Book Editing Services
Utopian Editing offers the following services:
If you’re anything like me, you want your project to be your project. You don’t want to hand it over to an editor with carte blanche—but at the same time, you need some help. You need feedback, critique, a solution for writer’s block, or simply a boot in the rear to get moving on the hard parts.
That’s where I come in. Whether you have a completed manuscript or just an idea or outline, I can evaluate where you are, listen to your goals, and help you meet them.
My help looks however you need it to look. For one client, it’s a couple hundred comments in the margin of a Word document. For another, it’s an evaluation of gaps in the story and a draconian revision calendar with accountability. For others, we bounce ideas around on the phone till their fingers are itching to pound the keyboard.
Don’t know what you need? Just fill in the contact form, and we’ll talk it out.
Developmental editing (DE) is similar to the writing coach service, but it tends to be more straightforward. Generally a client sends me a complete manuscript and I read through it once. I construct a simple outline and character charts to help me gauge consistency and spot large-scale problems.
In DE, I do not fix sentences, grammar, punctuation, or formatting. Instead, I make specific recommendations on plot, characterization, themes, point of view, balancing elements (ensuring that exposition, dialogue, actions, etc. make good feng shui), and whatever else I think needs to be improved. DE is about making a better story.
Once I’ve completed my recommendations, I will send them to you with a cover letter that provides my overall impressions. After you make revisions, if you wish, I will review your changes and provide further feedback.
Line editing (LE) deals with sentences and paragraphs. Rather than focusing on grammar and punctuation, however, LE focuses on style. Don’t fret about your dangling participles, repetition, and lack of parallelism. A tweak here, a flip-flop there, maybe a few reorganized paragraphs–a hundred or thousand subtle changes can transform a limping manuscript into a well-oiled machine.
Worry not that I’ll eliminate your individual voice. While I do “fix” things to make them correct or better, I pride myself on having a sensitive ear for tone and personality. Whether you have an epic fantasy or a purple-prose romance or sassy characters using urban slang, I will carefully fit my revisions into the tone you have already established.
Fixed price: $.015 – $.03+ per word
Copyediting & Proofreading
Although copyediting (CE) and proofreading (PR) are two different things, I often do them simultaneously. PR* deals strictly with typos, mechanical errors (punctuation, capitalization, etc.) and very light formatting issues (e.g., a carriage return in the middle of a paragraph). CE deals not only with grammatical correctness but also those issues you’ll find in a style manual, like which numbers to spell out or whether to abbreviate “United States” as “U.S.” or “US”. It’ll also explain why we normally put end punctuation inside quotation marks and why it’s correct that I didn’t in the last sentence.
For book editing, I use the Chicago Manual of Style. If your project requires a different style manual or an in-house style guide, however, I can work with that.
When I bundle CE and PR, I usually do them both at once and send you the revisions for review. After you’ve done your thing, I make a final, quick PR pass to catch errors that slipped through the first time or that you might have introduced while revising. (For more info on tracked changes, see the FAQ.)
Fixed price: $.008 – $.02+ per word
*A different definition of proofreading involves checking the final, fully formatted copy of a manuscript to ensure the book designer didn’t introduce errors and to make sure that previously noted corrections were implemented. I don’t do this kind of proofreading, but I can refer you to those who do.
NOTE: I edit in American English. If you need British, Canadian, or any other variety of English, I can refer you to several excellent editors.