One sage likens the editor’s task to the Hippocratic Oath – do no harm.
My goal is to enhance your writing. Working together we make your work the best it can be – retaining your voice and making it as clear and lovely to your readers as possible.
When I’m successful, my work is invisible and yours shines.
Levels of Editing
Editing is not a one size fits all proposition. Most publishers recognized four levels of editing.
Big Picture - Developmental Editing
Although I don’t offer this service, a developmental edit is the first step in the editing process. The focus here is content, organization, and structure:
- Is the manuscript well organized?
- Are the plot and characters adequately developed?
- Is the audience clear?
A developmental editor may also offer their services as a writing coach or book doctor.
Paragraph Level - Substantive or Line Edit
You’ve finished your first draft. You’re ready for a substantive or line edit.
This edit focuses on structure, rhythm, and syntax, awkward phrasing, unnecessary repetition, telling versus showing, passive voice, and inconsistencies.
A line edit will look for varied sentence length, transition use of jargon, and whether the vocabulary is appropriate for the intended audience.
A substantive fiction edit also addresses pacing, plot, dialogue, point of view, character development, setting, conflict/tension, and whether there’s too much or too little description.
Per word charge: .02 – .04 (2-4c/word)
Sentence Level - Copyedit
Grammar, usage, and consistent spelling and use of terms and words, character names, and location are all addressed in the copyedit. The copyeditor will also look for commonly confused words and ensure consistency in capitalization and punctuation such as hyphens, em and en dashes, ellipses, quotation marks, and end punctuation as well as the use of italics.
Per word charge: .015 – .03 (1 1/2-3c/word)
Word Level - Proofread
The final step.
The proofread double checks for typos and consistency in layout. Very few changes are likely to be made at this stage, except to ensure the manuscript adheres to the publisher’s style guide.
Per word charge: .5 (1/2c/word)
Process & Timeline
I use Word’s Track Changes feature to mark your copy. If you’re not familiar with this tool, I’ll help you learn how to accept or reject changes, respond to comments, etc.
We will make at least two exchanges or passes. Depending on the length of the manuscript, the first round of edits may take four to six weeks. Successive rounds usually take less time.
I charge by the word for fiction and nonfiction manuscripts, but by the hour for academic editing. Contact me for details. A sample edit is the best way for me to determine what level of editing your manuscript needs and for you to have a better estimate of the project cost.
Request my free self-editing checklist!
This will save your editor time and you money.