paint by letters

the home of Julian Stuart



about Julian
contact for a quote





Once upon a time, Julian, aged in the single digits, was reading a book. This happened a lot. But this book—this book had a spelling mistake.
Books weren't supposed to have spelling mistakes. Scandalised, small Julian asked the fateful question: Whose job was it to make sure that didn't happen?
There were people, came the answer, who made the books perfect. They were called "editors". Yes, that was a thing someone could truly get paid to do.
And a light went on above small Julian's head, and never went off again. And they lived happily ever after.

about Julian

Julian Stuart has spent most of their life buried in stories. Fiction has been there to support them and give them hope through every difficult moment; everything important in their life, they're pretty sure, can be traced back to a story that found them at the right time. Their goal is to help there be more good stories in the world—stories that are the most themselves they can be, and that do their authors proud, and that put voices into the world that we all need to hear—and to give the people who want to write those stories the confidence that they're worth telling.

Julian is a queer, agender, neurodivergent nerd who lives with chronic disability. They have been editing both professionally and for fun for twenty years, in contexts ranging from real estate appraisal reports to government communiqués to epic novel-length fanfiction. If it helps, they've also been a multi-instrumental musician and singer, sociolinguist and opera starter-pack polyglot, private tutor, baker, barista, record store maven, chief housekeeper and problem-solver to a large office, technical writer and illustrator, and unflappable tech support diplomat. They are a staunch defender of kindness, loud guitars, mutual aid, vaccines, inclusion, indoor gardening (ask them about their haworthias), and having feelings about things.

They have lived on the internet since about 2000; insofar as their physical existence is relevant, they're on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land now and sometimes they see kangaroos in the park, but they were born and raised in Western Canada and it shows in both their vowels and their politics.

They like helping.


"Julian Stuart is the sharpest and most attentive editor I've ever worked with. They take a huge amount of care in shaping every aspect of their editorial work, whether it's copyediting, developmental editing, proofreading, or overall editorial assessments (all of which they do fantastically). Every time I've worked with them on a project, I've been blown away by how adept they are at zeroing in on weak spots I may not have seen, and by how thoughtful and kind they are in suggesting changes to make the work as strong as it can be. They'll make your work absolutely sing."
- Lillian Boyd, editor and writer

"Julian's insights are consistently sharp, precise, and immensely valuable; I would recommend them to anyone looking for a kind and thoughtful editor who will improve whatever they touch."
- Sarah Gailey, author

"Julian is a truly vital gift: an editor who not only cares about enhancing a story's voice and message, but seeing to its heart, past what it's trying to be, to what it's actually about. Particularly rare and lovely for neurodivergent writers, their editing skills help unearth and refine points from our unique, complex, and sometimes hard-to-express points of view into something powerful and clear."
- RoAnna Sylver, editor and author

"Julian is a thorough and deeply insightful editor with an incredible work ethic. They approach every project with great skill, integrity, and care, and they prioritize making authors (and collaborators!) feel seen and heard. Their clients are lucky to have them."
- Chelle Parker, editor

"Julian's smart and supportive approach was just the boost my first novel needed to make it to publication. They're a delight to work with, every step of the way."
- GV Pearce, author

"Julian is an absolutely brilliant editor. They have a fantastic sense for what a story needs to become what it's trying to be and a gift for guiding writers to get there. Their insightful understanding, sharp skills, and kind support are exactly what any project needs."
- VC Audley, author


Please note prices are provided as a helpful guide and not a binding contract. All services must be formally quoted for and the quote accepted before work begins.
All prices quoted below are in USD.

Developmental Editing — 3¢ per word
Fiction: Adult and YA/NA, LGBTQIA+ and Genre fiction (SF/F/H/Rom/Crime) a specialty; any length*

You have: a completed first or second draft.
You want: a big-picture, structural assessment, looking at the plot, themes, pacing, emotional beats, and characterisation to produce the strongest possible version of the story you want to tell.

Julian will provide detailed feedback on all of the above, in the form of a revision letter which will cover general impressions and suggestions as well as flagging specific elements that are working or not working using comments in the manuscript. Julian will offer suggestions on any elements that could be combined, expanded, rearranged or simply omitted to make the structure sleek and powerful; identify any plot holes or unresolved threads, tonal or thematic mismatches, or problem areas; offer deep analysis of the effectiveness of the emotional core of the story and characters; and indicate anything that they think may alienate readers.

The prose itself will only be looked at to identify potential comprehension issues; it is best practise to leave nuts-and-bolts grammar and style repairs until all rewrites have been completed, to avoid paying for a lot of work that will then need to be redone.

