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Oh, the edit. How you dread it: parting with that brilliant book!
But till with skill we sweetly shred it, few will take a look.

Oh, the edit. How you dread it: parting with that brilliant book! But till with skill we sweetly shred it, few will take a look.

No matter your level of experience, professional editing is always essential (and you can probably guess which word is most important here). It’s pretty much impossible for us to catch our own mistakes—we read what we meant to write—so, forget that . . . and, high-ranking Grammar Nazi or not, your brownshirt buddy won’t cut it either. Apps? Get out of here.

Given the complexity involved, editing doesn’t come cheap, so writers tell themselves all kinds of stories to sidestep said procedure. Generally, their excuses prove effective too. Money is saved, mistakes remain, and future profits are lost. Want some toughish love . . . ? There is no substitution for the fine-tooth comb of a bona fide expert. Author or hobbyist? That is the question.

Even so, different strikethrough strokes are appropriate for different folks, and if you’re new to the process, it can all be a bit confusing. Editors use certain terms interchangeably, definitions vary from country to country, and many mills provide ambiguous package descriptions meant to deceive their customers. That said, it’s increasingly important to know exactly what you’re paying for, and here at Specter Services, ethereal transparency is our hallmark. Hourly fees? No way. Who wants to wonder how many siestas they’ll be subsidizing? Our prices are calculated in relation to wordcount, and we won’t force you to message us for a figure either. Review our editing tiers, get in touch, and the editor best suited to your project will follow up with a few scheduling questions. [Flexible though we are, do understand that express orders may be subject to additional charges.]

All editing will adhere to The Chicago Manual of Style unless another guide is requested.        

— Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books, Poetry —

1. Development Editing

[First Assessment — Macro Review]

* Pacing

* Plot

* Structure

* Style

* Symmetry

* Segmentation

* Voice

* Perspective

* Dialogue

* Character arcs

(Construction Phase: Blueprints/Foundations)

(Baby Phase: Implantation)

(Painting Phase: Concept Sketches)

(Pizza Phase: Mise en Place)

2. Line Editing

[Paragraph & Sentence Level]

Repetition/Variation *

Syntax *

Word Choice *

Show Vs. Tell *

Cliché Elimination *

Logic *

Order *

Fact-checking *

Scene-setting *

Flow *

(Construction Phase: Walls/Floors/Ceilings)

(Baby Phase: Organs/Limbs)

(Painting Phase: Basal Layers)

(Pizza Phase: Dough Formation)

1. Development Editing

[First Assessment — Macro Review]

* Pacing

* Plot

* Structure

* Style

* Symmetry

* Segmentation

* Voice

* Perspective

* Dialogue

* Character arcs

(Construction Phase: Blueprints/Foundations)

(Baby Phase: Implantation)

(Painting Phase: Concept Sketches)

(Pizza Phase: Mise en Place)

2. Line Editing

[Paragraph & Sentence Level]

Repetition/Variation *

Syntax *

Word Choice *

Show Vs. Tell *

Cliché Elimination *

Logic *

Order *

Fact-checking *

Scene-setting *

Flow *

(Construction Phase: Walls/Floors/Ceilings)

(Baby Phase: Organs/Limbs)

(Painting Phase: Basal Layers)

(Pizza Phase: Dough Formation)

1. Development Editing

[First Assessment — Macro Review]

* Pacing

* Plot

* Structure

* Style

* Symmetry

* Segmentation

* Voice

* Perspective

* Dialogue

* Character arcs

(Construction Phase: Blueprints/Foundations)

(Baby Phase: Implantation)

(Painting Phase: Concept Sketches)

(Pizza Phase: Mise en Place)

2. Line Editing

[Paragraph & Sentence Level]

* Repetition/Variation

* Syntax

* Word Choice

* Show Vs. Tell

* Cliché Elimination

* Logic

* Order

* Fact-checking

* Scene-setting

* Flow

(Construction Phase: Walls/Floors/Ceilings)

(Baby Phase: Organs/Limbs)

(Painting Phase: Basal Layers)

(Pizza Phase: Dough Formation)

3. Copyediting

[Word & Punctuation Level]

* Spelling/Grammar Calibration

* References

* Transitions

* Tables

* Usage

* Continuity

* Omissions

* Punctuation

* Tone

* Additions & Deletions

(Construction Phase: Paint/Carpeting)

(Baby Phase: Nerves/Muscles)

(Painting Phase: Upper Layers)

(Pizza Phase: Toppings/Sauce)

4. Proofreading

[Final Assessment — Micro Review]

PDF/MOBI/EPUB Appraisal *

Layout/Formatting *

Sources *

Spacing *

Widows & Orphans *

Pagination *

Spelling/Grammar/Punctuation *

Subject Lines & Chapter Titles *

Image Captions *

Running Heads *

(Construction Phase: Safety Inspection)

(Baby Phase: Postnatal Check)

(Painting Phase: Final Touches)

