Professional copy editing can help writers improve the presentation of their work and increase its chances of being taken on by a publisher.
If you are planning to self-publish, then we strongly advise you to have your book copy edited first.
- Do you know that spelling and grammar are not your strong points?
- Do you feel that your manuscript contains grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, and would have a better chance of publication if it were professionally prepared for press?
- Do you just want your work prepared for the printer by an expert so that you know it’s in really good shape? Publishers make sure that all the books they publish are copy edited before being sent to the printer. However, if you are an unpublished author, you might help your chances of getting published by turning in a clean manuscript in the first place.
- Or do you intend to publish your book yourself (see our Self-publishing service) and want it to receive the benefit of professional copy editing, so that you can be sure you will take delivery of a printed book you can be proud of?
Manuscripts need copy editing. We strongly advise self-publishers to have their work professionally copy edited before getting it printed.
If you are not sure about the difference between copy editing and proof-reading, this article might help.
Our copy editor will be a skilled professional with many years of experience of copy editing, which is a very specific editorial expertise.
- The copy editor will correct your spelling and punctuation, check the sentence structure, grammar and use of words, and impose consistency, using standard copy editing procedures throughout.
- Due to demand from American writers, we are now able to offer copy editing using American spelling and usage. See our article on this.
- We will copy edit your work on screen and will send you two versions:.
- Changes made on screen and accepted - the copy editor will make the changes, working on screen, and will accept them before finishing the job. You will get emailed back to you a manuscript which is clean and ready for press. We would advise you to read through the manuscript carefully when you get it back to make sure that you are happy with all the changes.
- The second version will be on screen plus 'track changes', which means that you will be able to see all the changes the editor has made. We strongly advise authors not to use this version unless they are familiar with 'track changes, as it is easy to reintroduce errors. It is very useful though to see exactly what the editor has done.
- We now offer as standard but at no additional cost a unique service which provides the writer with two versions of their manuscript, one showing the copy editing changes made using 'track changes' and one with all the changes accepted.
(Author David Balderstone from Melbourne suggests how to use the two versions: "I studied the version with track change suggestions closely, learnt a lot, and fully realised how much editing work was involved. Then I read the version with track changes accepted very carefully.")
What it costs
Copy editing a manuscript is a demanding and skilled task, with no shortcuts. The hours it requires are reflected in the fee structure, which is according to the length of the manuscript and reflects the state it is in. Since non-fiction is usually more taxing to work on and takes more time, we charge more for copy editing non-fiction manuscripts. On fiction we charge £.00535 per word, for a minimum of 50,000 words, ie £267.50. This means that a 80,000 word manuscript would cost £.00535 x 80,000 i.e. £428. On non-fiction we charge £.006 per word, with a minimum of 50,000 words ie £300. You can get your word-processor to work out the length of your manuscript. Fees are payable in advance.
We can sometimes take on shorter manuscripts, but will have to charge a slightly higher fee.
Please note that we will need to assess the manuscript before we can confirm the fee. There is no charge for this assessment, but please send your manuscript to us as one unzipped Word document to get a quote. We cannot quote without seeing the material because we can't estimate how long the work will take. If your manuscript is in a very untidy state or needs a heavy copy-edit, we may need to quote you a higher fee.
We would normally expect to get the copy edited manuscript back to you within three weeks of receipt of the manuscript and your order, but please remember that many hours of detailed work are involved, especially if it is a long manuscript or in a particularly bad state. When we send your quote we will give you a date for completion of the work. If you are in a particular rush we can sometimes achieve a faster turnaround than this, but please make your requirements clear when you send the manuscript to us.
Please send your manuscript as one unzipped Word file.
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