Donnelly-House Associates (DHA)
Freelance Affordable Independent-Novel Editing


You only get one chance to make a first impression.


As authors, we need to respect our audience and remove all unnecessary distractions from our story.


If you would like to engage our services, or have questions, please contact us at this e-mail address:


We offer a FREE analysis of the first chapter (or more) of your novel if you are unsure of its editing state. Be forewarned that we almost always find errors, issues, & problems.


It's never too late to have a nicely-edited novel.


Most self-published novels need additional polish and clean-up editing.


We offer low-cost, affordable proofreading and copy editing of independently published novels.


More than a couple of editing errors for a novel is too many.


As a writer and author, you deserve to have a nicely-edited novel.
– Your novel deserves to be properly edited.
– Your readers and fans deserve to have a novel that is a joy to read with as few editing issues as possible.


We generally do not work on non-fiction and other works, but you can contact us to discuss other possibilities.

NOTE: I am ONLY performing Final Cleanup Forensic Edits of manuscripts now. No more first-time, full edits.
After you have had your book edited by one or more editors, I can perform a cleanup edit immediately prior to publication to catch any missed problems. And no matter how good your editor is, there is almost always at least a handful of issues, if not more than that. (hopefully not too many more than that) And more than one or a couple is too many. Ideally, there should be none. I can help you reach that goal, to insure you have a professional, well-edited book. A book you deserve, and a book your readers deserve.

Your novel is most-probably in dire need of a Final Cleanup Forensic Edit. Even if it has already been edited by one or more editors and run though multiple pre-readers.

We specialize in proofreading and copy editing of independent, self-published E-book and Publish-On-Demand novels and other fiction by beginning, amateur, and more-advanced writers and authors, at a low-cost, affordable price.

If you would like to engage our services, or have questions, please contact us at this e-mail address:

Also, this web page is basically the "Legal Document" that covers our agreement, so please read it in its entirety if you decide to hire us. Ask if you have any questions.

Even if your novel has already been proofed or published, a fresh eye is often very valuable (it's amazing what can be missed). If your novel has already been published, it is never too late to polish it, and then re-publish. You only get one chance to make a first impression. This is particularly important for a series, where new readers usually start with Book #1. As authors, we need to respect our audience and remove all unnecessary distractions from our story.

Remember: Nothing screams "Amateur!" like typos, grammar mistakes, sloppy formatting, errors in logical progression and continuity, lacking story flow, and other similar issues. The following strongly-suggested concepts from an excerpt of the Smashwords e-book publishing website Style Guide FAQ should be embraced by all authors:

Q: How important is it that my book has been proofread and copy edited?
Extremely important! Don’t publish your book at Smashwords until it has been thoroughly proofread for grammar, spelling and typos. One of the biggest criticisms leveled against self-published authors is that their work is not professional quality. Don’t perpetuate this stereotype. Take pride in your work and invest the necessary effort to have others proofread and copy edit your book prior to publishing it on Smashwords or anywhere else. Your readers will thank you and your book will be more successful.

We have fairly extensive experience in writing, proofing and editing, mostly with technical documentation, manuals and other literature, particularly in the area of computer software user manuals, and we have a good understanding and command of the English language. Along with our recent experience in editing novels, this will allow us to perform a high-level edit of your work.

Our current references include a recently-proofed, final forensic clean-up of an independently-published zombie novel, immediately prior to publication, two novels by author Shalini Boland, one post-publication, and one pre-publication, and CK Page's latest post-apocalyptic novellas. (Part 1 & now Part 2, and probably Part 3)
   See this page for our growing client reference list,
and    this page for an example edit notes document and
to see at what level we perform and what we can do for you.

It is of utmost importance that an author's hard work, book sales, and reputation not be negatively affected by editing issues and related problems with their novels. We can help you with these problems so your work will shine among the many other books that also have these problems.

We perform both a line edit and a content edit. (see below for more information) We strongly encourage you to read this full web page document, as it is not only our "agreement" ('soft contract') with you, but contains some valuable information and ideas that will help you create a more successful book, even if you do not choose us as your Editor of Choice.

