What services do I offer?
There are several stages of editing text in preparation for publishing and different editors call them different things. There are even arguments (usually friendly) as to how to spell copy-editing. One word? Two words with a hyphen? Two words without a hyphen? I favour the hyphenated version: it’s what I’ve always used and while people have tried to make me change it . . . I’m sorry but I’m sticking to it.
Developmental editing and manuscript assessment – for both fiction and non-fiction – looks at how the book works as a whole: does it flow smoothly, are things properly explained, can the reader follow the story easily? Are fictional characters believable, are the descriptions of them consistent from one chapter to the next? It’s important that all the copy ‘hangs’ together to make it easy to read and to make the story progress in a logical way.
These two editing stages, the first more in-depth than the second, are more likely to be part of fiction editing. I usually edit non-fiction but often a non-fiction book will benefit just as much from scrutiny as to how the story it tells is developing, whether the chapters are in a logical order, does the progression of the book flow properly, would one section work better if its place was further on in a chapter or even moved into a different chapter?
Copy-editing is a much more intensive stage where individual words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters are examined in detail. This is what I do the most.
When copy-editing your text I will be looking for any spelling, grammar or punctuation errors which need amended, as well as typos, missing punctuation and general inconsistencies. If a word is spelled with an initial capital letter, does it continue to appear like that?
I’ll look for words being unnecessarily repeated and suggest a substitute, recommend rewording a phrase or sentence to improve clarity and check for any other style issues.
Proofreading – the final frontier
This is the final stage of the editing process and checks that the changes highlighted by the copy-editor have been made. It’s also the stage to check that the text runs accurately onto each consecutive page and that no new errors have crept in during the amendment of an error found by the copy-editor. Examples of what needs to be noticed could include two pages with the same number, two images with the same caption but showing different people or two different spellings of the same word in the same paragraph.
One warning! Proofreading is best done by a different person – not the one who has just edited your book. You need another ‘fresh pair of eyes’ for this final stage.
What kind of text do I edit?
Non-fiction, fiction, history, self-help, memoirs.
Sales pages, landing pages, email marketing copy
Home page, About page
Copy for small businesses
Proposals, contracts, letters, brochures, leaflets
Management or HR material, communications, leaflets and brochures, as well as magazine or journal articles and content for websites and blogs.
If it has words in it, I’ll edit it!
You might say, “But I’ve read my book all the way through – it’s fine!”
As the writer of your book you’ll have read it over many times and you’ll be fairly certain that you’ve spotted any misspellings or incorrect punctuation. There comes a point, however, when you’ve read it so often that you start to see what should be there rather than what is there. My ‘fresh pair of eyes’ will notice these anomalies and highlight them. I’ll also query anything that just doesn’t make sense and point out any places where the text could be tightened up.
I’ll make sure that a chapter begins on the page that the contents page says it does. That an image has the right caption underneath or alongside it. I’ll make sure that chapter headings are always in the same typeface, that apostrophes are used correctly and that there are no dangling participles (they can be a bit of a nuisance, sneaking in when you’re not looking). I’ll make a style list of particular spellings, capitalisation and hyphenation. This will help me remember but it will also be useful for the proofreader.
If you send me your text as a PDF I will convert it to a Word document (docx) as I can then use Track Changes to show you exactly what I have corrected, deleted or suggested should be changed.