Copy-editing for manuscripts


Looking to self-publish your book? Our copy-editors eliminate errors from your manuscript. Send us your work for a free, no-obligation quote now.

Please note that copy-editing is reserved only for writers who have already received manuscript feedback from us.

To learn more about copy-editing with us, scroll for FAQs.


What is copy-editing?

Copy-editing servicesCopy-editing involves correcting your manuscript to eliminate errors, such as spelling mistakes, punctuation errors and typos.

But a good copy-editor is more than simply an error-correction service. Your editor should help ensure that your material is well-organised and properly presented; that any factual issues are identified and queried; that any inconsistency or vagueness is eliminated; and that, in general, you have an independent and expert ‘eagle eye’ looking over the detail and style of your manuscript.

If you are a native English speaker with good presentational skills, and are not planning to self-publish, then you probably don’t need copy-editing but you may like our tips on manuscript presentation for literary agents. Just click here.

If you want structural editorial feedback (feedback on plot, prose, character, pacing and much else besides), go here for more details.

If your first language is not English, or you intend to self-publish, then copy-editing may help.


Is copy-editing for you?

Copy-editing may help you if you have already received manuscript feedback from us and:

  • Your first language is not English, then a good copy-editor can ensure that your text looks and sounds right to a native speaker. We can help you achieve a clean, well-presented manuscript suitable for submission to a publisher or agent.
  • You are intending to self-publish, then copy-editing is more or less essential if you want to create a really professional product. Gone are the days when self-publishers could succeed with amateurishly presented manuscripts.

Our editors are professional authors as well as copy-editors, so your editor will be exceptionally well-qualified: you won’t just get someone who knows the rules of grammar, but somebody who will cast a tactful, constructive and intelligent eye over your entire text. Our full editor list can be found here and we will choose someone who is right for you and your particular project.

To get a free quote, just email us the full text of your manuscript and we’ll get straight back to you with a price, or to learn more about copy-editing with us, scroll down for FAQs.


What copy-editing won’t do

Proofreading servicesCopy-editing is the last major stage of manuscript tidying, prior to publication. It’s a tidying-up job, not a reconstruction job. In particular, copy-editors will not address major plot issues, sort out your pacing, pick up faults in characterisation and so on.

If you haven’t yet had editorial feedback from a professional third party editor, we would suggest that you probably need those services before you need copy-editing. We offer that kind of help, too, and you can get it here

What do we charge for copy-editing?

Our standard fee for copy-editing is £8.50 per thousand words, though we typically need to quote on a project by project basis as the amount of work involved can vary. To get a quote, please send us your manuscript by email, and we’ll be straight back to you with a price. On the whole, you'll find our rates are much cheaper than those advertised elsewhere on the web. If you decided to go ahead with our quote, you can simply pay online.



Why can’t I have copy-editing before or instead of manuscript feedback?
We’re trying to get good writers published with reputable publishing houses. So if your manuscript’s not structurally right, a copy-edit becomes redundant. We want your manuscript to be the best it can be, and this doesn’t start with a copy-edit. It starts with a structural one.

Why do you suggest I can’t I have copy-editing if I want to be traditionally published?
Let’s say your fiction or non-fiction manuscript is structurally perfect and taken by a publisher. Copy-editing would be done by their team in-house. So copy-edits made by us (and paid for by you) could be edited again. It’s why we encourage authors who’re sure they’re self-publishing or if English is their second language to come to us. If this is you, we can help. We’ll make your self-published manuscript the best it can be. Or you’ll have a manuscript for agents in perfect English that’s ready to go.

What’s the difference between a copy-edit and your editorial feedback? Structural editorial feedback’s where an experienced editor gives you constructive advice on plot, character, style and much else. A structural edit is where you’ll carry out these suggestions on your manuscript, so it’s by far the most important stage of editing for any writer. Feedback from our editors tells you what’s working and what’s not. (Get feedback on your work here.) Only after all those big things (plot, character, pacing, etc.) are perfect does a copy-editor get involved. And copy-editing is very different to structural editing. The job of the copy-edit is then to fix points of detail (spelling, punctuation, etc.), so it’s always structure first, detail second. Just as you would always plaster a wall before attempting to wallpaper it.

What’s the difference between copy-editing and proof-reading? When a text has been finalised, it will be sent off for type-setting: the process of creating final page proofs which will show the text exactly as it will appear in the finished book. A proof-reader’s job is to make sure that those page proofs accurately reflect the final text, free of any machine or human error. Proof-reading is often handled by a book’s original copy-editor and the distinction between the two processes is often confused by those unaware of the technicalities.

How do copy-editors work? If you want to see a guide to traditional copy-editors’ marks, you can do so here or here, though be aware that most copy-editing these days is done electronically as a Word document mark-up. If you want to see our guide to the final stages of an authors’ own editing process, you can find it here, including actual examples from a text heading through to publication.

Do you offer corporate or academic copy-editing? If you are a student or professional seeking to outsource a variety of editorial, proof-reading and typesetting services, we are not the right people to speak to. We suggest you speak to people like Cambridge Publishing Management or CPL.

If you are still unsure about anything, just ask.


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