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What Kind of Editing Do I Need?

There are three main types of editing: developmental editing, copy/line editing, and proofreading. As this article helpfully explains, there are actually more than just these three, but these are the core stages of editing a manuscript usually passes through before being published.

You may need just one type of edit from me, or two. As you read through the following information, you may get a sense of what you require, although I am also happy to assist you in this regard.

 

Generally, I would recommend that one editor does a developmental edit and copy/line edit of your manuscript while another person does the proofreading. After you’ve been over a manuscript a few times, it can be difficult to see it again with fresh eyes. 

 

What Do You Offer?

 

Below, I've included a summary of each service I offer, along with a price guide.

  • Please note that the following information applies to fiction manuscripts only (please contact me directly to receive a quote for a non-fiction project).

  • All prices are in Australian dollars.

  • Prices are given per word. For example, a comprehensive developmental edit of a 50,000 word manuscript at $0.01/word would cost AUD$500 (around USD$364). 

  • Confirmed quotes will be provided on request.

Developmental editing (also called content or substantive editing):

This is the most gist-based or “big picture” of the different edits, looking at your manuscript scene by scene. It is essentially an analysis of how the entire manuscript hangs together as a whole. Are there any issues with the plot/narrative or overall style? Are your characters consistent and compelling? What is working well and what might need some tweaking?

If editing is like preparing a function room for a party, developmental editing is the working out of the layout of tables and chairs, putting together a seating plan, planning a menu, deciding on the theme of the occasion and any decorations. Developmental editing is usually the first step in the editing process because you don’t want to put the finishing touches on a manuscript when entire scenes (AKA tables and chairs) are still being shuffled around.

Click here to download a sample of a (de-identified) developmental editorial report

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Copy/line editing:

Sometimes people separate these two, but they are closely related (line editing is really a type of copy editing). This edit includes an in-depth, line-by-line examination of the word choice, voice, and pacing of your manuscript. It also includes editing for grammar, spelling, and style, as per the Chicago Manual of Style.

To run with the party metaphor, copy/line editing is like the minutiae of the actual party—putting out table cloths and decorations, setting places and place cards, blowing up balloons, lighting candles, arranging flowers, getting the music ready, and so on.

Click here to download a sample of an edited manuscript with track changes and comments (similar to what you would receive if you requested a copy/line edit)

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Proofreading:

 

This is the last stage of editing, usually just before a manuscript gets sent to the printers. Proofreaders catch any tiny errors the developmental or copy/line editors missed, looking for any grammar/spelling mistakes, typos, and formatting issues. It is best done after the book is typeset.

As per the party metaphor, proofreading is like the minor last-minute adjustments to make sure everything is perfect—straightening cutlery, checking the place cards against the seating plan, making sure everyone who needs to be present is actually there (or, conversely, no one is present who wasn’t invited).

 

Manuscript assessment:

 

This is basically a smaller and broader version of a developmental edit, unpacking your manuscript’s global strengths and weaknesses.

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I also offer:

Blurb/back cover copy assessment:

 

This is an assessment of the back cover copy (or blurb) of your book. This is the most important piece of writing in your book, but being an author myself, I know how difficult it is to get an “eagle eye view” on your story! I will work with you to create a “hook” that sucks in your reader and makes them want to read your work. Think of it like an invite to the great party you're hosting. 

 

Editing "sampler":

 

If you’d like to get an idea of the way I work, I can edit the first ten pages of your book as a mini “audition” of sorts. This will essentially be a combination of the developmental and copy/line edits, giving you an indication of the strong points of your story and any parts that might need some refining.

Combined package:

If you purchase a developmental edit from me, I will give you 20% off a subsequent copy/line edit (or if you purchase a copy/line edit, you will receive 20% off a proofreading edit).

If you sign up for the developmental AND the copy/line edit, I will essentially go through your manuscript twice—the first time with a macro focus, looking at the “big picture” of the story. Once you’ve made these changes, I’ll go through it again with a micro focus (as per the copy/line edit brief), which is basically the editing equivalent of a fine-toothed comb.

Since the word count will change between passes, I’ll calculate the cost of the second edit separately, based on the adjusted word count. If you would like me to go through the manuscript a third time, I am happy to do this for an additional fee.

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