I've been working as an editor since 2001. Over the years, I've worked on a wide variety of documents ranging from website copy and sales pages to PhD theses and books. Recent projects include Abbie Broad's Does It Really Need to Be This Hard?, Vie Portland's La Vie Est Belle, The Cambridge Companion to Sherlock Holmes, and Jude and Chris Wharton's The Website Handbook.
**Note: I never announce that I'm working on a project unless the writer has given me express permission to talk about our work together.
Types of editing
As anyone who has learned English as a second language knows, it's a funny old language that often uses one word to mean lots of different things. That's definitely true of words like editing and proofreading.
Below, I define how I use these terms. I've listed these from the lowest level of editorial intervention to the highest. Please note, the rate I quote you depends on the state of your manuscript and your turnaround time.
To professionals, like me, proofreading refers to checking that your page proofs reflect the changes recommended by your copyeditor. I do offer proofreading as a service - you'll need to send me both your proofs (you'll get these from your book formatter) and the copy of the manuscript that has been marked up by your copyeditor. A proofreader only picks up small errors - this is not the place to fix the structure of the book, or even a paragraph. My rate starts at £0.012/word.
Proofedit is a word editors have started using to refer to what most people mean by "edit" or "proofread". A proofedit isn't as involved as a copy edit, but it's substantially more involved than a proofread. Writers working on a tight budget often only have one round of editing, and most choose a proofedit. My rate starts at £0.02/word.
Copy editing is much more involved than proofreading. It happens earlier in the publication process and involves checking for consistency, cleaning up grammar and punctuation issues, querying details, and making suggestions about the structure and flow. My rate starts at £0.03/word.
A structural edit focuses on the big picture. It can mean looking at a first draft (the messy draft) and putting the pieces together so they best serve the reader. In these cases, the structural edit is often combined with or followed by a copy edit. It can also mean helping the writer rethink their outline. My quotes for this type are based on the shape the manuscript/outline is in and my estimate of how long it will take. Thus, these are too varied to give an indicative rate.
Get a quote
Please note that when I give you a quote, the price will not change unless you need to change the brief. By that, I mean that if I quote you £15 for a job based on it being a copyedit of a 500-word document and you send me 1000 words, the price will double (should this happen, I'll contact you before beginning work).
To get a quote, please email me at email@example.com. In your email, please include the following:
The type of document you want me to edit
In other words, is it a book manuscript, blog post, website copy, ...?
Total word count for the job
This includes all notes and the bibliography
What level of editing you want
Proofread, proofedit, copy edit, structural edit, or something else?
I need to know when you need the work back from me. Make sure you include time between when I return it and when you need to publish it (or send it to the formatter, etc.). For example, if your book is due to your book formatter by 20 June, you'll need the edited manuscript back from me no later than 13 June to give you time to go through and either accept or reject my edits.
An attachment of either the whole manuscript or a 300-word excerpt from the middle of the larger work.
Please send this attachment as either a Word file or a Google doc. Why does the excerpt have to come from the middle? Because writers spend more time on the beginning and the end - I need an accurate idea of what state most of the writing is in to give you a quote for the work. If you send me the first 300 words, I'll send you an updated quote before starting work - this will delay your project.