Editing Styles

What does your manuscript need?

Don’t panic if you don’t know what to call the type of editing you want. There are a lot of editing styles, and different editors, publishers, reference books and schools use different names for them. Read over the following descriptions and then contact me to discuss your book. After we hit it off, I’ll be delighted to do a free sample edit for you.

Copyediting, sometimes called line editing, includes the following:

correcting mechanics while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text

    • spelling
    • grammar
    • punctuation
    • syntax
    • word usage
  • checking for or imposing a consistent style (Chicago, AP, APA, MLA)
    • treatment of numbers and numerals
    • treatment of quotations
    • use of abbreviations and acronyms
    • use of italics and bold type
  • reading for overall clarity and sense on behalf of the prospective audience

Substantive editing improves a manuscript in any or all of the following ways:

  • identifying and solving problems of overall clarity or accuracy
  • reorganizing paragraphs, sections, or chapters to improve the order in which the text is presented
  • writing or rewriting segments of text to improve readability and flow of information
  • revising any or all aspects of the text to improve its presentation
  • addressing issues of verb tense

Rewriting includes any or all of the following:

  • adding original material to a draft
  • deleting material
  • reorganizing material
  • collaborating with the author
  • producing another draft
  • reworking print copy for online publication or online copy for print publication

Developmental editing includes any or all of the following:

  • working with the author to develop a manuscript from an initial concept, outline, or draft (or some combination of the three) through any number of subsequent drafts
  • making suggestions about content, organization, and presentation, based on analysis of competing works, comments of expert reviewers, the client’s market analysis, and other appropriate references
  • rewriting, writing, and researching, as needed, and sometimes suggesting topics or providing information about topics for consideration of authors and client

Manuscript critique

If you have concerns about your book’s bigger picture, a manuscript critique is a great way to identify areas and avenues for improvement. Check out my manuscript critique page for more information.

*My guidelines are adapted from the Editorial Freelancers Association’s definition of terms and from The Copyeditor’s Handbook, Third Edition by Amy Einsohn.


Turnaround time: Depends on the project. I tend to book a couple of months ahead of time, but rush jobs are sometimes available for a million dollars more. Call me, we’ll talk.

Accepted payments: PayPal, checks