Copyediting and beyond
Basic copyediting ensures that a manuscript is error free and ready to be submitted for publication. For a basic copy edit, I primarily focus on clarity, conciseness, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and consistency, referring to the appropriate style manuals and dictionaries. For example, nonacademic books in the US generally conform to the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (as well as the publisher’s in-house style guide, if any), while UK publications may follow Butcher’s Copy-editing, New Hart’s Rules, and the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
In addition to basic copyediting, manuscripts often require editing that is more in-depth. Whether this goes by the name of substantive editing, line editing, or heavy copyediting (the definitions vary, and they often overlap), such editing focuses on the organization, structure, logical flow, clarity, and coherence of the manuscript. If the manuscript is fiction, the edit will also address plot, story arc, characterization, and dialogue.
How I edit
When editing electronically I use Microsoft Word with the Track Changes feature enabled. Corrections and revisions are displayed in a different color font so you can easily see them and choose to accept or reject each of them as you wish. Any queries and suggestions appear in “comment bubbles” at the side of the page. In addition to the edited Word document with tracked changes, I provide a second version of the document, in which all the changes have been “accepted” and are no longer visible.
If editing on hard copy, I make corrections and suggest revisions with a red pencil or pen using standard editing marks.
Every edited manuscript is accompanied by a cover letter or style sheet that identifies the issues I focused on during the edit. If you wish, the letter can include a thorough evaluation of the manuscript, including explanations of revisions and suggestions for improvements.
In most cases, the cost of editing your project can be calculated using a per-word rate. This will be between 1.5¢ and 4¢ per word (that is, between US$3.75 and US$10 per standard 250-word page), depending on the type and amount of editing needed. For some projects an hourly rate is more appropriate.
I can provide a quote in any currency using current exchange rates.
When I have seen the manuscript (or a portion of it) and we have discussed your requirements, I will be able to give you a final cost estimate.
A sample edit allows you to get a sense of my editing style. I will edit up to 1,000 words and include a brief cover letter for a flat fee of $35.
Each manuscript is one of a kind, with unique editing needs. If you would like to discuss your project, please contact me by e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you.