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Manuscript Evaluation - Copyediting - Line Editing - Proofreading - Developmental Editing - Substantive Editing


Copyediting is concerned with grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of language and style and the internal consistency of facts and presentation. Copyediting is performed before a text is typeset for publication and before proofreading, the final step in the editing process.

If you think you have a “more-or-less” finished text that needs a keen set of eyes to check for mechanical and consistency issues, this is the edit for you.


There are several different levels to consider.

Light Copyediting (2.5 cents per word)

  • Correcting faulty spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

  • Correcting incorrect usage (such as can for may).

  • Checking specific cross-references (for example, “As Table 14-6 shows…”).

  • Ensuring consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization.

  • Checking for proper sequencing (such as alphabetical order) in lists and other displayed material.

  • Recording the first references to figures, tables, and other display elements.


A light copyedit does not involve interventions such as smoothing transitions or changing heads or text to ensure parallel structure. The editor checks content only to detect spots where copy is missing.


Medium Copyediting (3.5 cents per word)


  • Performing all tasks for light copyediting.

  • Changing text and headings to achieve parallel structure.

  • Flagging inappropriate figures of speech.

  • Ensuring that key terms are handled consistently and that vocabulary lists and the index contain all the terms that meet criteria specified by the publisher.

  • Ensuring that previews, summaries, and end-of-chapter questions reflect content.

  • Tracking the continuity of plot, setting, and character traits, and querying the discrepancies.

  • Enforcing consistent style and tone.

  • Changing passive voice to active voice, if requested.

  • Flagging ambiguous or incorrect statements.

  • Type marking the manuscript.


Heavy Copyediting (4 cents per word)

  • Performing all tasks for medium copyediting.

  • Improving the pacing and flow of the text.

  • Eliminating wordiness, triteness, and inappropriate jargon.

  • Smoothing transitions and moving sentences and paragraphs to improve readability.

  • Assigning new levels to headings to achieve logical structure.

  • Suggesting—and sometimes implementing—additions and deletions, noting them at the sentence and paragraph level.

“When I hired Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum to copyedit my novel, it was a wise decision. Not only was he meticulous about grammar, punctuation and the mechanics of writing, but his comments displayed an insight and appreciation of the characters and my vision of the story. When I rewrote, I took all his suggestions into account.”

Chelo Diaz-Ludden, Author

How To Hire Me

If you think I might be the editor for you, please contact me here. To learn a little bit more about how I work, my personality traits, and my skill sets, please check out my Berke Pre-Employment Assessment here, my teacher ratings here, and my CV here.

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