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The Cutting Edit

Our Cutting Edit Service

So you have finished your book, but it is too long; how do you go about reducing the word count without losing important parts of your work?

We're here to help. Our experienced editors will work with you to reduce the word count of your book while preserving the main narrative elements and your individual style. This service is available for both fiction and non-fiction.

Editing a manuscript to reduce the word count is a delicate task requiring specialist skills and experience. Every sentence must be assessed and adjusted to prune excess wording, replace circumlocutions and cut minor repetitions. The editor must also pay attention to the narrative arc and the style and tone of the text.

Our specialist cutting edit is a dual service; as we reduce the word count of your manuscript we also copy edit it, and there is no extra charge for this.

The cutting edit package

When you send us your manuscript, we will read it closely and produce a report indicating what needs to be done, and giving an estimate of how much we can reduce the word count by. Generally, it is possible to cut a manuscript by 10 - 15% without cutting any important narrative elements; if you require a deeper cut, we will give you advice on how this can be achieved.

The next stage depends on you. If you feel confident enough to carry out the editing work, you can use our report to help you. If you prefer to have the editing done professionally, we are happy to help.

If we carry out the cutting edit, you will receive two copies of your manuscript: a track changes version, showing you exactly what the editor has done, and if necessary containing comments from the editor; and a clean copy, showing your manuscript with all the editorial changes accepted. We strongly recommend that you use the clean copy for any further changes or amendments.

If the editor thinks there are broader issues with your work, you will receive a note explaining the problems, with guidance on how to fix them.

We strongly recommend that you send your work to us as a standard Microsoft Word document. Other formats, such as pdf files, make editing much more difficult.

How much will it cost?

For fiction manuscripts, the fee for the report is £250 for a manuscript up to 100,000 words. If the manuscript is longer, the fee will be proportionately higher. Please note that, for fiction manuscripts, the report stage may be negotiable if the author has a clear idea of what needs cutting.

The basic rate for a cutting edit is £10 per thousand words (£0.010 per word). So for a manuscript of 70,000 words, the basic fee will be £700. Our final fee will depend on the condition of the manuscript and the amount of time and work required.

For non-fiction manuscripts, the fee for the report is the same as for fiction; this fee is negotiable depending on the complexity of the material. However, the editing fee is likely to be a little higher than for fiction; our estimate will depend on the complexity of the material and the condition of the manuscript.

All fees are payable in advance.


We normally aim to return your work within two weeks of receipt of your manuscript and payment; our deadlines may change depending on the condition of the manuscript, or the volume of work we have. However, if you have a specific deadline, or you are working to a shorter timescale, we can arrange to return your work on a specific date.

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