Need an experienced editor? We got your back.
What is Editing?
Editing, line editing, substantive editing, copyedit, line edit, comprehensive edit – confused?
Ignoring the terminology for now, editing and any of its synonyms listed above is simply the part of the publishing process where a paid-professional reads your manuscript. They then make corrections and suggestions all with the goal of improving the reading experience. Every author should have their wording looked at by a professional editor. No exceptions.
- Self-editing is never good enough.
- Editors should be paid. Free edit = bad. Penny wise, Pound foolish.
- Editors should not be a close friend or family member. People who know you are likely to miss certain mistakes as they know what you were trying to say.
- Editors should be accredited. For example, South African editors should belong to local editor’s guilds such as SAFREA or PEG.
For more detail on the different types of editing, read here.
Why is editing so important?
Editing your words is not only for obvious improvements such as correcting spelling mistakes or grammatical oversights. A skilled editor will also make suggestions with the aim of enhancing the story and removing any inconsistencies that halt the flow of the writing. The editor wants to ensure that your readers will be able to better understand your message and follow your story.
Authors who self-publish often look to save money by skipping the editing process. Believe in your message enough to take the editing of your words seriously. After investing so much of yourself in the first draft of your story make sure the finished book is as polished as it possibly can be.
Thinking of being cheap and avoiding editing? This could be your book making headlines for the wrong reasons
How much does editing cost?
Editing is charged per word. Otherwise put, the longer your book, the more the editor will charge. The other factor affecting cost will be written-skill of the author. First-time authors or authors writing in a language that might not be their home language, expect a higher-than-average invoice for editing.
It is impossible to quote for editing “over the phone”. The guideline rates charged by editors within South Africa are as follows:
Proof Reading/ Light Edit: Up to ZAR 0.30c per word.
Heavy Edit: Up to ZAR 0.60c per word.
Our quotes normally follow this rate however - obviously - we quote on a case-by-case basis.
How does the editing process work?
Think of editing as a visit to your doctor, but for your book.
Would you ask your doctor to hurry up?
Would you look for the cheapest doctor you could find?
I am really hoping you understand the point I’m trying to make. Editing is one of the pricier publishing processes for the brave self-publishing author. It also can take weeks to complete as the editor sifts through your words whilst removing wording-related impurities that would distract the reader.
The editor starts by reading your manuscript, as a reader would. However, the editor is making notes and corrections using the Microsoft Word Track Changes feature. This means that every single change can be viewed and scrolled through once the editor finishes. Think of it a kind of literary post-mortem.
Step 1: Quotation
You will be quoted on the editing of your manuscript. Payment for the editing process is normally paid for in full, upfront. Please make sure you understand the time the editor will need to complete their work and factor this into your publishing deadlines. Make sure that the editor has the final draft of your manuscript, we cannot be held responsible if we start the editing process from the wrong version.
You must own and understand how to use Microsoft Word. (Or at least have a smart neighbour.)
Step 2: Editing
Depending on the level of editing you need (from light through to heavy) the editor will work through your manuscript from beginning to end. All their changes will be tracked within the Word Doc for you to assess once they are done. Heavier edits will mean the editor might read through the manuscript multiple times, each time focussing on a different aspect of your writing.
The more detailed the edit, the more the editor will charge per word. Please make sure that you understand the level of edit you are paying for.
Step 3: Delivery
The completed manuscript is emailed back to the author. By default, we will deliver the version with all changes “accepted” within the Word document. We do this to avoid confusing the author as the version with all the changes visibly tracked can sometimes resemble a murder scene. If you would prefer to have both versions of the edited manuscript, please just let us know.
Step 4: The Author’s Final Check.
It is now the authors turn to work through the edited manuscript making sure they understand and are happy with all the changes made. Often our editors will leave comments and suggestions for the author where they think something might require clarification or potentially a rewrite. It is now up to the author to work through the document delivered by the editor. You are free to contact your editor via email with any questions you might have regarding their changes or suggestions however please note that the editors work is now done.
You will not be able to return the manuscript to the editor for further editing unless quoted.
- The author must understand how the Track Changes feature works within Microsoft Word.
- Our editors are human (for now) and will make mistakes. No editor will detect 100% of the issues with a single edit.
- The editing process is conducted almost exclusively over email. It is your responsibility to ensure you own a computer and that you know how it works. (You would be surprised…)
Here is what to an edited manuscript might look like - after editing - with the Track Changes feature enabled on Microsoft Word.
What you need to have ready before editing starts?
- We will need the final draft of your manuscript ready in a Microsoft Word format. (No PDF files please.)
- Understand the costs involved in the process. (Multiply your word-count according the rates we shared earlier.)
- Understand and appreciate the editor’s timelines – Please give them the space required to do their work.
- Understand what to expect once the editor is completed.
What normally happens after editing is done?
- Cover Design – This can happen at the same time as editing to save you time.
- Typesetting – We get your book interior ready to be printed.
- eBook conversion – We take your freshly edited manuscript and create the eBook versions.