Copy-editing

Type

What is copy-editing?

Copy-editing is what most people think of when they hear the word “editing”: fixing typos, spelling mistakes, grammar/usage problems, and punctuation errors. However, there’s much more to a good copy-edit than that. It’s also done to check consistency (your character was a blonde in chapter one, but in chapter ten she’s a brunette), contradictions, omissions, style, readability, flow, and needless repetition. Copy-editing is done before proofreading but after developmental/structural editing.

I’m planning to self-publish. Do you take on self-published authors?

Yes! I’m very happy to work with independent authors.

What do you copy-edit?

My area of expertise is fiction: flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. I’m also happy to copy-edit memoirs, essays, blog posts, and articles.

What will I get with a copy-edit?

Once I’ve finished working, I will send your work back to you marked up with suggested amendments using track changes; I will not simply make changes directly to your work. You will see my amendments in the margins, and you can then decide to either accept the changes I’ve made or ignore them. It’s always possible a mistake I’ve spotted was intentional, or I may make more than one suggestion.

Will I need further editing after a copy-edit?

It’s always good to have a final check once you’ve implemented all the necessary changes and tweaks, so I recommend work to be proofread once it’s complete. After numerous rewrites, you become “blind” to your own mistakes, so having a fresh set of eyes look over your work is always a good idea; I can almost guarantee I’ll catch something that has slipped through, as I’ve been trained to “read” a piece of work in a particular way.

Will you catch every error? (You are called Perfectly Write, after all!)

No editor or proofreader can catch everything. I make every effort to hit 100% accuracy, but it’s more likely I’ll pick up 90-95% of the mistakes present, although it depends largely on the number of overall errors. This is why more than one round of editing – standard within traditional publishing – is vital.

Another important thing to note is that the English language is always evolving; the rules never stay the same! One editor may say a hyphen or a comma is needed somewhere, while another editor would disagree. These are “style” choices, and neither is wrong.

I live in the US. Are you familiar with American English?

I’m an American expat; I spent my first 24 years in the States, so I’m just as familiar with US conventions as I am with UK usage.

Are there any genres you won’t edit?

I don’t critique poetry or scripts. I prefer not to read stories that are particularly gory, or where the violence is there for shock value. If I find a piece too difficult to work with, I will ask to be relieved of our agreement and process a full refund of the fees you’ve paid.

What formats do you accept?

I accept work in Microsoft Word, PDF, and Apple Pages.

How long will it take?

Turnaround time varies greatly depending upon word length. I aim to have work of 5000 words or fewer back within 2–3 days.

What are your rates?

I accept payment via PayPal or direct deposit. Copy-editing costs £9 per 1000 words (£0.009/word).

Do I have to pay upfront?

If the quoted fees are £200 or more, you can pay half before work commences and the other half within 14 days of receiving the second invoice, which is sent the same day as the completed work (UK clients only; clients outside the UK must pay in full upfront), otherwise I request payment before starting work.

How do we get started?

If you’d like to work with me:

  1. Please send me an email at michelle@perfectlywrite.co.uk with your name, the title and genre of your work, the word count, and any relevant information. It is preferable that you also include the work itself (or the first 1000 words if the piece is longer than 10,000 words) as an attachment (Word, PDF, or Pages) so that I can take an initial look to make sure I’m able to help you.
  2. After I receive your email and take a peek at your work, I will reply with a price quote and an estimate of how long it will take.
  3. If you’re happy with this, please let me know how you’d prefer to pay.
  4. I will then send you either a PayPal invoice or details on how to make a direct deposit into my bank account. If you haven’t already done so, please send your work at this point. Once payment has cleared, I will begin working on the project.

Please note: by agreeing to the quote and paying the first invoice, you are agreeing to the terms & conditions.

I don’t like working electronically. Can we work on paper?

Yes, as long as the work has been word processed and not handwritten. Please follow the steps above, including sending a sample of your work. Once we’ve ironed out the details, we can proceed in one of two ways:

•You can print out your work and post it to me (single-spaced, 3 cm margins, sent via recorded delivery).

or,

•I can print the work out for a fee of 2.5p per page.

I will also need to include a fee for return postage, which will depend upon the size of the manuscript. I will include a postage quote along with the quote for the copy-editing.

Please ensure you read the terms & conditions prior to commissioning work.