How It Works (FAQ)

Although this list of frequently asked questions details all of my services, please keep in mind that I am only offering formatting and pre-made covers at this time. Thank you.


All services

What is the best way to reach you to ask about your services?

Fill out my contact form on my contact page or my services page, or email me at I will get back to you within 1-2 business days.

Do you have a contract?

Yes. Before any work begins, I will email you a digital contract for you to read and sign. Digital signatures are accepted.

What forms of payment do you accept?

The most common payment methods include Paypal and Facebook Pay, though I am flexible. If you have another preferred payment method, let me know.

Do I have to pay all at once?

As an indie author myself, I know how overwhelming it can be to get quotes for these services and realize they don’t fit into your budget, so I offer a payment plan for those who can’t afford to pay a lump sum.

How can I get my book featured on your site?

Once my service is complete, I will send you a quality questionnaire. This allows you to provide feedback on my service, whether or not you enjoyed it, and tell me what I can do better in the future. The questionnaire also asks your permission for me to feature your book on my Clients’ Books page and asks if you’d like to give me a testimonial to show future potential clients what you thought of my work. If you’d rather not be listed on the site, you can always say no.



What sets you apart from other editors?

I don’t just mark up your document, hand it back to you, and wish you luck. I do my best to explain why I’m suggesting the things I am, and I like to give everything a second pass and clear the editorial markings from the document, leaving authors with a clean final copy.

What materials do you need to start editing?

Just your finished manuscript.

Do you need my manuscript to be formatted a certain way?

Nope! One of the first things I do with any manuscript is format it to best fit my editing process, so you can hand it over however it is and I will take care of it. I usually set it to size 12 in a readable font if it’s not already (Times New Roman and Book Antiqua are my favorites) and I personally edit best with spacing set to 1.15.

How does editing work?

Once an author sends me their manuscript, I will edit using Microsoft Word’s tracked changes, which puts suggestions directly into the document in a separate color, and I will leave comments and explanations in the margins. I send the chapters to the author, one at a time, for them to review, revise, accept or reject my suggestions, and reply to any of my comments. They then send the chapters back to me for a second pass and to clear the document of all editorial markings.

How long does editing take?

It depends on the book. Children’s books are fast and only take a few days. I usually request at least two months for a novel (depending on word count) because it takes a bit longer to go through two passes with the author making corrections in between.

Will you make my book perfect?

No editor can make a book perfect. We are only human. They say that no matter how many people go over a book, there will always be a few errors in it.

What I can do, however, is promise that I will always do my best and give your book my full attention. My second (and sometimes third) editing pass ensures the amount of potential errors are kept to an absolute minimum and that the quality of your book will shine. I am an OCD perfectionist, so I like to think that’s my secret editing weapon. 😉

What if I disagree with one of your suggestions?

That’s perfectly fine. An editor’s word is not law. Copyedits that affect spelling, punctuation, and grammar are usually hard to argue against because those follow style guidelines. But, anything that could be construed as opinion should be taken as such. If I suggest a change that you disagree with, let me know. Let’s talk about it. If we can’t find a compromise, you have the final word and how it’s handled is up to you. In the end, this is your story and you need to be proud of it when it’s finished.



What materials do you need to start formatting?

I will need your fully edited manuscript, and if I’m building your e-book, I will also need a finished cover image set to at least 1600 x 2400. For both formats, I will need the following information to add certain front and back matter pages.

I will definitely need:

  • Your author name as you want it to appear in your book.
  • The names of anyone you want credited on your copyright page. Such names usually include cover artist, cover designer, mapmaker, editor—anyone who contributed something that will be published in the book.
  • If you have chapter titles, let me know whether or not you want a table of contents.
  • Either your website, email address, or most active social media URL (for the copyright page).

If you would like these, I will need:

  • A dedication.
  • Acknowledgements.
  • An about-the-author bio approximately 100–300 words long.
  • An author picture.
  • Up to two social media links to add to your about-the-author page.
  • A call to action. (This is a line on the last page that asks readers to leave you a review if they enjoyed your book. I do not recommend these, as I believe they detract from the professionalism of a book, but some authors like to have them.)

Not everyone has these, but if you do, I will need:

  • Your book or series logo.
  • Your publisher’s name, address, and logo.
  • An ISBN number (self-publishing through many sites do not require this to be listed).
  • Your publisher’s website URL.

How does formatting work?

Once you send me the manuscript and any other information I need for front and back matter pages, I will begin. If I have any questions during formatting, I will contact you via email or your preferred method of communication.

For paperback, I use Microsoft Word and my experience and knowledge to build an aesthetically pleasing and professional book. When I am finished, I will email you the formatted .docx and an upload-ready PDF.

For e-book, I use Microsoft Word for the initial setup, Notepad++ for the HTML and CSS coding, Calibre for file conversion, and Epubcheck to ensure there are no coding errors. When I am finished, I will email you a .mobi file and an .epub file, and I will also send you the HTML document and any images I used that went into the building of the book. I believe it is important for an author to have the working files of an e-book as well as the final product, just in case.

How long does formatting take?

I ask for one week to get your book formatted. In reality it only takes a couple of days, but I like to triple-check my work.

What if my formatted book needs revisions?