Fee Amount and Costs: One-time fee per book/manuscript of 0.0006 cents per character (that is, all characters, including whitespace — yes, the count includes all characters including spacing and punctuation, because every single one of those will be checked for correctness — this is partly why per-character-based fee calculation makes so much sense), generally with a minimum amount of $100. That works out to about $0.0036 per 'standard' 6-letter word. Compare this to $0.04 per word, or more, that is more the 'going rate' – or even a penny a word — obviously we are not doing this to 'make money' — see below-bottom for a short explanation about that. (at "We have decided to offer our services...")

Note that we may tweak this number depending on various factors, such as the number of issues found. We generally expect a decently-written story to have less than 100 issues. (depending on size) But sometimes writers may not be very good at punctuation, or other aspects of writing, and/or their pre-readers don't help them out as much as one would like. So we add an additional $25 per 100 issues found (usually prorated for partial values), with a maximum $100 (500+ issues). However, this is increased by 100/$25 per additional 10K words over 70K words. (also prorated) Note that "issues" are a judgment call, but we tend to be judicious in their notation, so most all of them will be "valid" most of the time.

This helps out writers who have a cleaner manuscript. Since it is impossible to tell how many issues will be found, we can't "set the fee in stone" as an absolute number. But you will have an absolute potential "worst case" amount that you can know will not be exceeded. (unless, for example, 1,000 issues are found, or something "absurd" like that (750+/-? issues) – then we will have to discuss what is happening and renegotiate – in that scenario, if you decide to not continue, you pay nothing) And we are also willing to work with authors who might be considered "low income" for lack of a better description.

We feel this fee structure guarantees both you and DHA a more practical and computable cost without 'hidden' and unknown costs cropping up, so you know exactly with absolute surety what it will cost to have your novel proofread and edited (as the BASE amount). (versus per hour, per "page" (average page length), per "word" (average word length), or flat fee ('what the market will bear' and higher guesstimations) and other structures)

This generally works out to be approximately $250 per "normal-sized" novel of ~70,000 words. Short novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories will be less, taking into account the usual $100 minimum. (and we are not adverse to potentially offering some form of "discount", at our sole discretion, if we find 'very few issues') If there are over 500 issues found, the price would top out at $350 maximum. (that is basically set in stone as a "worst case scenario" for 70,000 words or less — note the 100/$25 'additional' note mentioned above – AND except for 'excessive issues' scenarios (750+/-? issues))

We will let you know the character count and cost upon submission of your work, with complete confidentiality and security of your hard work. Trust is very important to us. We hope you will become a return-client with your future novels. (and we appreciate referrals)

You can use the quick, plain-text Character Count Cost-Estimator Utility below to see how many characters are in a manuscript with a potential, calculated, estimated price. Note that this is not the guaranteed amount, merely a suggested amount that will probably be close to the final BASE number. We can perform a more accurate count on the actual text when in-hand. (note that the text submitted here is not saved in any way, just processed to get the count) Simply copy and paste the FULL text (the story, proper) into the box and click the Count and Calculate submit button. (although we do (and should) edit the "whole book", which would include author forewords, front matter, back matter, etc.)

Or, you may enter the Character Count or Word Count to get a more accurate or very general idea (respectively) for a price. The "industry standard" of an average of 6 characters per word is used for Word Count. Word Count will probably be a low or high estimate, but will give you a general, ball-park idea. (entering a value for Character Count or Word Count overrides the text entry processing)

Or, if you only have a page count, assuming you use the standard conventions for manuscript format (1" margins, 25 double-spaced lines per page, and a 12 point non-proportional font like Courier; either in electronic or printed form), then a good rule of thumb is one page equals 250 words. If it's single-spaced, then you would double that. If your margins are different, you will have to estimate it based on this information. Most word processors have a Word Count feature, as well.

Character Count:   0   — (approximate or entered value)
Word Count:   0   — (approximate or entered value)
Estimated Price:   $?.??    — ($100 minimum usually applies)
Your Character Count:
Your Word Count:
OR full text:


Submission formats can be discussed and agreed upon. Electronic formats like MS Word / Libre Office Writer (.doc; .docx; .odt), PDF, Kindle e-book (.mobi; .prc) and plain text documents are some possibilities, and preferable in some ways. Hard copy is also an option (but requires slower snail-mail). It also depends on what kind of "mark-up" is desired. No matter what submitted document format is chosen, it also helps to have some form of "source document", as well.

