Skip to Content

Authors' services and what you should be looking for

4 September 2017

Authors' services for writers have been in the news lately, with an article in Goodreader last week, Driving Down the Price of Publishing, showing how competitive the market has become. But what should writers be looking for when they shop around for copy editing or other editorial services?

The growth of self-publishing and publishers outsourcing editorial work has turned authors' services into a relatively big business. But if you Google ‘Copy editing service' you will quickly discover a range of big, slick sites which promise a quick turnaround and a highly automated approach, some of them at the top of the rankings because they have paid to be there.

Closer inspection shows that their primary market is publishers and other businesses which need material copy edited, mostly quite short pieces and with an emphasis above all on speed. Authors' requirements are mentioned, but often as an afterthought. They also tend to be quite expensive, as they are providing services for businesses, the ‘b to b' or business to business model, where cost tends to be less of a consideration than convenience and speed.

So what do authors need when they're looking for copy editing or other work on their manuscripts, or reports/assessments to help them improve their work and get published or prepare it for self-publication? Above all they need the confidence of knowing that the service they get will be a professional one from an experienced editor, whose aim is to help them get their work into the best state it can be. Sympathetic treatment and a constructive approach are also vital, especially since many writers are lacking in confidence about their work and sadly some of those who are confident may not know as much as they think, or be able to judge their own work. Authors are not usually good editors, so it's much better to find an editor who concentrates on that.

Since publishers have largely abandoned their in-house copy editing departments, there are plenty of good freelances available, although the rather older ones tend to be the most skilled, as they were trained in publishing houses and their younger equivalents have trained themselves through the less rigorous approach of attending courses.

Writers don't have much money, so price is always a consideration. Beware of going for the very cheapest available, which may just lead you to an inexperienced editor and a poor outcome, but also keep away from the 'b to b' services mentioned above, which are usually the most expensive option, although the editors may not have the expertise in working on book manuscripts you will be looking for.

Good luck with finding what you need!

WritersServices' editorial services have been around since 2001, with new services often added due to demand. The focus is on providing inexpensive but high quality services, using skilled professional editors. The latest new services are the Writer's edit and Translation editing, helping to make up Our 20 editorial services.