you respond to queries, whether I'm working on multiple projects at the same time, and many other factors. That's why I ask to see the manuscript and ask for as much information about your story as you can provide in advance.

Does Maya edit and proofread in my genres?

I work on fiction texts of any length, including short stories, novellas, novels, and anthologies.

These are the genres and subgenres I specialize in:

  • literary fiction
  • speculative fiction, including
    • sci fi
    • fantasy
    • utopian and dystopian fiction
  • romance and erotica, including
    • poly, open, and other non-traditional relationships
    • stories featuring kink and some taboo activities, dynamics, and relationships
    • stories featuring LGBTQIA+ characters and relationships

Check out my Portfolio page to see some of the titles I've worked on.

Testimonials from fiction authors

"Maya was the copy editor for my novel there are more things. She was contracted through my publisher Little, Brown. I was blown away by Maya’s care and diligence with the text, which is formally experimental and includes many words and phrases in Portuguese. Maya checked over 100 Indigenous group names, spotted missing accents on Portuguese words, googled historical characters and checked my timeline, among many other things.

I was particularly impressed by her thoughtfulness when it came to language around race, where Maya suggested, for example, that ‘Black’ could be capitalised. Her work made me more confident in my own text. In my opinion, Maya is the kind of copy editor that the publishing industry needs."

Yara Rodrigues Fowler
​Author (Fleet Books)

"Maya of What I Mean To Say was a pleasure to work with, every step of the way. She artfully combined a tactful and thoughtful approach to my short story, with the literary intelligence and rigour that I would expect from a professional editor. Her structural edits and her proofread queries resulted in suggestions that I in nearly all cases accepted without needing to revert for clarity, and her attention to style and consistency were really helpful. I would look forward to any future opportunities to work with Maya."

Gerard Ralphs

"After trying a few editors who wanted to change my writing style and voice beyond recognition, I finally found Maya, and thought, 'Yes!' Maya took care to understand exactly what I wanted and what style I was after, then made fine-tuned corrections and lightly brushed up my story, like polishing something very delicate. She caught my mistakes without changing the story's voice. Excellent!"

Marie S

"Maya is professional and friendly, and she’s a really talented editor. Her feedback is thorough and respectful, and she’s a lot of fun to work with. Highly recommend!"

Carrie Mumford

I Recommend the Conscious Style Guide

CIEP Advanced Professional Member

I am an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), and I abide by their code of practice.

The Alliance of Independent Authors – PartnerMember