Turn-around times can be discussed and we can give a general idea of how long the process will most-probably take. However, we are a small shop and this is not a "fast food service". Good, accurate proofreading and editing is a slow, painstaking process, if it is being done well and thoroughly. And there are other factors, such as the number of issues found, the mark-up process, where a novel is in our cue of works being edited, etc... But generally one to two weeks is an average time span.

Nota bene: We are not English language perfectionists and we do not have English language "perfect pitch". If you want or need 100% perfect English grammar, sentence structure and punctuation usage, you should hire a professional-level editor. The latter will probably be fairly expensive, and usually quite a bit more expensive than our services, especially a good one, which is what you would want in that scenario.

However, if you are mostly concerned with having your novel proofread and edited so that most errors, mistakes, and issues are caught, so that you have an acceptable novel for publication, and at an affordable pre-production price, then that is the service we provide.

Don't get us wrong. We can write a more or less "perfect" English grammar sentence and paragraph if we absolutely have to. We're quite familiar with Strunk and White, The Chicago Manual of Style, etc. However, split infinitives and dangling participles don't particularly bother us (although we can let you know about them if that is what you want), especially if they read better than the technically correct form. And let’s face it: anyone who knows how to use the Future Pluperfect Passive tense and voice correctly is most likely clinically insane by definition. But we know that some people are into that sort of thing. We also catch almost all uses of the Past Tense of the Adjective. (do you have a sense of humor? we hope so)

We mostly perform common proofreading and 'simple' copy editing, such as spelling, missed words and doubled-words, incorrect homonyms, most misuse, odd, and absence of correct punctuation, etc. (the reality is that most readers wouldn't know a dangling participle if it was hanging from a cliff by its fingertips, don't know what an infinitive is (split or otherwise), and do not know that there even is a future pluperfect case — and they (therefore) don't care)

Additionally we can find issues with illogical and hard-to-understand situations (e.g., had a gun two paragraphs or pages ago and now does not without explanation, etc.), awkward writing styles, sentence formation, word usage, and the like.

We can also offer some creative input, as well. The latter is difficult to define. But it includes overall theme, tone, story arc, dialogue suggestions, character enhancement, action analysis, reading flow, descriptive language, and related writing issues. Everything is always a suggestion. Sometimes a strong suggestion. But it is up to the author to use any notes provided or not.

We will work with you as much as possible based on our service and fees, but we will not "hold your hand", or "be available at all hours of the day and night", or "be at your beck and call while you re-edit your novel based on our findings and suggestions", or "answer multiple phone calls or e-mails per day (or week, or month)", etc... Our fees are small for a reason, and that will get you what you need at an affordable price. Beyond that, we may be able to negotiate another arrangement if it is mutually acceptable. However, we prefer to operate primarily as described here.

We can almost guarantee you that we will not "find everything", but our goal is to find 99.9% (+/-) of the issues. And we think we will get closer than most other services, especially those in our service price range. You will most likely be surprised at what we do find, and be very happy with our results. Even with "finished, ready-to-publish" novels. (or an already-published novel — too many of them, it seems, unfortunately)

After being edited by our service, your novel should receive very few, if any, "bad reviews" on websites like Amazon.com due to misspellings and punctuation issues, and other similar grammar and sentence structure issues, all of which can, do, and will negatively affect your sales. (on the book in question, and your other works, current and future)

Almost worse than that, there is also the author reputation issue, which is of great importance. A quick perusal of Amazon.com reviews shows that reader complaints about lack of proper editing and how it hurts the reading process are an epidemic. Please do not let your hard work fall into this category, no matter how you decide to solve the problem. (that is, using us, or another good editor)

Again, unless someone is an "English Language Nazi", your novel should pass muster with most readers after we work on it. (most ELN's are teachers, professors, English Lit majors, editors, writers, 'intellectuals', and others who cringe at encountering things like dangling participles, misuse of the pluperfect tense, or anything that is not absolutely perfect English — we will catch SOME of these 'extreme' issues, but usually not all, or possibly even most)

