Through editing, Blake Atwood hones messages for all kinds of authors.

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What is editing?

Elmore Leonard advised would-be writers to “try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”

Editing is the art of leaving out all the parts readers skip.

And editing shouldn’t be done without the help of a professional. While self-editing is necessary and suggested—my podcast is about self-editing—it shouldn’t be your last step before submitting or publishing your work.

As Ryan Holiday wrote in Perennial Seller, “When people are close to their own projects or their own talents, they can lose the ability to see objectively.” Every author needs an editor for that reason.

Whether your book needs further big-picture help with regard to structure, flow, or storytelling, or your book needs a copyedit so that it’s nearly ready to be published, an editor is a writer’s last best line of defense against poor public reception.

Plus, when you’re edited by a professional, you will grow as a writer.

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Are there different kinds of editing?

Yes. Editing is not just deleting stray commas or fixing typos. Generally speaking, editing can be divided into three categories:

Developmental editors look at the big picture of the book and suggest changes in structure, tone, plot, characters, or concept.

They’re not concerned with the grammatical errors of your book; rather, they want to ensure the story you’re telling is engaging and makes sense. They may even help you plot your story before you’ve started writing. Substantive editing is a close cousin to developmental editing, but substantive editors suggest changes after the book’s been written.

To learn more about developmental editing, listen to my interview with developmental editor M.S. Wordsmith.

Copy editors look for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, word usage, and formatting.

Essentially, copy editors ensure that you’re using “your” and “you’re” correctly, that you have one space after a sentence, and that you adhere to a stylebook, e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style for most books.

They identify hundreds of issues that writers may gloss over, especially when furiously writing their first draft.

Proofreaders ensure that every detail is correct after formatting.

Proofreading occurs after the book has been formatted for its print and digital editions as errors can be introduced into the text during that phase.

If you can afford the costs in time and money, it’s recommended that your book go through all three stages and with different editors for each stage. Many traditionally published books endure each stage.

However, for those choosing to self-publish, where time and money are often constraints, it is highly recommended to at least hire a copy editor.

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What kind of editing do you do?

I copyedit nonfiction and fiction.

I developmentally edit nonfiction.

Genres include, but are not limited to, Christian living, memoir, how-to, business / entrepreneurial, counseling / psychology, biblical commentary, self-help, academic, and Christian fiction.

How much does editing cost?

Editing costs cover a broad range and may be charged per hour, per page, or per word.

I charge 2.5¢ per word for copyediting fiction or nonfiction.

For example, copyediting a 50,000-word novel would cost $1,250. A typical turnaround time is two to four weeks.

I charge 10¢ per word to developmentally edit nonfiction.

For example, developmentally editing a 50,000-word nonfiction book would cost $5,000. A typical turnaround time is three to six months.

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What is the process for editing?

Complete the client intake below.

I will reply within two business days with further questions or an estimate of the cost and time necessary to complete your edit.

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When can we start?

As I’m often scheduled out at least a few months, it’s best to contact me as soon as you may be considering hiring an editor. Complete the client intake form below to see if your deadline and my availability are mutually agreeable.

Editing Client Intake