FAQ

Please contact me if there is anything else you need to know.
(Updated April 2017)

What is the difference between copy-editing and proofreading?

How long will it take to copy-edit my original typescript?

Do you copy-edit/proofread directly onto the screen?

Do you use the 'Track Changes' feature in Word?

How do I send you sample pages?

Is there a minimum charge/word count?

Is there a maximum word count?

Do you accept handwritten documents?

Do you accept typewritten documents?

Do you accept third-party typescripts?

Can you convert my typewritten document to an electronic copy?

What happens to my copy-edited typescript?

Can you create a cover on my behalf?

How is the actual fee set?

When and how do I pay?

What is structural editing?

What is copy-editing?

What is proofreading?

Q. What is the difference between copy-editing and proofreading?
A. In mainstream publishing, copy-editing and proofreading are two different processes; both involve careful reading of a document. Briefly, copy-editing is carried out on the original typescript and involves checking the text for sense and style before it is typeset to produce proofs (a printed version of how the finished book will look). A copy-editor will check for spelling and punctuation errors but also that the text is readable, has a coherent structure, and is organised properly. Proofreading is carried out on the typeset document (the proof) and involves checking the text for any last-minute errors and omissions before the document is finally sent for printing. Copy-editing is a more complex job than proofreading, but both are equally important.

Q. How long will it take to copy-edit my original typescript?
A. This will depend on the word count of the document, and the level of editing required. In terms of hours, a novel of about 100,000 words will take me about 50 hours to complete, on average, but I do not work full-time hours, so the timescale will be spread across a number of weeks. Please also read the page about timescales.

Q. Do you copy-edit/proofread directly from the screen?
A. Generally, I copy-edit and proofread on paper (hard copy), as it is more reliable. Also, the text is easier to read, causes less eye strain, and provides more of a feel for the layout and organisation of the text. It also enables me to work independently from the computer. However, I do double-check text onscreen as I am updating the document, and if I am carrying out a proofread for a self-publishing project, I prefer to have an actual proof copy of the book.

Q. Do you use the 'Track Changes' feature in Word?
A. I can use Track Changes for both copy-editing and proofreading, using the comments feature to raise queries, rather than raising them in a separate document.

Q. How do I send you sample pages?
A. My preferred method is email. I accept documents in Word, OpenOffice, or PDF formats. If you wish to send them through the post, please format the text in double-line spacing, with margins of at least 1"/2.54 cm all the way round, and with text on one side of the page only. Please use the Contact Me form to ask for my postal address.

Q. Is there a minimum charge/word count?
A. Yes. Anything up to, and including, a word count of 2000 incurs a charge of £10.00 for an initial copy-edit/proofread.

Q. Is there a maximum word count?
A. Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to work on long typescripts. Generally, a novel of around 100,000 words is my limit.

Q. Do you accept handwritten documents?
A. For handwritten documents, the answer is generally, no, but I will accept up to one A4 page of handwritten text written neatly on lined paper with wide margins available on each side.

Q. Do you accept typewritten documents?
A. Provided it is typed in a reasonable-sized font on one side of the page only, with double-line spacing, adequate margins and page numbers, then I can offer the standard copy-editing service. However, I will not be able to update the document electronically, and if you wish to self-publish, you will need an electronic copy.

Q. Do you accept third-party typescripts?
A. I accept third-party introductions. After that, I will only work with the author of the typescript being copy-edited, proofread, or self-published, unless there is a specific reason why this cannot happen, in which case, I will require notification in writing from the author.

Q. Can you convert my typewritten document to an electronic copy?
A. Yes. This is done using a scanner and OCR software. If you are interested in this service, please contact me with the number of pages of text to be converted. I can also convert from an existing printed novel.

Q. What happens to my copy-edited typescript?
A. I retain all copy-edited typescripts for a period of one year after the project is completed, and then they are shredded. If you would like it returned to you, I can do so, but bear in mind that postage costs will be high if the document is a novel. Unless otherwise requested, I retain electronic copies, indefinitely, after the project is completed. This is because of rewrites or revisions that you may require.

Q. Can you create a cover on my behalf?
A. It depends. If you are happy to use a template cover as offered by the self-publishing provider, then yes. This will be subject to a fee, negotiated separately depending on the level of work required. Otherwise, unfortunately, no. You will need to find a graphic designer/illustrator to create the cover of your book.

Q. How is the actual fee set?
A. Although I do not charge by the hour, but on the word count of the document, the actual fee is based on estimates that the sample edit produces, such as the number of hours it may take to complete the whole manuscript. This can only ever be an estimate. In reality, I may pick up issues throughout the manuscript that were not obvious in the sample. Whilst work is in progress, if the difference between the work-in-progress timescale and the estimated timescale remains over 10 hours, I shall contact you to explain the situation and discuss a way forward, as this will generally mean negotiating an additional fee.

Q. When and how do I pay?
A. With novels or anthologies, half of the total amount is payable just before the work is to begin. The remainder as follows:
Option 1. After copy-editing or proofreading is completed.
Option 2. After the final proofread, but before actual self-publishing.
For shorter pieces, full payment is required at the outset.
Payment can be made by cheque or electronically via Internet Banking. PayPal is a last resort.

Q. What is structural editing?
A. Structural editing (also known as 'developmental editing') is all about the bigger picture. It enables the editor to understand the whole story and make sense of all the parts. A structural edit always involves at least one read through, analysing such things as narrative voice, plot and structure, point of view, writing style, pace, character, dialogue, and the beginning, middle and end of the story. At this stage, an author may be required to rewrite if there are issues with the above.

Q. What is copy-editing?
A. After structural editing has taken place, and the author has carried out any rewrites, the typescript is ready to be copy-edited. This involves checking the text for anomalies and errors before it is typeset to produce proofs (a printed version of how the finished book will look). Amongst other things, a copy-editor will check for timing and continuity problems, loose ends, consistency of detail and irrelevant details, errors of fact, repetition, copyright and libel, as well as spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

Q. What is proofreading?
A. After copy-editing has taken place, the next stage in conventional publishing is to produce proofs (a printed version of how the finished book will look). Proofreading is then carried out and involves checking the text for any last-minute errors and omissions before the document is finally published. Whilst copy-editing is a more complex job than proofreading, both are equally important as it is possible for mistakes to be missed (or even created!) at the copy-editing stage.

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