**Please note: while Julian always tries to edit with empathy and compassion, this is not a sensitivity read. Julian highly recommends all authors should engage a separate sensitivity reader if your content requires one.

Most manuscripts will require more than one round of developmental editing, as it is difficult for both the author and the editor to effectively address all issues at once.

*Manuscripts longer than 70k may require a longer wait and turnaround time than standard. Please enquire with the project details.

*** ​

Copy Editing — 2¢ per word
Fiction: Adult and YA/NA; any length
Semi-Fiction: Game rulebooks, sourcebooks and manuals; any length
Non-Fiction: Memoir, creative non-fiction, product manuals, website copy; any length ​

You have: a completed manuscript that is structurally sound and has already been developmentally edited, if required.
You want: a close-read, detail-obsessed revision of the language of the piece itself, to increase clarity, readability, comprehension and flow, refine style, and remove any internal inconsistencies.

Julian will focus on flagging any grammar and style issues, always allowing for the voice of the piece to shine through. Every piece has its own vocabulary, especially in genre and speculative fiction; Julian will ensure your style is consistent throughout, checking names, dates, locations, mechanics, world-building elements, and other such details. Beyond that, if you have a preferred style guide or stylesheet, Julian will work to that, otherwise generally you will have the choice of Chicago or Oxford style (Chicago being recommended for North American publications) and spelling as per an appropriate regional dictionary (Merriam-Webster, OED, Canadian Oxford, Australian Oxford, etc.). Julian will scan closely for any issues with grammar, sentence construction, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb tenses, missing words, unclear phrasing, etc., and suggest fixes or flag any issues they are unsure of for your resolution.

Sometimes one copy edit is enough. However, with manuscripts that require heavy copyediting and thus significant revisions, Julian recommends allowing for a second pass to catch anything that may have been introduced during the revisions (in terms of continuity as well as mechanics), and to leave you feeling secure that the whole thing has been polished perfectly. Any clients who book a second round of copy editing will receive 50% off the price of that second round.

*** ​

Proofreading — 1¢ per word
Fiction: Adult and YA/NA; any length
Semi-Fiction: Game rulebooks, sourcebooks and manuals; any length
Non-Fiction: Memoir, creative non-fiction, product manuals, website copy; any length

You have: a fully edited piece, including professional copy editing, a comprehensive style sheet, and any required design and layout done.
You want: fresh eyes to double-check the tiny details before it goes to publication.

Julian will take the jeweller's loupe to your piece, removing all small errors that escaped copy edits (typos, missing spaces, accidental line breaks, incorrect punctuation, etc.) or may have been introduced as a result of transposing and formatting the manuscript copy into design and layout software. Julian will also double-check that fonts, formatting and the pagination/ToC are consistent and correct throughout.

At this stage, the manuscript should already be well organized, well written, and easy to understand. If the manuscript is not in this condition, or does not have a style sheet, Julian may recommend a copy edit instead.


Manuscript Evaluation - $5 per 1000 words
Fiction: Adult and YA/NA, LGBTQIA+ and Genre fiction (SF/F/H/Rom/Crime) a specialty; any length

You have: a completed draft you've been staring at so long that you don't know what to do with it anymore.
You want: an honest, detailed opinion, and some suggestions of what next steps might be best.

It happens to us all: After awhile, those words burn into your retinas and you have no idea whether, objectively, it's doing what it needs to do. Julian will read it thoroughly, and supply you with a detailed letter that covers its general strengths and weaknesses, any obvious issues to be remedied, how it might be likely to land with its intended audience, and how successfully it achieves what it sets out to do. Julian will offer an opinion on further editing that might help the project, including if a sensitivity reader might be beneficial and what topics they should cover, and set out the way forward to develop the manuscript into its best self.

If you have specific concerns before or after the evaluation, Julian is happy to address up to five specific questions from you in their letter, or clarify anything you are unsure about in one reply email.

There is no minimum or maximum length, but please note that there is a $30 minimum for this service and that word counts are rounded up to the nearest thousand.


Supporting Marginalized Creators

Julian is passionate about encouraging writers from marginalised backgrounds and their unique and valuable perspectives. As a direct form of support, Julian offers reduced fees for writers who identify as belonging to a marginalised group (disabled writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, writers of colour, etc.). Julian does not require anyone to disclose the specifics of their marginalisation to any degree; simply mention that you would like to take advantage of this when you submit your project enquiry.


designed by templatemo