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Book Editing

Book Editing


Editing takes multiple forms, depending on the status of your manuscript (MS) and your book’s needs. The four basic editorial services are Developmental/Content Editing, Line Editing, Copyediting, and Proofreading (although proofreading is not editing, it’s listed under editorial services, because it forms the conclusion of the editorial process. More on proofreading below).

Starting prices are offered for standard-length projects for your reference. Note that these prices are estimates. Factors such as the technical or in-depth nature of your material, research needs, editorial schedule and deadlines, as well as your specific word count, affect the final project quote. Please contact me for a fee specific to your project, and be sure to review Working with Alexandra before starting the project.

Service

Starting price, 100 pg MS*

Starting price, 300 pg MS**

Developmental/Content Edit $910 $2700
Line Edit $750 $2190
Copyedit $550 $1600
Proofread $420 $1260
Post-Layout Proofread Only*** $300 $850

*Average length for a non-technical, self-published work of nonfiction, at the industry standard 250 words/page.
**Average length for a book-length work of fiction (novel), or memoir, at 250 words/page.
***The standard proofread includes two passes, one before and one after the manuscript is set into layout (either print or digital). This option is one pass, post-layout only.

Types of Editing

Developmental/Content Editing

The developmental edit deals with overall structure and content. It takes place before any copyediting, because it cares about the big picture–coherence and organization, and the manuscript’s appropriateness and appeal to your chosen audience. This is the 30,000-foot view of the work. The developmental edit asks:

Fiction:
Is the beginning interesting enough to grab the reader and is the ending satisfying (this is not the same as closure)? Are the characters weak or poorly drawn? Do they speak alike? Are they three-dimensional individuals? Is the plot credible or exciting (consider genre)?

Do scenes lack emotion or portray melodrama? Do the descriptions set the stage, take over the work, or are they missing? Are there errors or inconsistencies in point of view? Are there inconsistencies in usage of tense or voice? Is the protagonist sympathetic and compelling? Is the outcome of all conflicts predictable? Is the antagonist too weak, too evil, or not motivated enough to be believable? Is there enough rising tension throughout the story/chapters to hold interest?

Nonfiction:
Are the ideas presented clearly and are they logically developed? What is the basis of the author’s expertise and is the author credible in the topic? Is the book appropriate in tone, style, and format for its intended audience? Is it consistent in its approach? Is the length of the MS appropriate?

What is the overall structure? Are the chapters and sections organized in a way that is clear and compelling? Are any chapters repetitious, out of place, or unnecessary? Are any passages unclear or confusing? Are organizing strategies such as headings, subheadings, transitions, and quotes used effectively? Do tables, charts, or graphics support and clarify the text?

Does the MS use a lot of jargon? What is the overall purpose or takeaway of the manuscript and does it achieve these goals? Is the work complete or does it require further information? Are sources missing?

A developmental edit is a conversation between the author and the editor about big points of theme and clarity. None of us see our text clearly after working on it for a long time. Let me be your second set of eyes.

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Alexandra was particularly helpful during the developmental edit phase, taking a global perspective in providing guidance to my manuscript. She helped me get out of the weeds after becoming so immersed in the work and guided me to understand the arc from the vantage point of the reader. As a first time author, Alexandra’s experience about how to bring a self-published book to market really helped me navigate an unknown new process. If you have a chance to work with Alexandra on your book, you should!

Jim Martin
Sales Leader,
Author, The Modern Compassionate Leader

Line Editing

The line edit goes through your MS, as its name suggests, line by line. When most people talk about “editing,” the line edit is part of what they have in mind (the other two parts are copyediting and proofreading). The line edit is where we make your sentences pretty: clarity, readability, word choice, style, voice, and so on. Big picture questions about structure have already been addressed (see the Developmental Edit) and now we focus on how to deliver on those big picture questions in a compelling way—the craft of writing. Every word should be there for a reason.

Most of the time, the line edit and the copyedit go hand in hand (see below).

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Alexandra did a great job for me editing my book, The Reluctant Leader. I especially needed someone to catch where I’d written, “we’ll discuss this more in Chapter X,” and then never got to Chapter X, and she found ’em all. She also kept my “voice” in my writing, which was important to me. I can’t wait to work on our next project together.

Eva Doyle
Author and Speaker, The Reluctant Leader: From Technical Expert to Human Expert

Copyediting

Copyediting focuses on consistent language and presentation, and like the Line Edit comes after any developmental editing or big-picture revisions. The copyedit ensures the work is strong and clear from a technical point of view. It typically goes along with a line edit (see above): where the line focuses on the poetry of your writing, copyediting focuses on rules.

English gives us many choices we often don’t think about, including the use of hyphenation, the spelling out of number words, header and table formatting, and more. When done well, the average reader may not notice it’s there, but everyone notices when it’s missing.

Copyediting includes:

  • Word choice and repetition
  • Lapses in logic or sequential slip-ups
  • Front and back matter
  • Spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Stylistic and formatting consistency: chapter headings, capitalization, hyphenation, abbreviation, use of proper names, paragraph indentation, font, font size, margins, captions, citations, tables, graphics, bulleted lists, and more

A good copyedit can make the difference between a work whose impact is “ho-hum” and a text that sizzles. See the difference between the copyedit and the proofread here.

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Alexandra is an amazing resource for anyone writing a book! She assisted me with developmental and copy editing. Her professionalism, timeliness, clear communication and vast knowledge allow her to gracefully guide you through the process. I couldn’t have been more pleased! It is because of her partnership that my book has hit best seller not once, but three times! Thank you Alexandra.

Angela Gaffney
Wellness Keynote Speaker, Author, Feel Good, Look Good, For Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Achieve Lifelong Health

Proofreading

Proofreading deals only with presentation. I cannot stress this enough. A proofread is not an edit and has almost nothing in common with an edit (though an edit may tangentially look at spelling). Proofreading does not deal with the content, whether it’s logically organized, cohesive, or interesting to read. Proofreading doesn’t care if the work is repetitious or filled with jargon and inconsistencies. Proofreading focuses on accuracy. It cares about:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Errant formatting—e.g., widow or orphan lines or phrases
  • Text that has been converted to a different file format with all formatting intact

That’s it.

Proofreading is the last step in the review process before the work goes to print or is digitally published. A proofread is absolutely crucial to your work. A book that looks like a mess, and is filled with typos and formatting problems, immediately destroys the author’s credibility as well as reader interest. No edit can replace a final proofread.

If you contact me for a proofread-only, I will ask whether you’ve had any other editorial work done. I typically do not accept documents that have had no other editorial review. For book manuscripts, I offer a “sandwich” review: once before the work is placed into layout, and once after layout and immediately before publication. The first review minimizes errors that go into the layout, which can be costly and time-consuming to fix. The second confirms that the file conversion is clean.

Make sure your manuscript looks as good as it is. Have it proofread.

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How long is your book (how many words)?