Need assistance with your nonfiction writing project?

I can help.

Experienced Author, Editor, and Writing Coach for All Your Nonfiction Projects

  •         Essays and Essay Collections
  •         Memoirs
  •         Family Histories
  •         Compiled Genealogies
  •         Social Histories
  •         Biographies
  •         Travel Narratives
  •         Narrative Nonfiction
  •         Historical True Crime
  •         How-to
  •         Self-help
  •         Annotated Letters and Diaries
  •         Humor
  •         Literary Journalism
  •         New Age
  •         Spirituality
  •         Academic Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

Editing should be … a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ‘How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?’ and avoid ‘How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?’” —James Thurber

Please note: Sharon is currently taking only a limited number of clients.

Content Editing (manuscript stage): Sharon will review your work in progress for proper writing techniques, organization, and, if applicable, genealogical and historical content. You can submit chapters as you are writing or the full manuscript. Manuscripts must be sent double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins all around. Sharon does not accept manuscripts for content editing that are already formatted as a book.

Copy Editing (manuscript stage): Sharon will copy edit your manuscript for sentence structure, grammatical problems, and punctuation. Manuscripts must be sent double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins all around. Likewise, footnotes or endnotes should be double-spaced in 11-point Times New Roman type. Sharon does not accept manuscripts for copy editing that are already formatted as a book.

Choose from the following levels:

  • Light copy edit: similar to proofreading for typos and such, but does a thorough check for grammar and punctuation problems; checks style and consistency of end- or footnotes.
  • Medium copy edit: includes the level of light copy edit, plus checks the body text for style consistency and fixes awkward/unclear sentences; checks style and consistency of end- or footnotes.
  • Heavy copy edit: includes the levels of light and medium copy edit, plus improves the flow of the text by rewriting portions for a uniform tone and focus; changes passive voice to active voice; rearranges sentences as needed to improve readability; cross-checks any reference material (e.g., notes to bibliography); checks style and consistency of end- or footnotes. Heavy edits almost always require another run-through by the author and editor to make changes to the changes.

Proofreading (page proof or galley stage): Sharon will proofread the formatted pages (galleys/page proofs) of your book for typographical errors and formatting problems before you publish. Print copies only.

Genealogical Proofreading: Proofreading a genealogy involves more than checking your final pages for typographical errors, misplaced punctuation, or formatting issues. Sharon brings the same genealogical research skills and expertise to her proofreading projects as she brings to research, writing, and content/copy editing projects. Here are some areas she will check when she proofs your genealogy:

  • Are names consistently spelled throughout the book?
  • Do the dates make sense? Did you accidentally type 1966 when you meant 1866?
  • Does the chronology for each family group make sense? Is a mom giving birth too young or too old? Is a male marrying at age 12? Are children born at least nine months apart? Is a child born after the mother has died?
  • Do the generations make chronological sense, or have generations been compressed or inadvertently omitted?
  • Is the historical content accurate?
  • Is the chosen numbering system used correctly?
  • When a child is listed with his parents, then carried forward as an adult, does the information in the child listing match that of the adult listing?
  • If your table of contents says generation three starts on page 178, does it start on that page?
  • Are your source citations consistently and properly cited according to the style manual you’ve chosen? Have you chosen a style manual?
  • Did you accidentally insert typos into a transcription or a quoted passage?
  • If you transcribed a document and are including a reproduction of the document in the book, is it transcribed correctly?
  • Are your secondary sources listed in the notes also listed in the bibliography?

Genealogy writers are encouraged to get Sharon’s The Elements of Genealogical Style: A Simplified Style and Citation Manual for Writers of Genealogies and Family Histories, revised edition.

* * *

Sharon proofread over 2,000 pages of my four-volume study, Opening the Ozarks, 1835-1839. She not only caught the typos and grammatical mistakes, but problems such as children born too close together, marriages within nine months of the first child and mothers possibly too young to be giving birth. Bringing these to my attention so that I could recheck records and explain inconsistencies, kept me from making embarrassing mistakes.” —the late Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG

* * *

Proofing a genealogy is tedious and time consuming, and each genealogy is different. Depending on your project’s scope and length, the amount of documentation, and how “clean” the final pages are, Sharon can typically proof around 10 to 12 camera-ready pages per hour. But she will send you a progress report after three to five hours to give you a more accurate estimate for your book.

Here are some major projects Sharon has proofread:

  • The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635, Volume IV, I-L, by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society Press, 2005)
  • The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633, by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society Press, 2005)
  • Opening the Ozarks, 1835-1839, 4 vols., by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG (Saline, Mich.: McNaughton-Gunn, 2006)
  • Elder Bethuel Riggs (1757-1835) of Morris County, New Jersey, and His Family Through Five Generations, by Alvy Ray Smith (Boston, New England Historic Genealogical Society Press, 2006)

Please note: Genealogies that are not written using a standard compiled genealogy format, a generally accepted numbering system, such as the Register or NGSQ system, and a standard documentation style guide, often take much longer to proof. Additionally, when Sharon proofreads your final book pages, she is usually not checking for sound genealogical research and arguments, accuracy of historical context, or grammar and sentence structure problems. Those services fall under content and copy editing, which is normally done prior to final book layout.

If you need writing assistance, please click here.

E-mail for more information: warrencarmack@gmail.com.