Services

Editors tend to describe their services by type, which can be confusing for the uninitiated. Do you need an edit or a proofread? What’s a line edit, and how is it different from a copyedit? Great questions! The list below explains the services I offer and my approach to pricing. You may also want to check my FAQ page.

Line Editing

Line editing, sometimes called substantive editing, is a big-picture effort that focuses on the content, organization, and structure of the writing. Some people might describe this as “heavy copyediting” but I find it helpful to separate the terms. During line editing, I read for sense and meaning, as well as general language issues. Comments and suggestions address issues like rough transitions, confusing passages, restructuring, word choices, ways to tighten language and smooth phrasing, and so on. Often, I will reflexively correct misplaced commas or misspelled words during line editing; however, these issues are not the focus, so it’s possible—probable in early drafts—that a manuscript will leave line editing with lingering errors and style issues. Line editing is usually followed by thorough copyediting to find and correct these problems. Authors preparing their manuscripts for a publisher often use line editing to ensure they submit the cleanest manuscript possible, knowing that the publisher will provide copyediting. (Where this is not the case, as in self-publishing, I can provide copyediting after line editing.)

Line editing is usually done in two passes, to give you a chance to respond to queries and make changes based on my feedback.

If we agree on an expanded scope, line editing can also include collaboration on the final structure of the work, suggesting needed content or artwork, developing systems for permissions and references, preliminary fact-checking, and so on. The scope of work can vary depending on the needs and preferences of the author, so specific duties are spelled out and agreed to before beginning any work.

If you’re looking for more extensive manuscript changes or a full rewrite, I do offer writing help as well.

Structure
Wordsmithing
Voice
Fact-checking
Grammar and syntax
Spelling
Style
Consistency
Punctuation
Formatting

Copyediting

Copyediting is more about the details than the big picture, and focuses on the functionality of the text. A copy editor may point out concerns with structure, wordsmithing, or voice at the sentence and paragraph level, but shouldn’t wander afield to overall document concerns. During copyediting I look for consistency (in style, word choice, facts and figures, etc.) and ensure the text is correct as written—both in terms of spelling, grammar, and syntax and in terms of the actual facts in the text. I double-check that quotations are correctly attributed, headings are at the right level, citations are accurate, and tables match the text. Because of the detail involved, a copy editor will generally provide a style sheet for longer manuscripts. Copyediting is often done in two passes, and should be the last phase of editing before a manuscript goes to print. If the manuscript is going through typesetting there will probably be a final proofreading round as well (usually by a different person).

Copyediting is usually the best service for authors looking to clean up a final draft that has been through line editing, or publishers who want a submitted manuscript revised to conform to editorial requirements and house style. For shorter works like blogs and columns, copyediting may be all that’s needed—assuming the initial manuscript is fairly clean.

Structure
Wordsmithing
Voice
Fact-checking
Grammar and syntax
Spelling
Style
Consistency
Punctuation
Formatting

Proofreading

Proofreading is often confused with copyediting, but it’s a very different function. It tends to be used in one of two ways: checking proof pages received from a publisher (a proof check), or a final check of a finished document to spot lingering or introduced errors (sometimes called editorial proofreading). Most authors I work with are looking for editorial proofreaders; the final eagle-eyed reviewers who spot misplaced commas, incorrectly formatted text or headers, words that should be capitalized, and so on. Especially in print publications, proofreading does not address things like word choice and syntax errors; changing these would be far too difficult and expensive late in the traditional publishing process. That’s why quality, professional copyediting is so important. In online publishing, editorial proofreading might catch and correct some of these light copyediting concerns—for instance, if Table 1-1 is called Table 1.1 in the text—but you shouldn’t rely on proofreading to catch everything. Consistency is generally the responsibility of the copy editor.

Because of this separation of duties, proofreading is not a substitute for copyediting, and they usually shouldn’t be done by the same person. Many editors (myself included) will not proofread a longer manuscript that has not been through copyediting. On the other hand, editorial proofreading may be the only editing desired in some situations—for example, error prevention in slide presentations or video captions. I can also provide proofreading services for databases and content management systems.

Proofreading services are a good fit for authors and publishers who need a final error check of a completed book layout. Content managers who are migrating database content or cleaning up dirty databases may also appreciate proofreading.

Structure
Wordsmithing
Voice
Fact-checking
Grammar and syntax
Spelling
Style
Consistency
Punctuation
Formatting

Writing Help

If your text needs an extra set of hands, or if you’d just prefer to sketch the outline and let someone else handle the heavy lifting, I can help. My writing services cover everything from social media to full-blown ghostwriting.

  • Ghostwriting blogs: If you have ideas for your blog but no time to realize them, I can help you research and outline new posts, or even write complete articles for you.
  • Copywriting and marketing collateral: Need an updated bio or a new conference handout? I can work from your brief to create professional material you’ll be proud to distribute.
  • Website copy and SEO: Keyword stuffing will get you nowhere. The best pages provide relevant content that addresses user concerns. I can help you develop, write, and proof website copy that meets the all-important “content first” metric of modern SEO.
  • Rewrites and first drafts: Working from your notes or your initial drafts, I can help you craft a final document you’ll be proud to submit.

Pricing

I typically bill by hour or by project, based on the size of the project, the editing required, and the requested turnaround time. To assure you that I am working as fast as possible while still producing quality work, I also provide a project not-to-exceed and a detailed statement of work. Quotes are based on an initial review of the manuscript, some background information from you (and your publisher, if applicable), and my sample edit. If you need a general rule of thumb for larger manuscripts like books, you can calculate proofreading at about a penny per word, editing at $0.025 per word, and writing at about $0.75 per word, but these are just estimates. Actual project pricing may vary based on length, format, number of references and figures, required fact-checking, and the general state of the manuscript. I will do my best to work within your budget, so let me know if you have constraints.

For more on my pricing and billing policies see my FAQ page.