Developmental Editing | Substantive Editing | Copy Editing | Proofreading | Indexing | Book Proposal Consulting/Editing
Before you’ve written your book we can help you plan your editorial strategy (help you form a vision for the book, define your goals, and identify your potential readers) and work with you to develop your topic, plan the overall structure of the book to give the manuscript shape, and create a detailed book outline. We can also guide you throughout the writing process, coaching you to keep on course chapter by chapter to ensure that your vision is successfully executed.
Once your manuscript is written, we can take a comprehensive, detail-oriented approach to editing it, pointing out strengths and weaknesses and suggesting specific improvements — in idea development, organization, style consistency, narrative flow, word choice, and other aspects of writing to make your book compelling and valuable to your audience. We make sure that we retain your voice while bringing out the flair and professionalism in your writing. Substantive Editing includes Copy Editing (see below).
Substantive Editing includes checking that:
- Your ideas are developed clearly and logically and expressed persuasively
- Your words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters flow smoothly
- You’ve written everything you need to get your point across to the reader
- Your style (voice) is consistent and appropriate to your intended audience
- Your writing is not wordy, redundant, repetitive, ambiguous, or passive
- Your sentences are not overly complex – the writing is concise and to the point
- Your chapter titles and subheads are strong, purposeful, and exhibit a logical, parallel structure
- The book is organized optimally – chapters, subchapters, etc. are in the right order
- Your use of jargon or technical terms is appropriate for your intended audience
- You don’t come across as too self-serving
- The words you use are the best words for the point you’re trying to make
- Your manuscript is formatted appropriately
- Frontmatter, part titles, chapter titles, and subheads are accurate and consistent
- Previews, summaries, and end-of-chapter questions reflect content
- Your tables are optimized – organized in the best way to communicate the information to the reader
- Obvious errors of fact are noted and corrections are suggested
- Any issues we see with the manuscript are brought to your attention
Once your manuscript is written, we can review it to insure that grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style are perfect. We’ll check for consistency and accuracy throughout and insure that any required style guidelines are followed (our standard guides are The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).
Copy Editing includes checking that:
- Your writing is clear, correct, and comprehensible
- Your manuscript consistently follows standard editorial guidelines (usually The Chicago Manual of Style)
- Your grammar, word choice, and sentence structure is ideal
- Your punctuation, capitalization, spelling, headings, and lists are proper, consistent, and accurate
- Your subjects and verbs and pronouns and antecedents are in agreement
- You don’t use slang, sexist language, or other inappropriate figures of speech
- Your citations, references, glossary, notes, tables, figures and charts are accurate and complete
- Abbreviations, acronyms, numbers, and symbols are used properly
- Illustrations and tables are in the right place and referenced appropriately
- Your table of contents is accurate
- Notes, bibliographies, and reference lists are standardized
It’s not uncommon for writers or reviewers to introduce errors when adding or rewriting material. As a final check on your manuscript before it goes to press, we will review it for errors in spelling; punctuation; line, word, or page spacing; typography; formatting; end-of-line hyphenation; widows and orphans; page headers, footers, and numbers; illustration and table positioning; and anything else we believe is a mistake.
Just before your book goes to press, we can prepare an index for the book. The index is a list of words or phrases with pointers (usually page numbers) to where useful material relating to a topic can be found in the book. We will read through your book and identify the information that’s important or useful to the reader to list in the index. The key is that the index helps the reader easily find information they’re looking for.
Book Proposal Consulting/Editing
We can help you prepare a proposal to help you convince an agent or publisher to accept your book. We’ll provide you with a template to create a first draft of your proposal, which should include an overview of your book, your analysis of the book’s potential market, and information about you, especially any connections you have with your potential audience. We’ll edit what you’ve written to insure that your proposal is accurate, appropriate, and, most importantly, highly persuasive. We’ll also edit one to two sample chapters to include in your proposal. Finally, we’ll offer some guidance as to who to send the proposal to.