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Ellie Barton, MA, BEd

3 Sinclair St.
Kingston, ON K7M 4K1
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Secondary contact: 


  • President's Award (2016)

Editors Canada Volunteer Participation

  • Certification (2015, 2016)
  • Conference (2013, 2015, 2017)
  • Kingston Twig (2016, 2017)


I am a trained and experienced editor of memoir, creative nonfiction, and scholarly books. My skills in structural, stylistic, and copy editing will help you reach your readers.

I work with authors who are self-publishing or preparing to submit their manuscript to a publisher or an agent. I am also a freelance copy editor for McGill-Queen's University Press and the University of Toronto Press. I have a Certificate in Publishing (Grade A) from Ryerson University.

My special strengths include assessing your editorial needs, identifying structural problems and suggesting ways to fix them, stylistic editing that preserves your unique voice, sensitive copy editng for consistency and correctness, and communicating with empathy and respect. 

I am the principal developer and instructor of WRIT 265: Editing in Academic and Professional Contexts, an online course at Queen's University that follows the Professional Editorial Standards set out by Editors Canada. I was co-coordinator of Editors Kingston from 2015 to 2018, and I am the recipient of the Editors Canada 2016 President's Award.

I have a degree in English and history from Trinity College, University of Toronto, a Master's in English and a Bachelor of Education from Queen's University. Since becoming an editor in 2004, I've attended numerous conferences, seminars, and webinars on editing and writing.

Please visit my blog, where I review books on writing and editing, and share tips and resources: Nose in a Book.

My story

I came to editing in 2004, after working for 15 years as a communications officer for nonprofit organizations in mental health. Before that, I was the religion writer for The Whig-Standard. I've written feature articles, profiles, book reviews, annual reports, and two local history books. I steeped myself in creative nonfiction and attempted to emulate those heights.

Having worked as a nonfiction writer, I know what it's like to be edited – the good and the bad! My golden rule: "Edit your author as you would like to be edited."

Outside my professional life, I enjoy playing the flute, going to zumba classes at the Family Y, reading, walking, hiking, biking, travelling, taking pictures, attending concerts and plays, spending time with family and friends, and playing with my dog and two cats.

What authors say

I wanted to work with an editor who could help me produce a solid manuscript to submit to my publisher. I feel very fortunate to have found Ellie Barton. She is thorough, creative, and extremely knowledgeable. I recommend her services most highly.
– Robert Mundle, On Becoming a Better Listener: A Practical Spiritual Guide for Hospice Palliative Care Volunteers 

Exchanging emails with you about various chapters of my book, and responding to your very intelligent and incisive queries was an experience that will stay with me for a long time. You were preoccupied with the clarity of my narrative, constantly removing unnecessary words like a seasoned gardener plucking out weeds, or a professional chiseller carving beautiful statues. You showed a personal commitment to my project that made you stand out as a quality professional. 
– Ehsan M. Ahrari, The Islamic Challenge and the United States 

An excellent copy editor.
– Thomas S. Axworthy, ed., Bridging the Divide: Religious Dialogue and Universal Ethics

Before I met Ellie Barton I had only a vague idea of what editors did; that they checked spelling and grammar was about the extent of my knowledge. I could use “spellcheck” for spelling and felt my grammar was fine. I didn’t need an editor. Then I explored the world of self-publishing companies and reviews by people who had used them. My experience was disappointing and intimidating. I read a book by Mark Levine evaluating the best-known companies in the business. What stuck in my mind was his position on editing: if you can’t afford a good editor, don’t bother spending money on publishing your book. The money will be wasted. That is how I came to look for an editor and found Ellie Barton. She helped me to structure my memoir and figure out what I was really trying to say. If what I have written here gives the impression that I have become a fan of Ellie Barton, it would be correct. (I might well have said “huge” fan and “absolutely” correct, but Ellie says I tend to use too many adjectives!)
– Malcolm Gibson, Myopia: Growing Up White in Apartheid South Africa  

Editorial Skills

  • Consulting and manuscript evaluation
  • Copy editing
  • On-screen editing
  • Plain language
  • Proofreading
  • Referencing
  • Research and fact-checking
  • Rewriting
  • Structural and substantive editing
  • Stylistic editing
  • Writing


  • Academic books and monographs
  • Academic papers and essays
  • Anthologies
  • Booklets
  • Books, general
  • Books, self-published
  • Conference materials
  • Periodicals, general
  • Reports, annual
  • Reports, other
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Trade non-fiction


  • Arts
  • Biography
  • Canada
  • Communications
  • Culture
  • Europe
  • Government, federal
  • Government, provincial
  • Grammar and linguistics
  • Health
  • Health and medicine, general
  • Health care
  • History
  • History, Canadian
  • Humanities, general
  • International relations
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Psychology and mental health
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Social sciences