Which editing service do I need?

Some writers are clear about what editing service they are looking for, whereas others, especially new writers, aren’t so sure. Here are some brief scenarios to help identify the right service for you. Each service is explained in more detail below, along with what it includes, how it works, and what you’ll end up with. Once I’ve seen the manuscript, I’ll be able to advise you further, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, get in touch and we can see what’s possible.

  • Developmental editing: you’re a first-time author; you’re unsure whether various elements of your book work successfully; you’ve had some negative feedback; you’ve reached a point where you can’t go any further; your book could be improved but you’re not sure how; you’re writing in a genre that’s new to you 
  • Line and copyediting: you’re confident about the big-picture issues; you’re an experienced writer; you’ve already had a developmental edit, manuscript critique, or feedback from beta readers; you’ve self-edited and reached a point where you can’t do any more; you’re concerned your writing doesn’t flow well; you want your writing to be polished; English isn’t your first language
  • Combined editing: you’re a first-time author; you’ve written before and are reasonably confident about your book, but you have a few concerns; your budget only allows for one editing process; you’re experienced but are writing in a genre or style that’s new to you

Professional editing is a significant investment, but remember: you’re not just investing in this manuscript, you’re investing in your future writing. I aim to help you become a better writer through the editing process by showing you how to improve your skills and build confidence in your writing ability

Developmental editing

Developmental editing, also known as structural or substantive editing, addresses the big-picture storytelling issues such as:

  • structure
  • theme
  • audience and genre expectations
  • plot
  • characterisation
  • narrative distance
  • point of view
  • tension, pace and narrative shape
  • opening and closing chapters
  • timelines and settings
  • dialogue
  • voice and tone
  • language and style

A developmental edit is likely to benefit less experienced writers who are struggling to put writing theory into practice. Perhaps you’ve written yourself into a corner and you can’t see how to fix it? Or you’ve reached a point where you can no longer tell if the various elements of your story are working? A developmental edit can help you deconstruct and rebuild your book.

There are two facets to a developmental edit. An editorial report, also known as a manuscript critique, is an unbiased and honest in-depth assessment of your work. It provides constructive feedback on your book’s strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions for development and improvement. It will also address any specific concerns you may have. An editorial report will also delve into relevant areas of creative writing theory – point of view and psychic distance, for example – and give accessible and clear explanations.

To complement the broader observations outlined in the report and enable you to see how they can be applied in practice, I’ll also make comments and suggestions throughout the manuscript.

‘I chose Nicky to do a developmental edit of my manuscript on the basis of her qualifications and clear website. As this is my first novel, I was unsure about what to expect. I shouldn’t have been worried. Nicky went the extra mile to thoroughly read my nearly 100K novel. She picked apart my work, breaking it down to see how the elements worked, and then brought them back together to assess the whole. The process and outcome were extremely informative: she had spot-on observations and comments, summarised themes and storylines so clearly, and more than that, she suggested something central about the story which had not occurred to me. This was an investment I’m glad I made and I would engage Nicky’s services again without hesitation.’

Collette Ridley Fard, author, Running Back

What's included

  • a detailed editorial report of 8–15 pages
  • constructive suggestions on how to improve various elements of your book
  • detailed comments and suggestions throughout the manuscript 
  • a second round following your revisions
  • recommended resources such as articles, books or website links tailored to your individual needs
  • help and support throughout the process

How it works

To begin with, I’ll send you a questionnaire which will provide you with the opportunity to tell me about your writing background, what your intentions are and any concerns you may have, enabling me to best focus my feedback. 

The first round of a full developmental edit involves three passes of the manuscript and takes around six weeks to complete. I will then send you the annotated manuscript and editorial report. Once you’ve gone through the manuscript and made revisions, send it back to me to check.

The end result will be an improved manuscript that is ready for line and copyediting. 

‘Nicky stepped in as my developmental editor in the middle of my mystery series. If I weren’t already committed to my other editor, I would definitely hire Nicky for the rest of the series. She juggled the big-picture story and red-herring details with skill and grace. Her comments were precise, constructive, and encouraging. Nicky’s insights into my characters were so spot on that I laughed out loud when I read her memos! I recommend her without hesitation to anyone who wants a full manuscript assessment and edit.’

