My rates are reasonable, and I would be happy to send you an estimate for your job.

To give you the best and most accurate estimate, I need a little information first:

The word count of the article or manuscript (or number of pages to index),

The level of the editing or work you think it needs (heavy, medium, or light),

The turnaround time or deadline.

If you can provide a sample, that would be very helpful. I can either provide a flat rate (a project fee) or an hourly rate. I can accommodate rush jobs at a slightly higher rate.

Discounts are available to Christian organizations and authors, NGOs, and anyone who can convince me that their cause is a worthy one. (I donate 15% of my profits to charitable organizations and missions projects in Africa and the Mideast.)

The value of editing and proofreading

Editing and proofreading cost. I’m not telling you something you don’t know. However, have you ever considered how much the lack of editing or proofreading costs? Let’s consider a few recent articles and examples.

• A study at IBM concluded that well-edited pages do 30 percent better than unedited pages. James Mathewson wrote: “What would 30 percent better engagement do to your bottom line? I’m going to let you draw your own conclusions about how 30 percent better engagement might affect your business.”

• Bad grammar affects your credibility as well. As CEO Dianna Booher commented: When customer emails and proposals contain errors in grammar, customers begin to wonder, “If the writing is wrong, how do I know they’ll amortize my loan correctly? … If they don’t punctuate correctly, how do I know they’ll deliver the merchandise on time?” (Link died on this one, sorry.)

• A Mitt Romney campaign app encouraged people to stand “with Mitt” for “A Better Amercia.” Oops. Merrill Perlman discusses typos and the need for editors in a CNN article: Why ‘Amercia’ needs copy editors.

• Spelling mistakes can cost millions in lost sales. In a BBC News article, entrepreneur Charles Duncombe said “an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. He says he measured the revenue per visitor to [a] website and found that the revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected.”

• Errors bother people. Fred Vultee, journalism professor at Wayne State University, found that “readers, especially regular readers, can distinguish an edited news story from an unedited one. They notice errors and are bothered by them.” But your readers (or clients) won’t always tell you about the mistakes in your article, website, or communications—they may just avoid them, or you. As Dianna Booher said, “Frankly, bad grammar is like bad breath—even your best friends won’t tell you. In tough economic times, people remain successful because they pay attention to the little things that can make a big difference.”

• Typos affect your search engine rankings on the web. In “The Price of Typos,” columnist Virginia Heffernan pointed out that misspellings could keep your site out of the top 10 search results listings. “This is because search engines look for strings of characters in sequence,” she says, “and if your site has misspellings, Google is less likely to list it at the top of search results[,] … meaning that even the lowliest content farmer will know that it’s i-before-e in ‘Bieber.’” (Link also died on this one and was dropped. Sigh.)

• Consider your business communication skills and their link to your success. Time reported on “a recent Grammarly study of 100 LinkedIn profiles. In the same 10-year period, professionals who received one to four promotions made 45 percent more grammatical errors than did professionals who were promoted six to nine times.” “If you are a native English speaker and never learned the difference between it’s and its,” Grammarly CEO Brad Hoover writes in a Harvard Business Review blog, “especially given access to Google, an employer might wonder what else you’ve failed to learn that might be useful.” A Wall Street Journal article details the frustration of managers with poor communication skills. “Looseness with language can create bad impressions with clients, ruin marketing materials, and cause communications errors, many managers say.”

Bad grammar, typos, and mistakes cost money, in your business communications, on your website, or in your article, magazine, or book. It's less expensive to pay for the editing or proofreading now than it is to pay later.

Be Letter Perfect

Linda Kaplan Thaler, Robin Koval, The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference (New York: Broadway Books, 2009)

At KTG both of us have become zealots about everything from double-checking the decimals in our checkbooks to proofreading each and every document that we print, display, or digitally deliver to our clients. It may seem picayune and obsessive to focus so much attention on minor details like spelling and typos. There are always more pressing matters on the agenda. But think how you felt the last time someone mangled the pronunciation of your last name, got your title or some other personal detail wrong, or introduced you incorrectly to a group at a party. No matter what else follows, it's hard to put aside that small detail that virtually screams, “Hey, you're not important enough for me to remember who you are.”

Even the tiniest error can impact your future, as Linda recollects from her college days:

I was dating a brilliant premed student, Paul, in my senior year. With a string of straight As, Paul was certain he would have an array of outstanding medical schools to choose from. But to his chagrin, he was rejected from all of them. Paul was confused and bitterly disappointed. He had laboriously filed every application form, had excellent references, and had spent weeks toiling over his required essay, detailing his passionate desire to become a doctor.

After the final rejection letter, Paul allowed me to read the essay he had sent to the admission boards. And there it was, the mistake that cost him his lifelong dream: he had spelled the word “medicine” m-e-d-e-c-i-n-e. Just under the wire, Paul applied to one more school and was accepted. It was a last minute remedy to an unfortunate oversight, but hopefully one that has allowed Paul to cure a great many patients in his medical career.

Email: frank@steele-editing.com