Barbara McNicholName: Barbara McNichol

Website URL: and

Social Media Links: LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Describe what you do an editor: I specialize in Content/Copy Editing of Nonfiction Books, mostly about business, how-to, relationships, finances, spirituality, memoir. I also offer a Manuscript Review for manuscripts that aren’t yet ready for nitty-gritty editing.   

How did you come to do what you’re doing today? I earned a degree in Honors Journalism but in my newspaper jobs, I loved working on the copy desk most. I had jobs in PR and corporate communications before earning a master’s degree from University of Denver in Mass Communications. In all of my jobs, I enjoyed rewriting others’ works more than writing from scratch. After leaving the corporate world to help my new husband in his business—a disaster—I started my own editing business in 1994. Over 22 years, I’ve built a name mostly through networking and referrals. Today, I enjoy editing nonfiction manuscripts and teaching authors how to write better from the get-go through my WordShops. 

What are some instances where an author should hire an editor?

When shouldn’t they? It’s easy to tell when a piece hasn’t been edited well. People often put out their ideas in ways that haven’t been thoroughly reviewed, edited, or polished. The goal should be to communicate as clearly and concisely as possible so the message gets read. When the writing seems tedious, people label it “too much work” and put it aside. Missed opportunity.

What is one simple tip for writers to improve their writing today?

Whack wordiness and use of active voice. You’ll hear many more in the webinar. 

What do you most enjoy about what you do?

Getting this response from authors I work with: “You make my writing sound just like me only better.” 

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?

William Zinsser: On Writing Well

Stephen King’s memoir on writing

Kay DuPont: Don’t Let Your Participles Dangle in Public

Patricia O’Connor: Woe Is I

Grammar Girl for her marketing prowess and simple ways to communicate language issues

Christine Testolini, Dee Dukehart, and Andrea Beaulieu for encouraging me to develop and deliver a WordShop that I love! It’s called STRENGTHEN Everything You Write 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?

When I was 15 years old, I was on national TV (in Canada) twirling a hoop baton pregame at the Grey Cup championship (Canada’s Superbowl). My 30 seconds of fame!

What’s next for you?

Taking the concept of Word Trippers and, through Word Trippers Tips, distributing them far and wide. Then authors, business people, language students, and more can have a handy, practical reference for correctly using words that trip them up. Examples: except vs. accept; effect vs. affect; convince vs. persuade.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

People have a voice, a desire, a dream to make a difference through the written word. It’s more than words on paper; it’s their contribution to the world; it’s who they are.

I encourage them to do it in the most quality way possible—it’s that important. I support them in that effort with the best editing and language education I can deliver.


Want to hear more of Barbara’s insights on editing and writing? Join NFAA for the teleseminar “Strengthen Your Writing with Techniques Editors Use” September 28, 2016 at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST. Go to