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Gretchen Interviewed in Independent Publisher Magazine

February 1, 2013 blog Comments Off on Gretchen Interviewed in Independent Publisher Magazine


We’re pleased to announce that at the end of 2012, Gretchen was asked to do an interview with Independent Publisher Magazine about copyediting, proofreading, and what authors should keep in mind as they consider their options. Here’s an excerpt and you can click here for the full interview:

Errors, big and small, distract readers and cause authors to lose face. In the realms of indie and self-publishing, we fight a daily battle to prove that we are just as good, if not better than, the authors sponsored by the Big Six. And the best way we can do that is to publish polished and professionally edited writing.

This month, I spoke with one of the most talented editors I know. Gretchen Stelter of Cogitate Studios, is a copyeditor, proofreader, developmental editor, ghostwriter, fact-checker, and book expert extraordinaire. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her on many occasions, and she was the first person I turned to when I wanted to know more about the editing business.


Drumroll Please

June 21, 2010 blog Comments Off on Drumroll Please

Yesterday was a special day for Cogitate; it marked the five-year anniversary of our editorial partnership. We celebrated with some take-out and the Cogitate Studios Writers’ Contest questionnaires. What a way to spend the day! Thank you to all who participated.

While we had a lot of fun reading your answers, the judging was…well, it was excruciating. We had such a hard time because there were many amazing responses. So many, in fact, that we decided that instead of just picking two grand prize winners, we decided to add two honorable mentions. So, without further ado. Here are our winners:

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The Alchemy of Editing

May 25, 2010 blog, Notes on Editing Comments Off on The Alchemy of Editing

The  longer title for this post is: Why You Must Love the People You Work With. Editing is, in many ways, more creative than people realize. Proofreading, of course, is a relatively straightforward job, requiring the editor have a knowledge of grammar rules, current trends (yes, even grammar has them), and house style guides. That being said, even certain grammar rules require a subjective look, e.g., “Does this sentence need a comma, or does it make sense without it?” (I’m not lying; CMOS 6.20 is “In a series whose elements are all joined by conjunctions, no commas are needed unless the elements are long and pauses helpful.”)

But more than that, as an editor, you need to know if your editing style is going to work with the author’s style. I run into this a lot in the work I do with historical and UK fiction, and Henry and I both encounter it on ghost writing projects. Personally, I tend to consistently follow rules, such as ellipsis to indicate stuttering speech or trailing off and em dashes to show interruption (within quotation marks) or an interruption in the dialogue to explain movement (em dashes in the middle of dialogue but outside the quotation marks).

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Whist, Blood Pudding, and Pride & Prejudice

May 14, 2010 blog, Some Edited Titles in Print Comments Off on Whist, Blood Pudding, and Pride & Prejudice

A lot has happened in the past month, causing me to neglect the dear blog. In the past four weeks, I had a nasty cold that held on for at least two of those weeks, both parents came to visit, I worked on no less than five editing projects, and a number of books that I worked on were published. In particular, I copyedited a novella collection that will come out from Sourcebooks this winter, which gave me the opportunity to not only work with two authors I’ve sincerely enjoyed working with before, but also gave me the chance to work on a novella for the first time (pretty much the same as other fiction, only, you know, shorter) and work with a debut author on her Pride & Prejudice re-imagining (which is also a kind of A Christmas Carol re-imaging—very cool).

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Every Project Is Nuanced

January 17, 2010 blog, Notes on Editing Comments Off on Every Project Is Nuanced

Editing goes through phases.

The amount of editing a manuscript needs depends not only on how it has been prepared but also on the audience for which the work is intended and the publication schedule.

Click here to see a larger version of the image below for a full diagram of what we’re talking about.

Or course, estimating how long the editing will take requires looking at all parts of a manuscript and can be based on page count or on total number of words; in any case, we try to take into account any complexities in the text, documentation, or illustrations, as well as the medium in which the editing will be done—on paper or in an electronic file.

As a rule, we follow the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) rates.

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Elemental Love Styles Published

January 16, 2010 blog, Some Edited Titles in Print Comments Off on Elemental Love Styles Published

In Elemental Love Styles, Dr. Craig Martin defines the romantic character–leanings of the four elements and explores how each type interacts with themselves and their partner.

I was the copyeditor on it for Dr. Martin’s publishing house, Beyond Words/Atria Books. The great thing about this editing job was that the author and editors before me did a wonderful job getting the manuscript ready, so that made my work much easier.

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May 4, 1977 blog, copyediting, editing services Comments Off on Copyediting

Hire a copyediting guru.

Copyediting requires attention to every word in a manuscript, a thorough knowledge of the style to be followed, and the ability to make quick, logical, and defensible decisions. This type of editing, sometimes referred to as line editing, is usually undertaken when a manuscript is being prepared or has been accepted for print or online publication, but this is not a hard-set rule.

The full scope of our copyediting services fall into two orders of concern: substantive and mechanical copyediting:

Substantive copyediting

Substantive copyediting deals with the organization and presentation of existing content. It involves:

• Rephrasing for smoothness or to eliminate ambiguity
• Reorganizing or tightening text
• Reducing or simplifying documentation
• Recasting tables and other remedial activities

Mechanical editing

Mechanical editing deals mainly with grammar, syntax, formatting, and usage at the most basic level:

• Consistency in capitalization, spelling, hyphenation, table format, use of abbreviations, and citations
• Correctness of punctuation, including ellipsis points, parentheses, and quotation marks
• Consistency between numbers, tables, illustrations, and so forth

How does it work?

Email us at [email protected]: in your message, include a description of the work, its word count, and attach a sample of the writing. One of us will be in touch about availability, turnaround time, and rates. Whichever editor you choose (and/or who we think would fit best) to read your work then marks-up your document using track changes in Word. We ask for a minimum turnaround time of 3–4 weeks for each pass of copyediting on a full manuscript. When your mark-up is complete, we send it back to you with an invoice. Net-30 terms with PayPal or check.

As always, we follow the Editorial Freelancers Association rates.















Lend us your type and trust, and we'll give you our minds.

~The Editors

Email: info (at) cogitatestudios (dot) com for more information.

Basic Book-Editing Services



Ghostwriters make you shine. Many different walks of life have hired us to ghostwrite for them and, in each case, we’ve had varying degrees of involvement. Sometimes we’ve been hired to edit and clean up a rough draft, …

Book Proposals


Well-read book proposals get published. Sometimes you don’t have to write an entire manuscript before submitting a proposal. In the case of many non-fiction and graphic novel projects, for example, publishers, literary agents, and commissioning editors will ask for …

Developmental Editing


Developmental editing digs deep. More radically address the content of your work: • Main premise • Plot structure • Character development • Overall organization • Writing style • Word choice • Dialogue This kind of editing, because it requires rewriting and/or reorganization, should be completed …



Proofreaders save the day. Proofreading is the last major stage of the editing process. As always, reading and consistent marking remain essential. When we proofread, we read word-for-word, noting all punctuation, paragraphing, capitalization, and italics, and ensure that …



Hire a copyediting guru. Copyediting requires attention to every word in a manuscript, a thorough knowledge of the style to be followed, and the ability to make quick, logical, and defensible decisions. This type of editing, sometimes …

Query Letters


We’re former agents and in-house editors We’ve seen hundreds of pitches. As query letter ghostwriters, we’ve helped many authors find publishers. The unique set themselves apart because they know how to speak the language, and we help isolate and …

Reader Reports


The fastest, least expensive avenue Whether it’s a short story, inspirational memoir, fictional novel, nonfiction book, old query letter, or new book proposal, we give the material a full review, covering a whole gamut of pertinent editorial issues, …