Levels of Editing

Substantive Editing

Also called content editing, substantive editing is a big picture review of a manuscript or text. It focuses on the content of the manuscript (what the text is saying) and form (how information is presented). A substantive edit includes evaluating the organization of the manuscript or piece, development of ideas, tone, clarity, and intention. The editing is very detailed and hands-on. Often there are questions that need to be addressed and ideas that need to be expanded upon. I include queries and suggestions for the author using Microsoft Word’s comment feature.

The ultimate goal of a substantive edit is to bring out the author’s best voice, shape the text to address the intended audience, and ensure that manuscript meets its established purpose.

Substantive editing is intended for complete manuscript drafts. I complete a sample edit and estimate of total hours upfront, before editing begins.

Substantive Editing Fee: $50 per hour


Once the structure of the manuscript or piece is finalized during the substantive edit phase, the manuscript is ready for copyediting. This is the level of edit that typically comes to mind when people think of editing. At this stage, I continue to polish your manuscript by reviewing for correct grammar, punctuation, word usage, sentence structure and spelling, according to the guidelines of standard English. I also compile a style sheet, containing all of the stylistic decisions I’ve made while working my way through the text. The style sheet includes correct spellings of proper nouns, treatment of numbers, and other stylistic issues.

As with a substantive edit, I will provide a sample copyedit and estimate of total hours upfront, before editing begins.

Copyediting fee: $35 per hour


A traditional proofread is just as the name implies: a final reading of page proofs before a book is sent off to the printer. Final designed pages of the book are typically compared to the preset manuscript pages to ensure that no errors occurred as the text was flowed into the design layout. A proofread can also be defined as a light copyedit, one more final read through before the book is printed to catch typos that may have occurred during typesetting or grammatical errors that may have slipped through the cracks during the copyedit stage.

I will provide a sample proofread and estimate of total hours upfront, before editing begins.

Proofreading fee: $25 per hour

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