Why should I go to the expense of having my manuscript copy-edited?

The simple answer is that you shouldn’t if you’re a competent writer, well-versed in grammar and punctuation. We can help you weigh up if commissioning an editor is worth the expense.

If you are lucky enough to have found a publisher for your work, they should pay to have your manuscript copy-edited and page proofs proof-read. Be clear with your publisher that their offer includes these services.

In the following cases, you should consider employing an editor:

1)      You have decided to self-publish your book. There is no doubt that you will sell more copies if you employ the services of a good copy-editor. With their help, your readers will understand what you are trying to say, and they won’t be turned off by poor spelling, punctuation or grammar.

2)      You know that grammar isn’t your strong suit and you want to present your work to agents in the best possible condition

How does copy-editing differ from proof-reading?

There are often three stages in the editing process.

1)      Deep structural edit. A good critique will offer you advice on how to restructure and refine your manuscript, so that less time and money needs to be spent on this kind of edit.

2)      Copy-editing. Most copy-editors expect to do some structural reshaping of the book, and a certain amount of text trimming, in addition to the line edit (grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure).

3)      Proof-reading. A proof reader is employed after the manuscript has been copy-edited and once pages have been designed. This is the final stage before printing the book (or uploading it, in the case of an e-book). A copy-editor will be looking for typos and glitches in the design (chapter headings and running heads, typographical ‘leading’ and ‘widows’, page numbering corresponding to contents page etc.)

How do I know if my book needs a ghostwriter?

We can assess very quickly whether your writing skills are fully up to the job. It may be the case that you have something worth saying, and you know what you want to say, but somehow it never comes out quite right. A mini-critique will establish what your manuscript needs.

A full ghostwrite, with interviews, is expensive; a manuscript rewrite a less costly option. Either way, you will be paying for a substantial amount of a writer/editor’s time. You may never generate enough book sales to earn that money back – publishing is a gambling game and writers are rarely well-rewarded for the hours they devote to a manuscript, even without factoring in an editor/writer’s fee.

We have clients for whom making a profit is not their sole aim. They may need a book to further their business and disseminate their ideas, especially if they have regular speaking engagements. They may have a charitable goal that drives their project. They may want to produce a memoir for family and friends, or publish a biography of a family member whose life and work they wish to commemorate. Many of these projects won’t necessarily attract a publisher’s advance to cover the cost of an editor or co-writer, but this doesn’t mean that an author will not wish to go ahead with their book. What they will want is an accurate idea of how much the enterprise might cost.

Give us a call on 020 8567 2616. We are happy to talk through your best options.