Author Archives: OlgaSushinsky

Top Resources for Self-Published Authors

It’s no secret that I love editing novels. Some manuscripts I receive take multiple and sometimes complex rounds of substantive editing, while others involve relatively simple proofreading. What makes all projects memorable is that each represents a unique story, a unique perspective. Since I work with many self-published authors, I felt compelled to post a list of resources on book design, formatting, and marketing. This list is meant to guide authors who are considering self-publishing, but are unsure where to start.

The Book Cover Designer

A compilation of premade book covers from all across the spectrum of genres. Here you’ll find everything, from romance book covers to covers for thrillers. If you decide to purchase a cover, you’ll be able to fill in with your book title and author name. Be on the lookout for special promotions!

Robin Ludwig Design

Offers both premade and custom-made book covers to suit your needs. Additionally, this designer can create author swag items, such as bookmarks, business cards, and post cards.

Cover Design Studio

A good resource for both book design and interior layout. You can find a number of premade covers and manuscript layouts for a reasonable price. Based on the images, these cover designs may work best with literary fiction. Authors of non-fiction may also find inspiration here.

Self Pub Book Covers

Features a collection of covers from different genres similarly to the Book Cover Designer.

99 Designs  

A platform for graphic designers to advertise their services with a large section on book design as well.

Be sure to check out listings on Fiverr and Reedsy too!

A word of caution: Avoid designing your own book cover. You will find many online resources on DIY cover design, but the process might be tricky, especially if you come from a different field.  Even if you are a designer by trade, it’s best to hire someone else to create the cover for you.



A great online platform for digital and PDF formatting. Very user friendly and easy to navigate. The company occasionally offers online tutorials and live events offering industry advice.


Offers professional interior templates for paperbacks and e-books. This option may for someone who wants to create a more elaborate interior layout.

Platforms such as, Ingram Spark, and Kindle Direct Publishing also provide some practical guidelines on formatting and distribution.


Net Galley

A perfect place to obtain book reviews designed to bring authors and readers together. This platform is used by publishers and independent authors alike. A word of caution: it may appear a bit pricey to some, but it’s possible to get a discount though Xpresso Book Tours, which is listed below.

Kirkus Reviews

Offers advertisement and book reviews to presses and indie authors alike. May also appear a bit pricey, but if you can afford it, go for it! It may pay you in the long run.

Xpresso Book Tours

Offers everything from blog tours to book reviews and features a section with premade book covers. You can also obtain access to NetGalley for a discounted price.

The Takeaway

There is no right or wrong way to publish a book. Some prefer having a traditional publisher to take care of everything, while others would rather be in control of the entire process. No matter which path you choose, it will involve a lot of hard work. If you decide to go through a traditional or hybrid publisher, you’ll likely experience a period of rejections or unanswered queries. If you choose self-publishing, the process itself might be faster, but you’ll be the one in charge of creating the perfect book and getting it out there. As a prospective author, you know what works best for your writing needs.

Good Luck!

Tips for Avoiding Freelancer Scams

A few weeks ago, a potential client approached me about a proofreading project. After I requested a writing sample, he quickly forwarded me the document that looked a lot like a paper on policy research. At first, everything seemed normal. He accepted my quote, and we agreed upon a tentative deadline.

Then red flags began showing up. His email was a combination of letters and numbers—which in itself looked suspicious. His name search yielded no online results about his professional identity. His email language quickly changed from overtly polite to very informal. What’s more, he insisted on paying with a certified bank check and asked for my name, phone number, and address. This made me feel a bit uneasy, but I did not want to refuse the project just yet. I googled “client wants to pay using check only” and found a link to a forum discussion about a situation very similar to mine. This search led me to discover that the document had been plagiarized from the web and was being actively used by scammers to create fake jobs for editors and translators.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scenario, and it will happen to many freelancers down the road. However, with a little vigilance, it’s not too difficult to weed out the scam offers. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before accepting a client offer.

Can you trace your client-in-question via online search databases? If not, can you establish their identity by other means? 

Firstly, I want to mention that there is nothing wrong about a person who does not own social media accounts. Some people like to avoid popular social media networks to maintain their privacy, while others might even feel intimidated by modern technology. So if you cannot find your contact’s Facebook profile, don’t fret just yet. Provided that the contact is valid, most likely you’ll be able to find some clues about their identity. If you cannot find any information about the contact online, consider asking them for a phone number. Most aspiring writers and business professionals will get excited about the idea of speaking to their editor on the phone. Once you have the contact’s phone and be able to reach the client, you’ll know it’s a real person.

Does the client-in-question ask a lot of questions about your services?

Most clients will ask a lot of questions about your professional background, your fees, and the types of services you offer. Those who are new to the editing world will likely want to know about the difference between substantive editing and copy editing. Most clients will provide some form of instructions on how deeply you should edit the document. Some will insist on structural editing, while others will make it clear they want light proofreading only. Naturally, this depends on a client, and some will want to skip the interview process altogether and plunge into the project. In this case, you’ll be the one to ask questions about the type of services they need. The client-in-question accepted my offer right away, without discussing the fee or the editing level he needed. This looked too good to be true.

Do they insist on paying via check only?

