Jane Spencer Editorial

Line and Copyediting

When your book is structurally complete, you’re confident that the story and plot are sound, and you’ve finished your own editing, it’s time to polish the writing so that your readers will feel engaged and immersed.

Line and copyediting focuses on the detail of the text at the sentence and paragraph level: line editing looks at flow, style, clarity and readability, while copyediting addresses the more mechanical side (like spelling and punctuation).

Because they overlap, I usually perform the two as a combined service*. This can involve a number of tasks, depending on the nature of the text. Typical tasks can include:

  • tightening up text and smoothing out sentences
  • suggesting rewording to improve pace and flow
  • addressing unnecessary repetition, redundancies and clichés
  • ensuring consistency (e.g. that characters’ names and physical characteristics stay the same)
  • ensuring clarity and addressing ambiguities
  • checking that points of view work
  • checking that timelines work and fictional worlds hold together logically
  • checking spelling, punctuation and grammar

My focus is on working with you to polish your story, while maintaining your voice. I don’t make changes for the sake of it, and where I do offer solutions, they will be as simple and minimally intrusive as possible. My suggestions are just that – suggestions. You remain in charge of your manuscript, including deciding which edits to accept and which to reject.

* I can also offer line editing and copyediting as separate services if you’d prefer, or if that’s more suitable for your manuscript.

What you’ll need to send

  • Your manuscript in Microsoft Word
  • If relevant, any specific details that need highlighting, such as the spelling of unusual character names, places, etc. that appear in your book. (This is particularly relevant for science fiction and fantasy authors!)

What you’ll receive

  • Your manuscript fully edited using Word’s Track Changes facility, with Comments throughout with queries or explanations. You are then free to go through the document to review the edits and accept or reject them as you wish
  • A clean version of the edited manuscript with all the changes accepted, for your reference
  • My editor’s report, which includes explanations of edits as necessary and highlights any issues which need pointing out
  • A style sheet which documents choices made in regard to spelling, punctuation, capitalisation, word choice and so on – for your reference, and so that consistency can be maintained

Cost and timescale

Both the cost and the timescale will depend upon the length of your book and the level of editing it requires.

Please contact me so that we can discuss further.

You will normally need to book your copyedit in advance so that I can fit your work into my schedule. That way I can be sure to allocate the time it deserves and meet the deadlines we agree on.

If you’re not sure if a line and copyedit is what you need, feel free to get in touch.
I’ll be happy to talk you through it and can offer a free 500-word sample edit to illustrate.