The names of various types of editing mean different things to different people. Here’s how I define the terms. The rates listed are estimates; I will provide an actual price after editing a sample to assess my speed.
Manuscript critique: The editor reads the manuscript and provides an assessment of the structure, the plot, the pacing, and other aspects of the work. This is a budget-conscious way to get big-picture editorial guidance early in the writing process. I currently do not offer this service.
Developmental editing (also called substantive editing): The editor provides a thorough assessment of the manuscript, including the structure, plot, pacing, narrative flow, character development, and dialogue. The editor highlights what is working and offers suggestions for what’s not. This is a useful service for authors with an early draft or a draft that seems weak. I currently do not offer this service.
Professional beta read: I’ll act as a first reader. After reading the manuscript, I’ll provide feedback on the work overall, what works and what doesn’t, the book’s readability, and what followup editing the book might need. Learn more about having a beta read by a professional editor here. A rate estimate is 0.0025 per word.
Professional beta read plus: I’ll act as a first reader. After reading the manuscript, I’ll provide feedback on the work overall, what works and what doesn’t, the book’s readability, and what followup editing the book might need. In addition to commenting on the manuscript overall, I will comment on specific passages throughout the manuscript. Learn more about having this beta read by a professional editor here. A rate estimate is $0.02 per word.
Line editing (also called heavy copyediting): I’ll rewrite tangled sentences, remove redundancies, and tighten wordy or awkward passages that might hinder the reader. I’ll work on sentence structure and flow, diction, syntax, and consistency and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. I will work to make your manuscript clear and readable. In fiction, I may point out overall structural issues and problems with characters or pacing. If needed, I will create a style sheet showing the decisions I made regarding consistent styles and spellings. A rate estimate is $0.03-0.06 per word. View a sample here.
Copyediting (also called light copyediting): I’ll correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and inconsistencies. If needed, I will create a style sheet showing the decisions I made regarding consistent styles and spellings. A rate estimate is $0.02-$0.03 per word. View a sample here.
Proofreading: I’ll mark corrections needed in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, using the style sheet created by the copyeditor, if there is one. Proofreading happens on the page proofs, after the manuscript text has been laid out in its final form, ready to be printed. It catches typographical errors introduced during the layout process. Proofing is therefore done on PDFs. A rate estimate is $3.00 per page.
Language editing (i.e., editing of ESL papers): The editor smooths out the language, rewriting tangled sentences into clear, intelligible text. She makes overly wordy passages concise. She corrects spelling, grammar, diction, syntax, consistency, article and preposition use, and the inappropriate use of idioms. In my experience, papers written in or translated into English by non-native-English speakers often need a line edit by someone who understands the science to become readable English without inadvertently changing any meaning. This work can be slow and therefore might cost more. A rate estimate is $0.04-0.08 per word. I’d be happy to edit your journal submission cover letter or responses to reviewers as part of our agreement. Read more here.