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If there is one cost that is worth budgeting for it is editing. Most writers do a poor job editing their own works, even if they are expert at editing someone else’s. Editing starts after proof-reading.

Proof Reading

Proof Reading looks at:

  1. Typographical errors
  2. Misspellings
  3. Presentation errors

Proofreading is generally performed by a number of good readers, in the final, typeset, form rather than the standard double linespace manuscript format,
College students (English majors) are a good source of proofreading, along with volunteers. Expect to pay around $10/hour for a good proofreader.

Tip: Ignore the spelling and grammar warnings in Word



There are three types of editing:

  1. Copy edits
  2. Hard edits
  3. Tech edits

Copy Edit

Copy edit is proofreading to identify:

  • Proof Reading
  • Grammar

You will not always agree with your copy editor. Grammatical errors such as split infinitives, can be changed back to make the copy more ‘readable’; maintaining the structure of the composition or meaning of the sentence.

Copy editors aim to bring manuscripts in line with big publisher guidelines. This includes enforcing rules aroundgender neutrality, political-correctness and other cookie-cutter style guidelines. In many instances, in doing so, the copy edit introduces more errors than it fixes.

Hard Edit

A hard edit aims to improve the manuscript. It’s a check on your copy through someone else’s eyes. A hard editor will generally read the whole book through once before trying to edit it. You can provide guidelines as to what you want them to look for, such as:

  1. Repetition – of content, sentence structure, first word.
  2. Lack of repetition – to help push an important point home.
  3. Suggestions to combine or eliminate major threads in the book
  4. Requirements for more explanatory text
  5. Paragraph structure

You can get a good editor for around $25/hour. This is not something you can pass off to a cheap editor who’s first language is not the same as your books.

Technical Edit

Technical editors must be experts in their field, not in English grammar. Their role is to ensure that any references to your subject are correct. This includes:

  1. Fact Checking
  2. Flaws in logic
  3. Mistakes in assumptions
  4. Technical script editing – such as code examples

Technical editors are traditionally paid by the book for large books and by the page ($2 or $3) for short books, which lowers publisher costs.

Next: Preparing Your Book For Printing

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