I perform light copy editing which is a line by line read where errors are flagged and corrections recommended, i.e., spelling, grammar, punctuation; usage consistencies of proper nouns, character names, seasons and dates; flagging “jargon” if it doesn’t fit in context; checking citations and notes for consistency and accuracy; working with a “style sheet”; verifying cross-reference text and proper numbering of footnotes, endnotes, tables and illustrations; verifying your Table of Contents match with actual final page numbering.
Note: Medium and heavy copy editing refer to content and development editing which is far more involved and requires the editor to devote considerably more time to the narrative – how the story is progressing, how and if a crisis is resolved, plot and character development, etc. However, if I notice something I think falls into either of these two categories, I will alert you immediately and most likely return that particular section to you for your edits and corrections before I continue my work.
Proofreading is the final step of the pre-publishing process and is the last chance to identify any previously missed typographical errors; inconsistencies within the text; usage errors, i.e., verb person/tense; punctuation; table of contents linking, etc. It’s the technical part of your document. No matter how good your story, you want your book, short story or article to look professional.
Depending upon the length of your manuscript or short story, I can get a fair idea of what your charge would be based on how many pages and words are in the original work. Industry standard is 250 words per page. For manuscripts, my first task is a “light read” with no proofreading or copyediting at no charge. A light read is simply scanning text not necessarily for content or meaning but rather to get a feel of the writer’s voice, syntax used, that type of thing. This step is not necessary before you move on in the process, but I believe it is a good idea for someone with a fresh set of eyes to look at your work and give you an honest assessment before you move forward in whatever direction you decide to go. It’s a little like beta reading, only not as involved.
I use Track Changes in Microsoft Word. If you’re unfamiliar with Track Changes, excellent tutorials are available online. It’s a very clean and easy program to learn and use. As I read your manuscript, I will indicate those words or sentences I think need attention from you, typographically or as a correction to the flow of the passage. I will not make arbitrary changes or edits; my comments will come to you only by Track Changes as comments so you can actually see the before and after side-by-side. In the final analysis, it is your manuscript or short story. I will email you the Track Changes next version up (i.e., version 2) for your review and acceptance as we go through the manuscript a chapter (or a few pages) at a time.
* Accepted industry standard is 250 words per page, double-spaced.
After our initial contact, I ask that you email me a sample of your manuscript or short story, for example, Chapter One of your manuscript or the first 1000 words or so of your short story, for an initial quick read. As I make my way through the chapter or section, I’ll be able to develop more of an understanding of your writing style as well as your voice and will then have a better idea of how much time I will need to proof and/or copy edit your document. Proofing and copy editing are two separate processes. Once I’m finished with your sample, I will send you a written estimate by email as to what the entire project would cost and my time for completion, followed up by a phone call to discuss the estimate and the work. It would then be up to you to hire me or pass. If you choose to hire me, we would agree on cost and discuss arrangements for payment. I could then get started on your project. If you opt not to hire me, that’s absolutely alright – there are many other qualified copy editors available online who I’m sure are excellent and would love to help you. But, I hope you hire me.
My ultimate goal is that you are totally satisfied with my work and are ready to move on to the next step. After all of the time, energy and sleepless nights you’ve put into your manuscript or story already, you deserve the best I can offer so that you’ll be freed up to move on and actually enjoy what you’ve accomplished.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.