Are you a doctoral student going through the daunting task of assembling your culminated research and results? Once you have completed your research and have assembled your results, I can help you polish your dissertation to submit to your review board. If you are a student whose first language is not English, I can help smooth out the readability and flow of your text.

Having worked extensively with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Chicago Manual of Style, I am familiar with the ins and outs of preparing a well-polished manuscript.  I will not add to your content, but I will strengthen your content’s presentation through copyediting. I also thoroughly check in-text citations and the accompanying reference list to ensure accuracy.

As I edit, I will compile a manuscript-specific style sheet, detailing nuances distinctive to your dissertation. This will also help provide a consistent approach with future publications if you choose to publish with journals.

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Developmental editing (nonfiction)

This is the earliest stage of editing, and it may even begin before you’ve started writing! Maybe you haven’t written a rough draft yet, but you have a great idea you would like to pursue. You need someone to help map out your book. An editor can help you develop an outline and figure the approach that is best for you. We can brainstorm together, coming up with a plan. This stage involves a lot of feedback, rewriting, structural revisions, and research.

If you already have a rough draft finished, I can evaluate your manuscript to determine if it needs reorganizing or restructuring. Your rough draft may go through several revisions.

Content, or substantive, editing (nonfiction)

This phase of editing comes after you’ve finished the first draft of your manuscript. I will take a more focused look at the structure and the overall effectiveness of your manuscript. I will evaluate the flow of your writing, the effectiveness of transitions, and the clarity of your presentation. There may be a little shifting around of content—rearranging for maximum effectiveness. Some areas may need beefing up and some may need condensing. The goal is to present the best possible version before moving into the next phase of editing.

Copyediting (nonfiction and fiction)

The main structure or your book or article should be complete by this stage. This is where I really look at technical issues and search for grammatical errors. I address issues of verb usage, parallel construction, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. The main goal is readability and consistency. This is the refining stage before moving to the final editing phase.

Proofreading (nonfiction and fiction)

This final stage of editing only happens after the first three stages have been done. This is when I look for any textual and typographical errors: rechecking that font sizes and types are consistent, everything matches with the chosen style guide and style sheet, and there is consistency between headers and the table of contents.


I suggest having your manuscript proofread before and after design. An editor can help find any errors in formatting (as well as catching anything missed). After design, the editor can check for problems in page makeup or layout. I also verify links in online publications and in references.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an editor?

Perhaps you’ve never hired an editor before, and you’re wondering if it’s even necessary. Consider what an editor brings to the table.

You used the spell-check in your program, but the computer didn’t pick up a homophone (pronounced the same way but a different spelling). A different set of eyes will see common mistakes that are difficult to see if you’ve looked at the same words a million times. Perhaps you used the same adjective five times in one paragraph. An editor can make suggestions by offering synonyms that add variety and perhaps a little more punch. You don’t want errors and repetitiveness to turn off a reader. You want the reader to be excited to read your book, to be interested in what else you have to say.

Did you mention a new term but never explain it? Did you fully cover a topic that is an integral piece of your work? An editor will point these out, indicating where there are inconsistencies or revealing a need for strengthening a section.

What if a reader is interested in learning more about a source you quoted within the text and can’t find it in the reference list? The reader will question your credibility. If you missed this reference, the reader will wonder how many more are missing. Perhaps you reference a graphic or a table, but it was removed in a previous version. Readers will put down your book and move on if they are confused or discouraged.


These are issues that I encounter regularly, and my knowledge and experience are what I bring to the table.

What is your approach to editing?

I use the guidelines of style manuals to make your message as consistent and clear as possible. But in the mix is your voice—your unique writing style. My goal is to blend your writing style with an editorial style to make your content easy to read and understand.

I approach the editing process as a partnership with the author. Together we’ll look at the scope of your work and come up with a plan to get you where you need to be. You want to publish a clean manuscript that reflects your ideas, your message to the world. My goal is to help you take your book to the next level on its journey to publication.

What does the editing process involve?

As I begin editing your manuscript, I may encounter issues that involve widespread edits. In general, I will make a list of questions and then submit those to you. That way, we’re not talking daily but on a routine schedule.

Once I present you with an edited manuscript, be prepared to review the edits and answer questions. This phase may include several times of going back and forth before everything is finalized.

What do I need to know about submitting my manuscript to you?

I edit in Microsoft Word, so you’ll need to submit a Word doc. I will also be working with track changes (the editing feature in Word). If you’re not familiar with track changes, I will be available to help navigate you through the program.

If you're submitting a PDF for a postdesign proofread, I'm comfortable using the comment feature of Adobe. I can also show you how to use this feature if you're not familiar with it.

What do you charge?

Not all projects are created equal. Every project is different—different word counts, various levels of complexity, tight or comfortable deadlines, and the type and level of editing requested. I may need to review a sample of your manuscript to get an idea of the scope of editing needed. We’ll also talk about this to make sure we’re in agreement.

I require a deposit before beginning a project (usually a percentage), which secures your place in my schedule. The final payment is due upon completion of your project. If the project is a long one, we’ll discuss the payment schedule.

How do we get started?

Once we determine that we will be a good fit to work together, I will develop a proposal for your review. The proposal will outline the services I will provide, the cost, and the timeline for your project. After the proposal is settled, it will become the statement of work with our contract. 

To make things easy and to expedite the process, I send my contracts through Adobe Sign for an electronic signature. I accept online payments through PayPal and Square. Or you can always send your payment through the mail if you prefer.



Kim Foster absolutely exceeded every one of my expectations as an editor and copyeditor. She caught errors and deficiencies in my logic, my syntax, my grammar, and my attributions that I would never have found by myself. Every time she brought one of these to my attention, she did it with kindness, gentleness, and a sense of humor that made the whole project actually fun to work on. Kim saved me much embarrassment by making my book absolutely perfect, from front cover to back cover and all 344 pages in between.

I intend to partner with Kim on every book I ever write. If you are able to get her for your own project, you will be very, very fortunate. Five stars. Highly recommended.


Jeannie Burlowski

Author of Launch: How to Get Your Kids through College Debt-Free and into Jobs They Love Afterward




About Kim

Everybody reads. Whatever the genre or intent, the message or story must be clear and compelling to keep our attention. That’s where I get involved. Words are my passion, and I love helping authors draw out the right words for their message while navigating the nuances of language.


I began training in piano performance at a young age and continued that pursuit into adulthood, culminating in a master of music degree. Thousands of hours were spent in crazy concentration on minute details, yet always keeping the big picture in mind for a finished, polished work. This honed skill transferred well to helping others communicate beautiful ideas, stories, and life-changing concepts. Except now I'm using words instead of musical notes, a different expression of beauty.

After I went back to school to study editing through the University of California at San Diego, I began working with individual authors and local publishing companies. I gained experience through working with various genres of nonfiction and fiction, as well as academic works: dissertations, journal articles, graduate-level papers, and white papers. One of my greatest joys is to see the authors and writers I work with succeed—whether in just getting their message “out there” or in receiving awards for their efforts. Sharing in the joy of their success enriches my life.

When I'm not sitting at my desk or curled up in a comfy chair, editing a hard copy (what my husband calls “being in the zone”), I enjoy working in my organic vegetable garden, experiencing the miracle of a tiny seed growing into bushels of produce. I also love spending time with my husband (a fellow word nerd) as we look for books at thrift stores and discuss etymology over a strong cup of coffee.




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© Copyright Kim Foster Editor 2018