Editing & Proofreading

Copy editing is the process of checking written material for grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation issues. A copy editor may also do a rewrite to fix problems with transitions, wordiness, jargon, and to ensure the style of the piece fits with the publication.

In publishing, as a final step before actual printing takes place, after it has been edited, laid out, and designed, the proofreader searches for typographical and layout errors. The proofreader works with a facsimile of a finished product, or a proof (hence the term proofreading). 

Proofreaders don’t suggest major changes to the text; instead, they look for minor text and formatting errors and confirm the material is ready for publication. 

Manuscript Appraisal

A manuscript appraisal, or assessment, considers the structure, content, and style of your manuscript. It is sometimes known as a ‘structural’ or ‘substantive’ edit. It may include matters such as plot, character, point of view, pace, writing style, narrative, dialogue, presentation, length, use of research, readership, and even marketing or publishing possibilities. 

Manuscript appraisals differ from copy editing or proofreading. A manuscript appraisal will give you professional advice on the big picture. It may tell you that your work needs some editing or proofreading, but it won’t provide this service for you. Its purpose is to give you an objective and comprehensive assessment of your work from an experienced professional.


Traditional publishers generally accept around 1% of manuscripts submitted to them. Assuming you can find a publisher who will even consider unsolicited manuscripts for assessment, assuming your manuscript is accepted, the process to take a work through to publication can easily take two and sometimes up to three years. The author then usually receives somewhere between 8% and 15% of royalties [i.e. not of the sale price] payable. 

As a result, many authors are considering alternative publishing options for their work.

While ‘vanity publishers’ prey on the inexperienced authors, charging significant sums and in reality offering very little in return, self-publishing is increasingly becoming an attractive alternative.

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