For large jobs, such as book manuscripts, you will usually need to book in advance so that I can schedule your work. That way I can be sure that I will be able to dedicate the time it deserves and meet your deadlines.
Smaller jobs are easier to fit into my schedule, and I will always try to accommodate where I can. Get in touch and let me know what you need.
Turnaround time depends on the amount of work required. As a guide, I would expect to return an average length manuscript within 2-3 weeks of starting work. You will need to book a slot in advance, so if you have particular deadlines do let me know from the outset.
Depending on my current workload, I may be able to complete the job faster. Get in touch and ask - I'll do my best to help!
Strictly speaking, both! Copy-editing looks at reviewing and correcting the manuscript to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness for its purpose. Traditionally, it is then typeset into its finished page layout, at which point it is sent to a proofreader who carries out a final "quality control" check for accuracy of spelling, punctuation and grammar, and any layout issues.
It is highly unlikely that all errors will be picked up on just one round of editing of any type, which is why, in the publishing industry, books go through several rounds.
However, in these days of digital publishing, the lines have become somewhat blurred and the workflow can sometimes look quite different to the traditional process. Also, I appreciate that you may only have enough in your budget to cover one editorial round. Sometimes a bespoke solution is suitable, such as a combined light edit & proofread.
I believe it’s very important to be honest about ‘perfection’ upfront. That is the aim, but perfection is very rarely possible, because there are other issues to bear in mind.
Firstly, editing is as much an art as it is a science. Very often there will be more than one way to edit a passage. Editing involves judgement calls which not everyone will agree on.
Secondly, the level of accuracy possible will largely depend on how much editing has gone before. If I am the first person to edit your document, it is likely that I will be making thousands of decisions – to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar, check consistency, spot issues in timeline or pacing, check facts, attend to formatting issues and more. With that much to attend to, I absolutely cannot not guarantee to pick up every single incorrectly placed comma on the first pass. I am only human!
Put bluntly, the more errors that are in the manuscript to begin with, the harder it is for a professional editor or proofreader to find them all. As a guide, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders says that an experienced professional proofreader, reading a previously copy-edited typescript, ‘should be able to spot and deal appropriately with at least 80% of all errors but at least 90% of typos – other things being equal.’
This is precisely why publishing companies invest in several rounds of editing for every book they publish – they know that it takes that many to identify all the problems.
So, I cannot guarantee that your book will be perfect when I have finished with it. That would be misleading and unethical. What I can guarantee is that I will do my very best and aim for the very highest standards. I can also guarantee that the changes I make will result in a higher quality book.
Developmental editing (also known as structural editing) is the first stage of editing and looks at the structure and development of the book as a whole, including issues of plot, character development, pacing and dialogue. A developmental editor will work with the writer to discuss these issues and suggest improvements. The writer will take those on board and redraft the book, sometimes making radical changes. A book may go through several rounds of developmental editing.
This type of editing moulds the book into the best shape possible, at which point it is ready for copy-editing.
A manuscript critique is similar, but somewhat less involved. If you’re hiring someone to critique your manuscript, such as a beta reader, they will create a report highlighting any problem areas and suggesting ways to improve them. Writers sometimes choose to work through this stage less formally, such as asking members of their writing group to critique the work.
At the moment I do not offer developmental editing or manuscript critiquing. However, some of the aspects of those services also appear in copy-editing. If I notice issues of pacing, plot, character etc., I will mention these. If I feel your manuscript would benefit from a developmental edit, I may suggest you put the copy-editing on hold and consider it.