For business text, such as correspondence, presentations, marketing collateral, reports, web site content, and articles, I offer copy editing. I look for basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, as well as consistency and flow with the rest of the document. If your document is nearly ready, I also offer stand-alone proofreading.
The first step is to send me your document for evaluation, and I will recommend either a copy edit or a proofread. However, if you are happy with your text as it stands and only want it checked for superficial typos, I will honor this, even if my evaluation suggests a copy edit.
If you have a company style guide, I can edit your document according to this, or I can use one of the official publishing style guides, such as the Oxford Style Manual, the Chicago Manual of Style, or the Associated Press Stylebook. If you do not wish to work with a style guide, I will work with you to determine your preferences, such as whether you want to include the Oxford (list) comma or use formal or informal wording, before starting on the document.
For book manuscripts, I offer developmental editing, copy (line) editing, and proofreading as separate services. This way if your manuscript only needs a proofread, or if you prefer to have me copy edit it and someone else proofread it, these services can be easily cut apart and mixed and matched, with the corresponding rates attached. If you require beginning-to-end work, the rates will be combined.
There are generally three levels of editing involved in preparing a manuscript for publication:
- Developmental editing: This is the deepest level of editing. It involves a thorough critique of the draft and recommendations for fleshing out or cutting down of sections, development of scenes or characters, improvement of basic style of writing (such as showing versus telling, or moving scenes or parts of scenes to another part in the draft, where they may work better), and pacing throughout the draft. In non-fiction, this involves assessing the organization of your information and consistency of ideas.
- Copy editing (also called line editing): This involves looking for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, as well as light sentence restructuring. At this stage I might also query a word or phrase that makes the sentence ambiguous, but won’t focus on anything deeper than these cosmetic details.
- Proofreading: At this point the manuscript is nearly finished. All plot, pacing, writing style, and character challenges have been worked out, and a copy edit has smoothed out most of the grammatical bumps. A proofread is the final pass to pick over things that the copy edit may have missed, and make sure the layout looks how it should. Proofreading is most effective if it is done after the manuscript is in its final state, – i.e., it has been typeset in your self-publisher’s template or put into the format you plan to use to submit it to traditional publishers. I can also typeset your manuscript at a small additional cost.