I’m Heather Doughty.
I’ve been editing and proofreading various types of writing for several years. My experience ranges from contracts and memos to résumés and work statements to memoirs and fiction books. I’ve worked with authors, politicians, military personnel, and various business professionals. It’s exciting to collaborate with someone and help them make their project the best it can be.
I wasn’t always a copyeditor. The first half of my adult life was spent as a professional musician in a military band. After twenty years of active duty service and playing French horn around the world, I decided it was time for a career change. There are many similarities between being a professional musician and copyeditor, such as paying attention to every detail on the page and bringing out the composer or author’s point of view to the audience. A musician must dedicate many hours of research and practice when preparing for a performance, just as a copyeditor must dedicate many hours of research and examination when refining writing for publication. An important part of being a musician is accurately portraying the style in which the music is written. A copyeditor must work hard to match the author’s voice when suggesting edits and changes. These similarities in skillsets made my career transition more successful. My strengths as a musician are also my strengths as a copyeditor.
One of my passions is reading. My preferences favor independent authors, followed by commercial fiction and mainstream fiction, and then literary fiction. There isn’t one genre that is my favorite, but I tend to read more mysteries and suspense thrillers. My e-reader is filled with quirky fiction, horror, contemporary romance, and a few fantasy and sci-fi novels.
I live in New London, Connecticut, with my husband and three children. My hobbies include reading, walking, volunteering, baking and decorating cakes, and traveling.
A manuscript or written project is your baby, and I treat it as such. My ultimate goal is to help you make it the best it can be, ready for publication or printing. I do this by polishing and enhancing the written words, not rewriting them. In a collaborative style, I will work with you to tighten the language and make sure there is an ease and efficiency when reading. I ensure your voice is distinct and that your writing shines.
For authors of books, not everyone takes the traditional route for publishing. I value independent authors and the work they put into not only their craft but their dedication to getting their book out into the world. It often takes a team to accomplish this, and I am a valuable team player in this process.
You’ll find me to be flexible and collaborative. My attention to details and keen suggestions will help your work stand out. I’m a great project manager who can keep your goals on track. If we stumble on a difficult problem, you’ll appreciate my ability to find creative solutions to resolve the issue.
If my philosophy is what you are seeking, contact me so we can get started on your project!
I am flexible and willing to meet your needs. I prefer to use Microsoft Word and Track Changes, but I can also prepare a separate document with suggested edits and changes. The style manual I use is the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, and the dictionary I use is the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I also use PerfectIt during the proofreading process. Use of other style manuals can be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Before committing to a project, it’s important for us to get to know each other. We can do this via electronic communication, a video chat, or a sample copyedit or proofread.
Once the process begins, I prefer to communicate electronically, but I recognize that some issues may warrant a video or voice chat.
I prefer three read-throughs:
First read: I approach the manuscript as a reader to get to know your voice, the characters, and the plots, and I document any questions I have.
Second read: I go through the manuscript to identify structural concerns and perform a medium to heavy edit, depending on the needs. When I’ve completed this, I will send it back to you to make changes. If you prefer to receive it in smaller chunks, I can accommodate this request.
Third read: Ideally, I go through for a proofread. If changes still need to be made, this can be a light copyedit. I’ll send it back to you for updates. Once I get it back, I will complete a final check.
You will receive a style sheet along with the manuscript or project. The style sheet is both for me and for you. My style sheets are used for tracking characters and dates, monitoring details and plots, identifying preferences for spellings and usages, addressing common and consistent usage of punctuation, and for identifying recurring issues that need to be addressed.
Book manuscripts will typically take three to four weeks from start to finish, depending on the word count and type of editing needed. Smaller projects can typically be completed within a few days.
Time estimate for work:
Structural editing: one to three pages per hour
Heavy/medium editing: four to six pages per hour
Medium/light editing: six to eight pages per hour
Proofreading: eight to ten pages per hour
A word about Track Changes: This is a way for you to see the changes I am suggesting. In the right-hand margin, you’ll see the additions, deletions, and comments. You can also add comments for me to see.
Types of Writing
Fiction books or novellas
preferred genres are:
Databases and catalogs