There are many layers to the editing cake, and they’re often mashed together in ways that can make your head spin.
In short, copy editors check that what you’ve written makes sense and is clear, consistent, and concise. They check for grammatical errors and that the piece adheres to house style and language choice (British or American), and will address issues like register (are you writing for teens or lawyers?) and tone (are you angry, conversational or funny?). Editors will generally check formatting or do it from scratch if necessary.
Copy editing is sometimes divided into two jobs: The line editor addresses stylistic issues like writing style, language use, clarity, tone and register, and then the copy editor looks at mechanics – typos, spelling, punctuation, syntax, consistency and ambiguity. They will also flag queries e.g. incorrect statements or possible plagiarism.
Proofreading is the last step before publication and double-checks for typos and glitchy gremlins that may have crept in.
Generally, if I edit a piece, I don’t proofread it. The human brain is designed to progressively ignore errors that are not life-threatening, so you need new eyes.
Sometimes, a deeper edit is required. Substantive (also called structural or developmental) editing involves working closely with the author to develop the manuscript, sometimes coaching them in the craft of writing.
If you need this kind of assistance, I can refer you to stunning specialists I’d trust with my life, but it’s not my focus.
Prices are in line with CIEP minimum rates.