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 and copyediting – this is my second-most popular service, and is for you if you are happy with your story and its structure, but you need help with polishing your prose. I will look at consistency in your characters, point of view and show/tell issues, chapter sequencing, pace, dialogue – and even uncover any plot issues (you may be too close to the text to have noticed). It involves a thorough sentence-level edit, correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and addressing repetition, tense, style, flow, word or phrase overuse, and appropriate vocabulary. Also included is an editorial report and style sheet. A line or copyedit 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.
- Deep line editing and stylistic editing – my most popular and the most in-depth service I offer. It consists of a two-pass edit (where once you have made the suggested amendments, the MS is returned to me for a second-pass edit), because stylistic issues (such as those mentioned below) can arise even in a line/copyedit. I will look at all the issues mentioned above, but I will also look at the big picture, suggesting (or making) revisions that improve or fine tune the narrative as a whole. I will help solve problems with plot or characterisation, writing style and pace. With your agreement, I may 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. As before, the service includes a full editorial report and style sheet. This service will always be at least 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, the MS could go back and forth between us on three or more occasions.
- Manuscript assessment – a useful tool for a work in progress, more economical than a full 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 (editing as detailed above; proofreading).
- Proofreading – the lightest form of editing and usually last in the production process, once the text has been copyedited, formatted and paginated, just before the text is published. This checks for errors only, correcting any that have been missed in spelling, grammar and punctuation. If a text is revised as a result of a proofread (even if only small parts are rewritten), a second (or even third) proofread is advisable.
- 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 CIEP guidelines which are given as an hourly rate. I usually quote per one thousand words (except for MS assessments), which is easier to quantify, and this will vary from £15 to £30 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.