Just like with the social media, everyone is at a different level of Internet use. Some are more comfortable paying in an old-fashioned way, and this is perfectly fine. As long as you manage to establish your client’s identity, you shouldn’t have a problem with the check. Most likely, the client will provide you with a valid reason for choosing this mode of payment. For instance, their company issues certified checks to independent contractors, or they are simply uncomfortable with Interac transfer (This is very rare in modern days but nonetheless possible).

My client-in-question flat out refused to discuss all other modes of payment, insisting on a check only. I later discovered that some scammers use a special advanced fee scheme to send a fake check on the amount greater than the initial amount billed and then ask to to pay the difference. I was horrified by the discovery but also relieved that I hadn’t gone along with the project.

Are they honest about the prospect of hiring someone else?

This is probably the least pleasant part of the negotiations process. You seem to tick all the boxes, but the client tells you there are other candidates for the job. Maybe you’ll hear again from the client in a few days or maybe not. As frustrating as it can be, this form of honesty is actually a good sign. The client is serious enough about the project to share the hiring process with you. If you’re fortunate to get the job, it will happen after the client has thought hard, interviewed multiple freelancers, and the chosen you as the best fit.

A final note…

The good news is that most freelance offers you’ll receive will be legit. If your contact keeps open lines of communication, asks a lot of questions, and is willing to negotiate the fees or methods of payment, most likely, this person can be trusted. Throughout your freelance career, you will meet many talented individuals who will be eager to collaborate with you and will fully appreciate your part in their creative process. However, there’ll also be a few times when you’ll be contacted by someone you should probably ignore.

So you want to be a medical editor?


By Olga Sushinsky

AMA Manual of StyleIf you’ve ever thought about pursuing a career in medical editing, you might want to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the industry. At first, it may appear daunting, but learning this craft is perfectly doable with a little help from print and online resources, such as medical dictionaries and industry-specific style guides. If you do come from a science background, the odds of success are in your favour, but if not, you can still master medical editing. Regardless of your level of expertise, it is important to have these resources on hand.

The American Medical Association’s AMA Manual of Style 

Most likely, you will be provided with log-in access to the AMA website when you rece­­ive a medical editing gig. However, it’s also a good idea to invest in a physical copy of the AMA Manual of Style if you plan to edit medical documents long-term…

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APA Resources List

Whether you are a high school/university student or a scholar working on the first journal article, you must have encountered formatting/citation issues at least once. Depending on your subject area, you might have been required to format your paper either according to The Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, or APA style. There are many more, including CP and SAA, but the APA, MLA, and Chicago are the most common ones in academic writing. Used as an abbreviation for the American Psychological Association, APA format is normally used for papers concerning social sciences topics, such as psychology, economics, statistics, and education. Here I compiled the list of the most common issues that arise when formatting and/or citing a paper in the APA style.



Citing Government Documents



Tables and Figures


Using et al.



English Grammar Resources for Newbies and Well-Seasoned Writers

Are you finding English grammar rules mind-boggling? Perhaps, you’ve got amazing ideas but are feeling stuck because the difference between past perfect and simple past won’t let you be. Fortunately, there is no need to remember absolutely everything about the language to be a good writer. Here are some of the best resources on English grammar.

Booher, Dianna. Booher’s Rules of Business Grammar 101 Fast and Easy Ways to Correct the Most Common Errors. New York: McGraw Hill, 2009.

Written in a humorous tone, this book will guide you through all the common grammar pitfalls, including the infamous dangling modifiers, the lie/lay combo, indefinite pronouns, and irregular verbs. Although the book is mainly geared towards business writers, anyone, from an ESL student to a well-seasoned copywriter, can benefit from Booher’s Rules.

Ensohn, Amy. The Copyeditor’ Handbook A Guide to Publishing and Corporate Communications. London: University of California Press Ltd., 2006.

In this book, you’ll find anything you need to know about the art of copy editing, from copy editor’s marks for hard copy to practical information on how to edit tables, numbers, and graphs. The Copyeditor’s Handbook is a good starting point for anyone interested in an editing career. It’s also a good source for professional writers who want to know about elements that deserve special attention during the self-editing/proofreading process.

Ruvinsky, Maxine. Practical Grammar A Canadian Writer’s Resource, 2nd Ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Everything you needed to know about parts of speech, verbs, sentence structure, and punctuation can be found in this book. Its chapters are short, simple, and organized in a clear, concise way that will appeal to both absolute beginners and advanced English speakers. Each chapter contains exercises for readers to test themselves and to discover areas of improvement.

Stilman, Anne. Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling, Style, Usage, Grammar, and Punctuation, 2nd Ed. Cincinatti: Writer’s Digest Books, 2010.

Similarly to Ruvinsky’s Practical Grammar, Grammatically Correct by Stilman represents a compilation of rules one needs to know to be a successful writer. Although this book is organized a bit differently, its essence remains the same. It provides a breakdown of the major grammar rules and touches upon the common issues surrounding spelling and punctuation. The book’s well-organized table of contents, along with the index, makes the content extremely informative and user-friendly.

Crag, Catherine et al. Editing Canadian English The Essential Canadian Guide Revised and Updated, 2nd Ed. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2000.

Although the title implies the book had been written for Canadian market, anyone eager to learn about differences between British and American spellings can benefit from this book. It’s organized thematically into tables, each representing a particular convention, such as -ae vs. -e. Editing Canadian English is a good reference point for those who cannot remember all the spelling variations.