We have decided to offer our services, in part, due to the plethora of badly-edited, poorly-edited, and effectively unedited novels being put into the market place by beginning and amateur writers, and those who do not have access to decent or good proofreaders and editors, particularly those self-publishing and independently publishing e-books and Print-on-Demand paperbacks. So our intent falls more under a 'service to the community'. (again, based on our very low prices, we are obviously not doing it to make money)

We know that most of these authors cannot afford to pay "exorbitant prices" to have their novels edited by professional editors. (often in the $2,000 to $5,000 range; but even $1,000 is a lot of money) And they are not publishing through a formal Publishing House where these services are included in their publication agreements. Most of these authors have nowhere to turn. Until now.

Note that you should have multiple pre-readers of your work, and they will most likely find some issues, but usually none of them will be able to provide the service we do. In fact, we prefer and suggest that you have your pre-readers go through your novel first before we get it. If we find "too many issues", we will stop and let you know, cancel your agreement, and provide a FULL refund of any advance monies paid or pre-paid, in full or in part, if any. Or work with you to figure out a solution. (noting the "$25 per 100 additional issues with $100 cap" caveat as mentioned above)

Should we find ourselves in the above situation, we can then possibly renegotiate based on our findings. We are a "final clean-up service", not teachers of writing and English, so you must / should have a minimal understanding of the English language and how to write a basic English language sentence with a minimal understanding of grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. (and related items, like capitalization, etc.) This is what our fee structure is based upon. (and, let's face it, we are not miracle-workers, nor should we be, or need to be — however, we will usually try to work with those who need a little extra help)

In the event of the above situation occurring, we may, or may not, be able to renegotiate a mutually-acceptable fee if you so choose, based on our initial pre-findings. But at least it won't cost you money to find out that your novel has severe issues and needs more work, or 'advanced editing'. We will give you a quick, brief "report" on what we find (FREE gratis) with suggestions for how you may want to proceed. (with or without us)

We may or may not work out a different fee arrangement for works that are re-submitted for additional, secondary, follow-up clean-up editing (if desired). We can talk about that should that situation arise, on a case-by-case basis. But we do often suggest, and offer included as part of our agreement, a final read after you have performed the edits we suggest, just to catch any errant issues, right before publishing. This is important because editing usually creates more issues.

We attempt a work ethic of not being here to try to "get rich" off of your hard work, but be helpful and try to help you publish a nice novel that people will want to read, enjoy reading, and hopefully encourage others to read, and do so at a very affordable price for the category of writers and authors we target.

Remember:   In this market and high-tech publishing world in which we live, it is NEVER too late to have your e-book and POD hard copy books edited for issues that affect reader enjoyment, book sales, and author reputation. In "the old days", with publishing houses and large print runs of books, it was not possible to perform these "real-time" editing functions like can be done in today's style of self-publication and independent publishing.

We strongly encourage authors to take advantage of this ability. (using our services, or someone else's — but PLEASE do have a nicely-edited, polished novel — you deserve that, and your novel deserves that, and your readers and fans deserve that — a small investment now will result in greater rewards later)

As you can see by our presentation here, we are a little casual. But don't let that fool you. The service you receive will end up being very professional in results. The "contract" between us will basically be this website page content with a "gentleman's agreement" of attempted "best practices", "due diligence", and "mutual benefit", in the context provided and noted herein.

We will probably ask you for a publishable review and reference for our services. This is not required, but would be appreciated, as well as a link from your website, or other similar web reference.

We do request a Notation of Editing Credit for editing and/or being the editor in the novel or other work. Some note as "Editor(s):", or "Editing:", or "Edited by", or "Additional Editing:", etc., with the following (for example) as a name, and a way for people to get in touch with us:
      William Donnelly — DonnellyHouse.net
This Notification of Editing Credit should be noted toward the beginning of the book, ideally on the Colophon page (EXAMPLE), in ALL forms of the "book" (e.g., e-book, hardback, paperback, audio book, etc...), and also in all future printings, versions, and editions.

If you would like to engage our services, or have questions, please contact us at this e-mail address:

NB: Modifications to this "agreement" may be made from time to time, and those changes also apply to prior agreements, in a common sense and legal sense manner, as it would pertain to both parties in an equally beneficial manner.


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