Rose Donovan, author, The Mystery of Ruby’s Stiletto (Ruby Dove Mysteries Book 4)

Line and copyediting

You’ve spent a lot of time in the company of your writing and know it inside out. But will your readers understand what you mean, or might they be confused? A line and copyedit will refine your style, tighten your prose and improve pace by eliminating redundant language and repetition. It will also highlight plot or narrative inconsistencies and clarify any ambiguous phrasing. 

While developmental editing looks at the bigger picture, this is editing at sentence-level. Line editing – also known as stylistic editing – focuses on style, rhythm and flow. Copyediting concentrates on technical accuracy, consistency and clarity. 

I offer a combination of line and copyediting. This involves an in-depth treatment of the text, helping to fine-tune your language and make your writing more elegant. My aim is to help you connect with your readers in an engaging and accessible way, and to enhance your unique style and voice. And hopefully, I can help you to become a better writer in the process. 

As well as checking grammar, spelling and punctuation, I’ll focus on areas such as:

  • improving style, flow and rhythm 
  • tension and pacing
  • avoiding repetition, ambiguity and awkward syntax
  • character and plot inconsistencies
  • minor point of view and narrative voice inconsistencies
  • avoiding crutch words and redundant language
  • consistency of tense and detail
  • loose ends and timing issues
  • dialogue: authenticity, use of beats and tags
  • showing and telling, exposition and overwriting
  • appropriate choice of language for your audience
  • avoiding lazy metaphors and clichés
  • checking for accuracy and correcting basic factual errors
  • flagging up potential legal and sensitivity issues (but it will be your responsibility to check and organise if permissions are needed)
  • adhering to your chosen style guide, such as the New Oxford Style Manual or Chicago Manual of Style, or advising you on the most appropriate style for your work

‘I cannot recommend Nicky highly enough. She provides a very thorough and professional service in all aspects of editing, and she does it in such a diplomatic way. Not only is it constructively worthy, but also supportive enough to raise your own self-esteem as opposed to making you feel a right idiot! Nicky has the ability of suggesting changes in a way that is sensitive to your own style of writing, and it’s done in such a friendly way. I was really impressed with the amount of detail she checked during her line editing, which thankfully included correcting the spelling of some known names. I've learnt so much from her along the way. This lovely lady has transformed my memoir manuscript into a readable book that I feel very proud of. Thank you, Nicky.’

Terri Inskip, author, Hello Mum, I'm Okay But ...

What's included

  • two passes and a final check of any short passages which have been rewritten following my queries and suggestions
  • a personalised editorial style sheet which lists style preferences along with relevant details such as characters, settings and timeline
  • observations of your writing style and habits, and suggestions to help you improve your craft
  • recommended resources, such as articles, books or website links, tailored to your individual needs
  • proofreading of additional pages such as acknowledgements and forewords (for self-publishing authors) 
  • help and support throughout the process

How it works

For line and copyediting, I use Word Track Changes. You’ll receive your work clearly marked up with my suggestions, corrections and queries, which you are free to accept or reject – this way, you can see exactly what I’ve done. I’ll also send you a clean version with all changes accepted and just my comments showing. If you’re not familiar with Track Changes or other useful Word tools such as Styles, just let me know and I’ll provide you with some clear and helpful resources.

On average, it’s best to allow four weeks for the first round of a line and copyedit. I will do two full passes and then return the manuscript to you along with the style sheet. Once you’ve gone through the manuscript, send it back to me so I can check any changes you’ve made and do a final consistency check. 

The end result will be a clean, edited manuscript ready to be formatted and proofread before self-publishing, and in the best shape ready to submit to agents.

Combined editing

In an ideal world, a developmental edit would be followed by a line and copyedit. That’s not financially viable for everyone, so I’ve designed a service that bridges the gap between developmental editing and line and copyediting: combined editing. If you’re a first-time author on a budget, this could be the solution you’re looking for. 

