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 (over 16 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 7 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Sue Wintgens
Paula was an invaluable support- quick, patient and perceptive. She project managed my book with a professionalism that made the experience easy for me to do. I highly recommend her services.

Sue Wintgens, July 2022

Angel A
This was my second time hiring Paula for an editing job. So far, her work has exceeded my expectations. She was kind and remained flexible with my chaotic schedule. Paula delivered on the day (or earlier than the day) of project completion. Her expertise in editing made me look good as a writer. I will definitely hire her again in the future and I would recommend her to anyone in the market for...
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Angel A, May 2022

Paula Marais
I really enjoyed working with Angel. He was open to suggestions and kept me updated at all times about progress, which allowed me to manage my schedule. I also really believe in his book and I hope...
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Reply from Paula Marais

Angel A
My experience with Paula was brief but amazing. It was brief because Paula was prompt, concise, and professional. It was amazing because she added insightful comments and suggestions that ensured that all my topics were covered evenly, and professionally. I want my peers and colleagues to have a healthy respect for the book that I am producing and I believe that Paula helped me to achieve that....
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Angel A, May 2022

Edna Bay
Paula was an ideal editor for my book. She not only knows Malawi, but found errors and raised relevant questions about any number of issues I had not considered. I'm so glad I had an opportunity to work with her.

Edna Bay, March 2022

Shani Smith
Paula was very courteous and provided the edits at the time promised.

Shani Smith, November 2021

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