How We Work, and Pricing

If we haven't worked with you before, we will do a sample edit of a portion of your manuscript (5-10%) so that both parties can assess whether we want to work together, and in order to decide on a fair price.

This is our pricing structure (in US currency), in the order that you would perform the steps:

  • Line editing (the fluency and effectiveness of your writing at a sentence/paragraph level; two passes): 1.5c/word
  • Copy editing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, style consistency, correct word usage, factual accuracy, continuity errors; two passes): 1c/word (light), 1.5c/word (heavy)
  • Combined line edit and copy edit (three passes): 1.75c/word
  • Proofreading (final check of a finished, laid-out manuscript for typos and mechanical errors; one pass): 0.75c/word

Broadly speaking, a line edit is "have you done the right thing?" and a copy edit is "have you done the thing right?" In practice, you are likely to get some copy editing with your line editing (since errors are distracting), and some line editing with your copy editing (since we can't help wanting to improve your manuscript), but specifying which you are looking for helps us to focus on your primary goal for the edit.

The sample edit also enables us to discover whether a "light" or "heavy" copy edit is required, based on the number of errors we find.

The sample edit, and subsequent edits, can be performed in Google Docs, MS Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice, by arrangement. Google Docs offers better collaboration tools than MS Word, and there are no compatibility issues between versions, but it can encounter issues with larger files or large numbers of edits.

If either party decides not to continue further after the sample edit, there is no charge. If we agree to proceed, you will receive a quote based on the number of words in your manuscript (as counted by the word processor used), rounded to the nearest $5, and 50% of the quoted price is payable before commencement of work. The balance is payable on completion.

Payment is via PayPal.

We usually do two complete editing passes for line and copy editing. After the first, you will be asked to respond to the edits and accept or reject them, clearing the decks for the second pass. Particularly with manuscripts that have a lot of issues, it's easy to miss some, and getting the bulk of them out of the way makes it easier to see the remainder.

If we mutually agree that a third pass is required, there will be an additional charge. We also offer a combined line edit and copy edit, which is three passes.

For first-time clients, the price includes a free copy of Mike's book, The Well-Presented Manuscript: Just What You Need to Make Your Fiction Look Professional. It covers the most common copy editing issues, and can help you to understand why we make the changes we make and how to improve your manuscript for next time.

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