Paula Marais

Paula Marais - Editor

Cape Town, South Africa

Detail-driven, experienced editor/proofreader of fiction (across most genres), non-fiction and academic theses. Strict but respectful!

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As both an author and editor/proofreader, I have worked on both sides of the publishing process, which has given me a keen understanding of what it is to be on the receiving end of feedback. As such, I try to be fair, consistent and kind in my engagements with writers. I usually create a style sheet for each book/series so that stylistic decisions are kept track of, and can also be shared with the next players in the process, so that the book or work can be nurtured through its entire life cycle. In addition, as an obsessive reader (usually more than 100 books a year), I have a keen sense of genre, plot and characterization, which is very useful for my fiction authors. When it comes to non-fiction, I have not only edited over 100 different academic books, theses, textbooks, cookbooks and business books but I have also written or ghostwritten several books myself.

I learnt my editing craft doing an Honors in Publishing many years ago, but have since worked on numerous magazines, and for many different publishers including Van Schaik, Macmillan, Pan Macmillan and others. Most of my work comes through repeat clients or is gained through word-of-mouth. I have more than fifteen years' experience as an editor/proofreader. I particularly enjoy literary work, psychological themes, mysteries, thrillers, romance and YA. That does not mean, however, that I haven't successfully worked in other genres.

My non-fiction editing has also ranged in subject matter, but I have a special interest in psychology, cookery, travel and business. I regularly edit theses ranging from Honors level to PhD, with most referencing styles (e.g. Harvard, Chicago, APA).

As a person I am detail driven (yes, I am the person mentally correcting spelling on a menu) but respectful of the author's intention. I especially enjoy coaching and mentoring new authors and watching them succeed. I love coffee, whisky and have visited over 80 countries around the world.

Over the years I have also done speech writing, website copy (corporate and otherwise) and with a Diploma in Digital Marketing, I have also worked on blogs, social media posts and other online work.

Since many of the books I have edited are not available on Amazon, I have included a below a shortlist of some of my most recent projects:

• HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) Review
• 21st Century Psychology for Nurses (Van Schaik)
• How to support English Second Language Learners (Van Schaik)
• One-Stop Guide to Studying Engineering in South Africa (The Clever Idea)
• The Strategic Management Process − A South African Perspective (Van Schaik)
• Simple Stylish Meals (Sharon Glass)
• Papho’s Gift (Marita van Aswegen)

My clients have included, among others:
• Engen
• First National Bank
• Guinness World Records
• Financial Mail
• Kelloggs
• Vodacom
• Colgate
English (UK)
English (US)
Business & Management
Literary Fiction
Women's Fiction


  • MA in Creative Writing - ms. sold for publication
  • Honours Degree in Publishing Studies cum laude
  • BA Languages cum laude
  • BA Psychology cum laude
  • Alumnus of Bread Loaf Writers' Conference (Vermont, US)
  • Diploma in Digital Marketing (93%)


  • Novel Shadow Self nominated for the Etisalat prize for the top 100 books in Africa (2015)
  • Novel Shadow Self translation into Afrikaans (Skaduself) - best translation

Work experience

Director and Word Expert

January, 2006 – Present (about 17 years)

Writing: corporate, fiction, SEO-enhanced, blogs, newsletters, technical, non-fiction, scripts for videos/speeches, US/UK English, articles

Digital Marketing: campaign strategies, online/search/digital media, advertising, optimization, data analytics, project management, video

Editing/Proofreading: online copy, theses, textbooks, novels, corporate newsletters or brochures, pitch documents, US/UK English

Portfolio (10 selected works)

The Polygamist

Nyathi, Sue

When your blessings don't count

Lewis, Linda, Marais, Paula


J Steyn, J Steyn

Paula has 13 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Dr. Jordan B. Smith Jr. - Annapoliscreed
Excellent feedback and quality work done on time (early than expected).

Dr. Jordan B. Smith Jr. - Annapoliscreed, March 2023

Angel A
I am very pleased with my collaboration with Paula. This is not the first time I've hired her. Altogether, she has helped me by providing a high quality editing service on 3 or 4 different projects. Each time, she was professional, punctual, and provided excellent communication. I've come to appreciate a good communicator. It can save valuable time when an editor takes a moment to ask about my ...
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Angel A, March 2023

Dr. Jordan B. Smith Jr. - Annapoliscreed
Paula provided excellent editing and recommendations to improve the final work on my book. She kept in contact, communicated the progress, and stayed on track to complete the project early. I highly recommend Paula for future work as an editor.

Dr. Jordan B. Smith Jr. - Annapoliscreed, January 2023

Paula Marais
Thank you for the review! lt was wonderful working on your insightful book relating to dating, marriage and relationships in general.

Reply from Paula Marais

Emma Briedis
I loved working with Paula. She is very thorough and was understanding and flexible when it took me a little longer than planned to get the novel back to her for a second look. Unlike most line edit editors, she takes a second look after the author has gone through her first edits (which I loved!) I highly recommend working with her. She also gave me good suggestions for tweaking the novel when...
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Emma Briedis, December 2022

Peter Molander
Paula is super-professional. I highly recommend working with her.

Peter Molander, December 2022

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