Professional editing is multifaceted. I work with my clients to determine the type of editing needed and provide an estimate before I begin a project. Most of the time, my estimates are based on how many words I can edit in one hour, dividing that number into the total manuscript word count.
Typically, I work in Microsoft Word and return the edited manuscript with tracked changes showing; I also include a “clean” copy with changes accepted for ease of viewing. Clients approve my changes (or not), and make suggested revisions. Then, together, we determine if a second editing pass is required. Increasingly, I also edit in Google Docs.
OMG. You are a magician! Thank you for your editing prowess. To be entirely honest, so many editors edit for the sake of leaving fingerprints…but every single time you work on my drafts, they are vastly improved.
— Tracy Marks, Beyond Words Strategic Communication
The thing I noticed right away about you was that you were willing to look at my process and try to understand what I was doing, instead of thinking you knew more about it than I did and trying to change it to fit what you thought it should be. I can’t tell you what a help and a confirmation that was. It has been such a pleasure to work with you, and I’m looking forward to doing so again.
—Ruth Porter, author of Of Time and Chance
I appreciate every bit of your feedback—it was exactly what I needed and will continue to need. I love the ‘this works-this doesn’t’ approach, which helps direct me when I’m sort of writing myself into a corner. It was exactly the nudge I needed to do an outline and start to tease the tangled threads of my story apart.
— Courtney Diehl, DMV, author of Horse Vet
Manuscript evaluation $80
After the hard work of writing a book draft is complete, a professional evaluation can provide an unbiased perspective. To perform a manuscript evaluation, I read through a manuscript at a good clip, making some notes but aiming mainly to get a sense of the story. (“Story” applies to nonfiction as well as fiction and memoir.) Then I return for a deep reading, making extensive notes and focusing on specific elements. Finally, I distill my notes and thoughts into an assessment, which includes specific suggestions for moving the project forward. That next step may be a developmental edit, in which revision is necessary to strengthen a manuscript. Other times a manuscript may be ready for substantive editing or copyediting.
Developmental editing $80
Following a manuscript evaluation, if an author asks me to continue with a developmental edit, we begin a collaboration to complete the revisions I suggest, which among other changes might include reorganizing, condensing, or expanding existing sections. Sometimes I assist with written revisions. Each manuscript is unique, as is each author, and as an editor I strive to be flexible in finding the best way to support a writer in completing their work.
Substantive editing $80
Substantive editing, also known as line editing, ensures line-by-line consistency in content, language, and style, and it may involve some limited rewriting or restructuring. If you think of your draft as “rough,” this may be the sort of editing you need.
Copyediting includes checking that a manuscript or other copy is complete, correcting any errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and resolving inconsistencies and problems (such as using excessive passive voice) that may weaken the message. The goal here is to ensure accuracy and consistency while honoring the author’s voice..
After your edited manuscript has been laid out by a professional designer, the page proofs need to be proofread using similar markup tools to Word. Sometimes residual errors exist, or new errors are introduced during design. As proofreader I carefully review each page and check page numbers, headers, spacing, and line breaks, and am alert for typesetting issues such as missing italics and odd font sizes.