There are several stages involved in the editing process, although not every author will need to use all of them. I am sometimes approached by an author for proofreading, when what they really want – or need – is line editing. For a summary of the different stages please click here, but in brief the services I offer are:
- Line editing or copy-editing – this is the process by which text is prepared for publication, but before proofreading. It involves a sentence-level thorough edit, correcting issues with grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, repetition, tense, style, flow, word or phrase overuse, and appropriate vocabulary. I often suggest a two-pass edit (where having made the suggested amendments, the MS is returned to me for a second-pass edit), because developmental issues (such as those mentioned below) can arise even in a line/copy-edit. A line or copy-edit can also be achieved in a single pass, and I’m happy to answer any brief questions arising out of my edit in an email. I say that advisedly – if you think you’re going to have a lot of questions or want to make substantial amendments following a single-pass edit, you’ll need to contact me to negotiate a new fee for a second pass.
- Developmental or structural editing – the most in-depth service I offer, which also deals as a matter of course with some of the above issues, and is often used for a work in progress. I will examine the MS and look at the big picture, suggesting (or making) revisions that improve or fine tune the narrative as a whole. I will help with story craft, structural issues, problems with plot or characterisation, writing style and pace. Chapters, paragraphs and/or sentences may need to be moved around, deleted, added or rewritten. With your agreement, I may rewrite or rework parts of the manuscript myself, or, more likely, make suggestions for you to rework it yourself – I’ll never forget it’s your book. This service will always be a two-pass process, where, when you’ve made the suggested amendments, you return the MS to me for a second-pass edit. If, between us after initial consideration, we both feel you’ll need more support and coaching, the MS could go back and forth between us on three or more occasions.
- Manuscript assessment – another useful tool for a work in progress, but a more economic option than a developmental edit. I will read the entire manuscript (perhaps making the odd on-screen comment but otherwise not editing the text, except perhaps for small sections as examples). I will then prepare an editorial letter of two to perhaps fifteen pages, dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of the MS (plot, characterisation, point of view, etc.) with suggestions. Remember, though, that after this stage you’ll need to do a lot more work on your book, which will then require other services (developmental editing; line or copy-editing; proofreading).
- If you require copywriting, please contact me. I can recommend several experienced copywriters, depending on your needs.
My charges vary according to the complexity of the project, and it would be virtually impossible to give even a ball-park figure here. However, my charges are in line with SfEP guidelines which are given as an hourly rate. I can also quote per one thousand words (except for MS assessments), which is easier to quantify, and this will vary from £15 to £24 per thousand words depending on the level of editing and number of passes required – and it’s worth noting for short projects that I have a minimum fee of £50. I always ask for a 10% (or £150, whichever is greater) booking fee (which will be deducted from the balance due at the end of the project), and 50% of my fee is payable in advance. The fee, assuming the project is delivered to me as a Word file, covers:
- The work agreed, as one or two passes of editing (or more, as arranged), or as an editorial letter.
- Your work returned to you in two Word files, one with all Track Changes and comments showing, and one with all changes accepted but comments still showing.
- An editorial letter/style sheet, where I will elaborate on any comments annotated to the manuscript and make more general comments, add any queries or suggestions for you to follow up on, and tabulate any particular points of style which will be useful for you, particularly if there’s going to be a sequel.
- A follow-up email.
If you would like a further edit following any revisions you make (in addition to the second-stage edit, if appropriate) then a further fee will be negotiated.