Home » Copy-editing


pen copy-editing proofreadingWhat is copy-editing?

Copy-editing is the process of getting your raw material ready for publication, either in print or digitally. It involves making sure your work reads well and is accurate, consistent and suitable for the intended audience. Copy-editing covers a broader range of issues in more depth than proofreading – the Society for Editors and Proofreaders has an excellent and thorough explanation on its website.

During a copy-edit, as well as looking for errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar, I will suggest edits at sentence and paragraph level to help your writing flow more smoothly. I will also flag up inconsistencies, factual errors and any areas where your meaning isn’t clear to me.

If your work is not going to be printed in hard copy but published digitally only, you may benefit from ‘proof-editing’, which is a sort of hybrid of proofreading and copy-editing where proofreading and some light editing are done at the same time. I’m happy to provide this service too.

My service

Before I start work, we will agree on a price and scope for the project. We will discuss your needs and make sure you are choosing the most appropriate service – copy-editing, proofreading or something else. We will also, of course, agree a deadline for me to get the edited document back to you.

If any issues or questions arise that affect the whole piece and that need to be resolved before I can move forward, I will raise these with you straight away.  You can decide how you want me to raise queries with you.

Once you receive the edited document, you are free to accept or reject my suggested changes as you see fit, as well as resolving any minor queries to your satisfaction. As per my terms and conditions, the total price includes a final swift run-through of the text to check these minor changes.

I usually work in Word with tracked changes, and this is my preferred method, but I can also mark up pdf files if required.

Contact me for a free, no-obligation quote.

As copy-editing takes place before typesetting, if you are having your work printed in hard copy, I recommend that, if your budget will stretch to it, you have your work proofread as the final stage before it goes to print. Proofreading will pick up on any errors that may have crept in during the typesetting/design process.

Other services

Developmental editing

Developmental editing is different from copy-editing in that it tackles the over-arching areas of plot, characterisation, point of view, style, tone and so on. Copy-editing may pick up on some of these, such as major plot holes or a particular bit of dialogue that seems out of character, but developmental editing looks at the big picture with a wider lens. For instance, a developmental editor may suggest cutting an entire chapter, rearranging sections, rewriting large areas and so on. There is little point looking at the details of spelling and punctuation if whole sections of text are going to be cut or rewritten!

I have undertaken some training that covered elements of developmental editing, but I have less experience in this than in copy-editing and proofreading. I am happy to take on developmental editing projects in order to gain more experience, and my hourly rate would be reduced to reflect that. I am particularly interested in working on fantasy, sci fi, romance, horror and literary fiction. Please contact me to discuss. 


I’m familiar with Adobe InDesign, so if you’d like me to typeset your work I’d be happy to oblige – please contact me to discuss. This can be undertaken alongside copy-editing and/or proofreading, or completely separately with no obligation to purchase any other services.