Book Editing

Your book’s text is its voice — your voice. And the challenge of book editing is to enhance that voice without changing its tone, its emphasis, or its communication of meaning. We intend to live up to that challenge by paying attention to every detail of content, context, continuity and communication — and that requires a strong partnership between author and editor.

It starts with manuscript preparation. The industry prefers that manuscripts be submitted for editing as electronic files in the Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx extension) or equivalent (.txt, .rtf, or .odt).

Every manuscript we work on receives a thorough initial proofreading, both electronically (spelling/grammar/punctuation checking and other formatting, general consistency of vocabulary, point of view, etc.) and visually (human editorial reader). This process usually reveals and corrects fundamental errors in spelling, punctuation and word usage, as well as other basic criteria that must be considered — so as to make the later conversion from manuscript to type both effective and efficient.

We often serve only as proofreaders/editors and do not develop the visual or design elements of a book or take it through the operations that make it ready for printing or for e-book production. Therefore, the cost of our basic proofreading services is based upon the word count of your manuscript.

But once things become more complicated — once we begin working with a manuscript to include the more subtle factors — an hourly rate is most often used, and it varies according to the depth of the editing we do (see below). Our policy is to invoice the author/publisher at the lesser of the per-word rate or the actual hours of editing activity. All editorial operations are logged in 15-minute increments.

Of course, initial proofreading is part of the basic pre-production work flow as we move a book into production and may be discounted — depending on the manuscript’s nature and complexity — if we are handling the whole job for you.

Proofreading, however, is not guaranteed to uncover all errors and faults in the manuscript. Final responsibility for correctness and suitability always rests with the author of the work, and we always recommend more comprehensive editing if you intend to sell the book in the commercial marketplace.

Please understand, too, that proofreading is not editing in any real sense. It makes no effort to interpret the comprehensibility, readability, continuity or factual accuracy of any text or data in the manuscript, nor does it attempt in any way to improve upon the language, voicing, pacing, plot development, grammatical usage or relational continuity and consistency contained in the original manuscript.

However, if needed and requested, our editors will provide an objective yet creative inspection of your manuscript to polish your words without altering your literary style. Or they can go beyond this level and seek to improve every aspect of your manuscript. Selection of these levels of service, as outlined below, will depend upon discussions between editor and client.

There are three distinct levels of editing, and we offer all three, as follows:

  1. Basic editing: Inspection for grammar/spelling/word selection and usage, paragraph and sentence length and usage, tense consistency, subject/verb agreement and similar basic criteria. Corrections, questions or suggestions are noted and are subject to author approval or rejection, and final pricing is based upon manuscript complexity. Estimate: $17.50 per 1,000 words or $60 per hour (whichever is less, calculated at completion).
  2. Comprehensive editing: All of the above, plus a review for flow of copy, consistency, reading ease and clarity of structure and usage, manuscript cohesion. Rewrites, deletions and/or recommendations will be transmitted to the author and will be subject to author approval, rejection or alteration at no additional charge. Estimate: $21 per 1,000 words or $70 per hour (whichever is less, calculated at completion).
  3. Deep editing (rewrite): At this level, we pay attention in fiction manuscripts to character development and relationships, plot development and literary momentum (tension/release). We help the author adjust dialogue to match character, check timeline accuracy, create or improve transitions from situation to situation, inspect word usage for appropriate impact (verbs, adverbs, adjectives), and suggest new or revised scenes that may add to the effectiveness of the storytelling.
    For nonfiction, we analyze the structure, organization and continuity of the material and suggest additions, deletions or changes to improve readability or to visualize concepts. Author conferences are provided on an as-needed basis and are not billed as editing time. This level of editing is charged at $80 per hour for both fiction and nonfiction and includes, free of charge, 30 minutes of conferencing between editor and author for every 100 pages of deep-edited manuscript.
  4. If requested, we offer reference support for nonfiction and academic materials. Cross checking of references within text, including functionality checks of internet links, verification of the accuracy and currency of citations, end notes and footnotes are included in this service. Generally about $40 per hour, as needed (per our recommendation); all such services must be authorized by the author. These services may be contracted out to indexers, researchers or other specialized professionals but will be covered under our own terms of service, directly supervised by OPAAS, and invoiced through our internal financial system so as to streamline and simplify your project’s accounting.

Our editors, indexers, researchers and copy/proof readers are fully qualified professionals with impressive references and credits, which they will gladly provide. We usually assign or recommend editors and other specialists based upon their previous experience with materials similar to those submitted by the author, and our editors may confer directly with authors throughout the editorial process.

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