I offer four types of editing for books and articles: substantive editing, copyediting, reference editing, and proofreading.
Once you’ve sorted out what you need—or if you need help doing so—get in touch! If you’re months ahead of schedule, that’s perfect; if you find yourself in need of an editor stat, try me. Chances are we’ll be able to work something out. If we can’t, I’ll do my best to help you find the perfect editor for your work.
Also called line editing, substantive editing is the level between developmental editing (wholesale structural revisions and reworking) and copyediting (grammatical and stylistic changes), and it focuses primarily on reworking at the sentence or, at most, paragraph level to streamline writing and improve clarity.
While I will correct grammatical and spelling issues as I notice them, things like comma placement errors and typos are not my primary focus in a substantive edit. I’ll look for those issues in a copyedit; I prefer to keep these levels of editing separate because combining them degrades the quality of both.
You may need substantive editing if:
- You’ve been asked to revise and resubmit your manuscript because the writing is a little rough or wordy
- You need to cut your word count by 5 percent or more
- You’ve already worked with a developmental editor to hammer out your argument and find the best structure for your piece, but the writing doesn’t flow quite as well as you’d like it to
In a copyedit, I will take a finer-grained look at your manuscript, cleaning up grammatical, mechanical, and spelling issues and conforming the manuscript to your preferred style guide (Chicago, MLA, AMA, SAA, or another guide if needed).
Please note that I consider reference editing to be a separate service, so if you need both, please let me know. (More on reference editing below!)
You may need copyediting if:
- You’re preparing to submit your manuscript to publishers and want to be sure it’s tidied up and ready to make the best impression
- You plan to self-publish and have already completed several rounds of revision to fix argument or narrative, paragraph transitions, sentence-level flow, and other larger-scale issues
I’ll clean up your documentation—your notes, citations, and/or bibliography—according to your preferred style guide (Chicago, MLA, AMA, or SAA, or another guide if needed). Depending on the style guide you’ve used, I may be able to convert your documentation to a different style if needed. I can also create a bibliography from your notes. Let me know what you need!
You may need reference editing if:
- You put together your own documentation but aren’t confident that you’ve accurately followed the style guide
- Your publisher has asked you to convert your documentation to a different style guide or to create a bibliography to accompany your notes or citations
A proofread is typically a final check of proofs (after the manuscript has been typeset in a program such as InDesign) to identify any remnant grammatical mistakes, typos, errors introduced in typesetting, and any other layout or typesetting problems. Proofreading is really the very last look at a text and should be done only after the text has been copyedited.
You may think of proofreading as a very light edit—”just a quick proofread”—but if your manuscript is still in a Word document, according to the publishing industry’s parlance, you’re really looking for a copyedit. Proofreading is typically done in pdf files because the text has already been moved into a typesetting program.
You may need proofreading if:
- Your publisher has asked you to proofread your own book, and you’d like a professional to do the job
- You’re self-publishing, have pdf files from your designer, and are gearing up to send your book to a printer or finalize your e-book for publication
Feeling a little overwhelmed?
If you aren’t sure what type of editing you need, I can help! Fill out my contact form.