No worries! When you pay me to format your book, you’re getting unlimited tweaks and revisions. Any additions that are needed, any errors that need fixing, I do it all for free. However, this only applies to the format you’ve paid for. If you want your book completely reformatted in a new style or trim size, you’ll need to pay for it.


The Book Doctor

I’m not sure I understand. What exactly is The Book Doctor?

In layman’s terms, I proofread your book and check for the quality of your edits. If your book was edited well, there may just be a few mistakes (which is perfectly normal). I’ll proofread your book and let you know what (if any) mistakes I find.

If your book was edited poorly, I look at the reason. If you didn’t hire a professional editor, I’ll give you a partial edit up to the cost of The Book Doctor service, and I’ll recommend you hire an editor.

If you paid a professional editor to edit your book and they did a horrible job, I’ll fix it with a full line edit for no further cost. All you have to do is prove you paid an editor.

Why are you offering this service?

I never want to tell someone “your editor sucked” but in the indie industry, many people are offering editing services with no further qualification than “I like grammar.” I got my start because of my love for grammar, too, but I didn’t offer my services until I already had seven months’ experience working for an indie publisher and I had already studied the Chicago Manual of Style. Because so many of these “editors” are flooding the market, offering lower and lower prices to indie authors, the quality of edits people are getting are also dropping. It’s just not fair to the authors who are paying hard-earned money, going through the proper route, hiring an editor, and getting poor work quality out of it. If The Book Doctor can help bring the reputation of the self-publishing industry back up in any way, one book at a time, I’ll do it.

What materials do you need for The Book Doctor?

To start, all I need is a copy of your book. If you haven’t had it formatted yet, a Word doc or PDF will be fine. Just some way to read it. If you have had it formatted, I’d ask for any versions in which you’d also like to me to examine the formatting (paperback and/or e-book). These are the standard requirements for any proofreader.

If I determine it only needs a proofread, I won’t need anything else from you. If I determine it needs editing, I will need the manuscript in a Word doc. If you have already had an editor go through it, I will also need proof that you have paid for that service.

How does The Book Doctor work?

First, you send me your book. Then I read and examine about ten pages each from the beginning, middle, and end, to get my initial assessment.

If I find less than a 10% error rate (0-1 errors per 10 pages) I give your book a full proofread, checking for everything I’ve listed on The Book Doctor service page, and I return to you a list of every mistake I found and where it is located. This is standard proofreading.

If I find more than a 10% error rate (2 or more errors per 10 pages) I will need your manuscript in a Word doc to perform a partial line edit up to the cost of The Book Doctor service. See my editing service page for details on what a line edit includes. If you can prove you’ve paid for an editor, I will give it a full line edit for no further cost. Any edits I do will be returned to you as a Word doc with tracked changes on.

How long does The Book Doctor take?

If all you need is a proofread, it should take less than two weeks. If you need a partial line edit, it should take no more than three weeks. If you need a full line edit, it will depend on the size of the book, but should take no more than six weeks, depending on just how bad the previous edits are.

What if I disagree with your assessment?

My assessment is my own professional opinion, and you are not obligated to follow any of my advice. Should I recommend editing, you are by no means required to use me as your editor and are fully encouraged to shop around and find the right editor for your book if you believe the right editor to be someone other than myself. Any payments I receive for The Book Doctor service are non-refundable, regardless of my diagnosis for your book or the route you choose to take in response to my advice.


Pre-Made Covers

What is included in my pre-made purchase?

When you buy a pre-made cover, you will receive a 6″ x 9″ paperback cover in .png and .pdf formats, and you will receive a 1600 x 2400 e-book cover in .jpg and .tif formats.

This purchase covers free adjustments to the author name, title, back blurb, and any small text elements; a free spine width adjustment for the final paperback page count; and it includes three (3) free tweaks to the design.

What if I need more than three tweaks?

Any additional adjustments cost $5 each.

Can I get it in a different size instead of 6″ x 9″?

Yes, but changing the cover size ratio will cost an additional $10.

What if I just want an e-book (or paperback) cover?

If you love a cover you see but you only want it in e-book size, it will cost you $55. However, I suggest purchasing the full cover package just in case you want the paperback version at a later date. If you purchase a cover specifically for e-book and later decide you want the full wrap, you will need to pay the remaining $25.

I will not sell a paperback-only cover. This is because many authors believe they can “cheat the system” by cropping the paperback cover for their e-book. If you want paperback-only, purchase the full package and just don’t use the e-book cover.

What happens once I purchase a cover?

Upon completion of payment, the cover is removed from my website and any other sites I’ve listed it on (to this date, the only other place my covers appear is on the Authors’ Tale website). At that point, we can discuss any tweaks and changes and get them in motion!

How long will it take me to get my cover?

From the date of purchase, all tweaks and adjustments will be done within one week, and your cover will be sent to you immediately afterward. If you require a spine width adjustment, I will do so as soon as you give me your final page count.

Who owns the rights to the cover design?

As soon as you purchase a cover, the rights are yours irrevocably. The cover becomes yours to do with as you please, with no restrictions! You are not required to credit me in your book (that’s the point of you owning the rights) but if you choose to do so, you may list “Cover design by Crystal MM Burton”.

Can I order a custom cover?

I am not taking on custom cover requests at this time. Sorry!


Don’t see your question here?

Feel free to contact me or fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you within 1-2 business days.