You've written a book—congratulations! This is a huge achievement. The amount of grit and creativity that's required to stare at a blank page or screen day after day and create a whole world from scratch cannot be overstated. It's a long and immersive process that sometimes takes years and always costs authors the impartiality needed to turn a good book into an even greater one. That's why outside editorial help is so valuable. Reading your manuscript with fresh eyes, I put myself in your intended readers' shoes and identify the areas that could benefit from some improvement. Each kind of editing described below is useful at a different stage of the writing and revising process.
Manuscript assessments are a crucial first step for determining a book's strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on the big picture, I'll read the manuscript carefully and provide you with a comprehensive editorial report containing honest and encouraging feedback about the book's structure, characterization, setting, pacing, voice, point of view, dialogue, and style. The goal of the manuscript assessment is to give you the tools that will help you craft a more vibrant, compelling, and streamlined story during your next round of revisions.
In the substantive editing phase, I'll look closely at the content and organization of your book, ensuring that your argument or plot flows logically and that the structure supports the content. Keeping your target audience in mind, I'll use the Comments function in Word to pinpoint potential stumbling blocks for your readers every step of the way. For instance, I might encourage you to trim sections where there is unnecessary repetition, delve more deeply into a character's motivations, or rearrange chapters. It's always completely up to you whether to take or ignore my advice—I won't impose changes or rewrite your manuscript.
Once substantive editing is complete and any big issues are resolved to the author's satisfaction, then stylistic editing can take place. Stylistic editing is also known as line editing, and at this stage I'll focus on clarifying the meaning of each paragraph, sentence, and word. I'll help you eliminate jargon and clichés, smooth transitions, and improve word choice, all while preserving your unique style and voice. Using the Comments and Track Changes functions in Word, I'll make specific suggestions that you can easily accept or ignore during your review.
Copy editing is the next stage. Guided by industry-standard dictionaries and manuals, I'll check and correct errors in formatting, grammar, spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, punctuation, and other matters of style. I'll also watch out for internal inconsistencies—for instance, is your character's eye colour the same throughout? Is the formatting of the bulleted lists consistent? Are all the words in uncommon acronyms spelled out the first time they appear? This phase of editing is very technical. I'll record all corrections and queries in the manuscript using the Track Changes and Comments functions in Word, and you'll also get a style sheet, which will reflect any stylistic decisions I've made.
Proofreading occurs after a manuscript has been typeset and the page proofs are laid out as they will appear in the published book. I'll check the proofs letter by letter, flagging formatting inconsistencies, typographical errors, and any remaining mistakes. I'm comfortable working on paper, using standard proofreading marks, or on screen, using PDF mark-up tools.
How much will it cost?
The total cost of each project depends on several factors, including
- the type of editing required;
- the length and complexity of the manuscript;
- the quality of the writing; and
- the deadline.
Once I'm back from maternity leave, please contact me so we can discuss your project's editorial needs and make sure I'm the right editor for your book. In order to prepare an accurate quote, I'll request your full manuscript and ask you to complete a questionnaire providing more details about your project and process.