Combined editing tackles any fundamental developmental issues apparent in the manuscript. It’s not as in-depth as a developmental edit; it doesn’t look at every big-picture element or suggest new ideas for expansion. Rather, it will show you how to fix any existing problems that could create barriers between your story and the reader, such as recurrent head-hopping and point of view issues, lack of motivation, or plot holes. Combined editing also includes a sentence-level edit which focuses on the areas outlined above for line and copyediting.

Combined editing is a two-stage process, enabling you to make revisions before they are edited. It isn’t a substitute for individual rounds of developmental and line editing, but it will go a long way towards getting your manuscript as good as it can possibly be, for a more affordable price and in less time. 

‘After several years of writing and rewriting my first crime thriller novel, I had reached an impasse. I decided that I wanted to go down the self-publishing route, but before putting my novel out into the world I knew I needed to hire an editor. Finding Nicky helped me achieve that dream. Hiring her to do a combined developmental and line edit of my novel was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Nicky took my novel and constructively and sensitively went through it line by line, providing me with professional and supportive feedback, help, comments and suggestions while keeping my voice and style of writing intact.

‘Nicky’s editorial report and style sheet were exemplary, and I was blown away by how detailed and instructive they were. They have helped show me where I needed to condense and expand my writing and develop my characters further, while at the same time killing my darlings, as the saying goes, who weren’t necessary to the story and improving upon my spelling, grammar and syntax, to make my novel snappier and stand out.

‘It has been a privilege to collaborate with her, and to anyone out there who is looking for an editor themselves, I say this: you couldn’t be in a better or safer pair of hands. I would highly recommend Nicky to you. I have learned a great deal from her, which I will take with me as I venture into my next novel.’

Kevin G. Robinson, author, Knight’s Gambit

What's included

  • two passes and a final check 
  • a personalised editorial style sheet which lists style preferences along with relevant details such as characters and settings
  • a comprehensive editorial report including observations of your writing style and habits, and suggestions to help you improve your craft
  • recommended resources, such as articles, books or website links, tailored to your individual needs
  • proofreading of additional pages such as acknowledgements and forewords (for self-publishing authors)
  • help and support throughout the process

How it works

I’ll send you a questionnaire which will provide you with the opportunity to tell me about your writing background, what your intentions are and any concerns you may have, enabling me to best focus my feedback. 

As with line and copyediting, I use Word Track Changes. You’ll receive your work clearly marked up with my suggestions, corrections and queries, which you are free to accept or reject – this way, you can see exactly what I’ve done. I’ll also send you a clean version with all changes accepted and just my comments showing. If you’re not familiar with Track Changes or other useful Word tools such as Styles, just let me know and I’ll provide you with some clear and helpful resources.

On average, it’s best to allow four weeks for the first round of a combined edit. I will do one full pass, which will include any developmental editing, and then return the manuscript to you along with a comprehensive editorial report and a style sheet. Once you’ve revised the manuscript, return it to me for the second full pass. Once completed, I’ll send it back, and when you’ve gone through it, return it to me so I can check any changes and do a final consistency check. 

The end result will be a clean, edited manuscript ready to be formatted and proofread before self-publishing, and in the best shape ready to submit to agents.

'I regard commissioning Nicky as money really well spent, and I have total confidence in her judgement, editorial suggestions and professionalism.’

Richard Grainger, author, Losing The Plot and Saving Dave

Pricing

No two manuscripts are the same, and the time involved depends on the type of editing, complexity of the individual manuscript and the level of editorial input required. Once I’ve seen your manuscript and you’ve provided me with some background information, I can give you an accurate quote. 

The following fee ranges may be useful as general guidelines:

  • Developmental editing: from €22 to €30 per 1,000 words (inclusive of IVA 21%)
  • Line and copyediting: from €18 to €30  per 1,000 words (inclusive of IVA 21%)
  • Combined editing: from €22 to €30 per 1,000 words (inclusive of IVA 21%)

My rates are based on recommendations by the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), of which I am an Advanced Professional Member.