“Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.” Elie Wiesel
I offer proofreading, copy editing and line editing, and structural editing. Each is a distinct type of editing that should occur at a different stage of preparing a book for publication.
Also known as substantive or content editing, structural editing is best for writers who have written and self-edited a complete manuscript, and need help with making the big elements work better.
Structural editing takes a high-level look at the whole manuscript (or the first 10,000 words and an outline in the case of a mini structural edit). It will consider its strengths and weaknesses, and how it could be improved. It seeks to help the author get closer to their overall vision for the book.
Structural editing considers:
- The narrative arc, the plot and the characters (for fiction and narrative non-fiction)
- The central argument (non-fiction)
- The pace, voice and style of the book
- Whether the book will appeal to its intended audience
- Whether the narrative is coherent and compelling
- Whether the characters are engaging
- What can be done to improve the above
I will write an editorial letter outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript and what could be done to improve the manuscript, and provide any additional documents I have created, such as a chapter outline. I will also make comments and highlight examples on the manuscript in Track Changes.
After a structural edit, some rewrites will usually be needed.
This service is best for writers who are confident that their content is sound, and need help with the writing at paragraph and sentence level.
Line editing tightens up the text and makes it flow smoothly. It fixes all the little bumps that can take a reader out of the book. It considers:
- Word choice
- Intended meaning
As part of copy editing I will also fix mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, ensure consistency in hyphenation and capitalisation, and check the formatting is standard.
Line edits, corrections and comments will be made to the manuscript in Track Changes, and I will provide a style sheet concerning all style decisions implemented throughout the manuscript.
Further changes by the author to the manuscript should be made carefully and with reference to the style sheet, so as not to introduce new errors and inconsistencies.
Proofreading is a last check of the manuscript before publication. It corrects any remaining errors in spelling, grammar and formatting. It is the last in a series of passes over the manuscript. Ideally it should be performed by a different editor than the copy editing stage so the editor has fresh eyes with which to see the corrections that need to be made.
Beginner writers often request proofreading after finishing an early draft, not realising how much work is still left to do on their manuscript – don’t make this mistake, it’s a waste of your time and money. The result will not be any more publishable for having its grammar and spelling tidied up.
I work with general and popular non-fiction and commercial fiction in all categories for adults.
In non-fiction, I particularly enjoy memoir, biography, careers, and self-help books, and in fiction I’m most comfortable with mysteries, thrillers, comic fantasy and women’s fiction including romance and cosy mystery.
I don’t work with poetry or children’s books.
It’s a good idea to be organised and start lining up an editor before you need them, so you can get in touch up to a couple of months before your manuscript will be ready for editing and book in the time.
If your manuscript is already ready for editing when you get in touch with me, please be aware that I may be booked for the immediate future and not be able to get to work on your manuscript for a few weeks.
This depends on the type of editing being sought, the length of the book, the condition of the writing, and how much other work I have on at the time.
I will estimate the time to turn the project around at enquiry stage and confirm a delivery date before beginning the work.
Please send the manuscript as a Word document.
Most book editors edit in Word: it is more powerful and has more tools than other word processing programs. Some editors don’t mind using Google docs, but that’s really a better tool for co-writers working collaboratively on one or two chapters at a time, than for an editor working on an entire book.
When you first get in touch, please send me a sample of the work and tell me the book’s word count, category, and its intended audience. It’s also useful to know a bit about your writing background, and your goals for the book: for instance, are you aiming to be traditionally published or are you more interested in self-publishing?
Before getting to work, I will need to look at the complete manuscript and discuss with you your areas of concern and the particular issues I would address.
I’m happy to answer any clarifying questions on a phone call. If you have several questions, it’s best to make a list of them and arrange a time to discuss them in one go.
My mini consultation service is also available for clients who want further advice, encouragement and support.
I wrote a post about disagreeing with your editor: read it here.
Structural editing starts at £15 per 1000 words. A mini structural edit, in which I work on the first 10,000 words, is £150.
Copy editing and line editing starts at £12 per 1000 words.
Proofreading starts at £10 per 1000 words.
I will confirm the fee per 1000 words before the work begins. The more corrections are needed, the slower the work goes, so text that requires heavy editing will attract a higher fee.
Fees will also increase if the deadline is short, or if the scope of the work ‘creeps’ after the project begins.
I usually ask for a 50% non-refundable deposit up front to secure the booking, and the balance on delivery of the corrected manuscript, so the fee is divided into two.
There are two ways.
Either way, please tell me a bit about the book, including its category and word count, and a bit about yourself and your writing experience and goals.
You’re welcome to email me with any further questions.