(Pizza Phase: The Taste Test)

ADDITIONAL ANALOGIES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

3. Copyediting

[Word & Punctuation Level]

* Spelling/Grammar Calibration

* References

* Transitions

* Tables

* Usage

* Continuity

* Omissions

* Punctuation

* Tone

* Additions & Deletions

(Construction Phase: Paint/Carpeting)

(Baby Phase: Nerves/Muscles)

(Painting Phase: Upper Layers)

(Pizza Phase: Toppings/Sauce)

4. Proofreading

[Final Assessment — Micro Review]

PDF/MOBI/EPUB Appraisal *

Layout/Formatting *

Sources *

Spacing *

Widows & Orphans *

Pagination *

Spelling/Grammar/Punctuation *

Subject Lines & Chapter Titles *

Image Captions *

Running Heads *

(Construction Phase: Safety Inspection)

(Baby Phase: Postnatal Check)

(Painting Phase: Final Touches)

(Pizza Phase: The Taste Test)

ADDITIONAL ANALOGIES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

3. Copyediting

[Word & Punctuation Level]

* Spelling/Grammar Calibration

* References

* Transitions

* Tables

* Usage

* Continuity

* Omissions

* Punctuation

* Tone

* Additions & Deletions

(Construction Phase: Paint/Carpeting)

(Baby Phase: Nerves/Muscles)

(Painting Phase: Upper Layers)

(Pizza Phase: Toppings/Sauce)

4. Proofreading

[Final Assessment — Micro Review]

* PDF/MOBI/EPUB Appraisal

* Layout/Formatting

* Sources

* Spacing

* Widows & Orphans

* Pagination

* Spelling/Grammar/Punctuation

* Subject Lines & Chapter Titles

* Image Captions

* Running Heads

(Construction Phase: Safety Inspection)

(Baby Phase: Postnatal Check)

(Painting Phase: Final Touches)

(Pizza Phase: The Taste Test)

ADDITIONAL ANALOGIES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

Developmental Editing — $.02 Per Word

Consider this a glorified critique that precedes all other revisions. In addition to margin comments, you’ll receive a comprehensive report that addresses structure, plot, pacing, and more—general “big picture” stuff. A developmental editor (DE) serves as a creative collaborator, and their job is to make sure that the very foundations of your story are solid. It can be discouraging to find that a manuscript needs extensive work . . . but far less so than hearing “NO” from readers, agents, and publishers.   

Due to the nature of their feedback, a DE won’t focus on fixing grammar or spelling mistakes along the way. Since they suggest ways to better arrange your book, it wouldn’t make sense to alter content that may get cut or rewritten.

Predictably enough, this is the least popular form of editing. Most writers will admit that they’re capable of mechanical errors, but suddenly, when it comes to the story itself, they’re infallible Flow Gods. While it’s true that a developmental edit isn’t always needed, most manuscripts benefit significantly from another pair of discerning eyes.  

Most DEs charge around $.08 cents per word—meaning $8K for a 100,000-word book—and, though your credit card statement may not list the transaction as highway robbery, that’s what you’ll be experiencing. This is the least labor-intensive edit, and we’ve set our prices accordingly. What’s more, you’ll be free to reach out to your DE with later questions. We’re always here. No Ouija board needed, so don’t expect to get ghosted. 

[If you’d like to begin working with a DE before your first draft has been completed, that’s perfectly fine. Looking instead for a predraft brainstorm? See our coaching packages.]

Line Editing — $.04 Per Word

With a line edit, your prose will be polished to a blinding sheen. Unlike the more technical business of copyediting, this procedure addresses creative content, with an aim to improve overall clarity and style. Your assigned editor will provide detailed notes about their changes, and if you still have questions, they’ll make themselves available to review upon delivery.

On the whole, our editors are fairly fastidious, so a line edit will always include a good amount of mechanical mending too. (What kind of sicko would disregard an orphan period . . . ?) All the same, your LE’s artistic overhaul will be no substitute for copyediting and proofreading, which serve as the last lines of defense against more objective mayhem.

Copyediting — $.04 Per Word

This is a step that no one should skip, as copyediting represents the pinnacle of embarrassment prevention. Copyeditors hone in on grammar, usage, spelling and syntax, moreover checking for uniformity, both story-related and technical. (This guarantees cohesive descriptions, character traits, eye dialect, perspective, hyphenation, numerals, capitalization, and so on.) What can’t CEs do? They’ll undangle your participles and trim the fat from pleonasms. They’ll smooth over rough patches, punctuate (properly), locate logical fallacies, snuff out jargon, and eliminate clichés. If you want to ensure that your manuscript is free of inconsistencies, omissions, and general errors—that it’s as unputdownable as possible—this is an absolute must. Using Microsoft Track Changes, each of your CE’s changes will be neatly demarcated, and you’ll have the option to accept or decline them. Any questions? Ask away. We guarantee to leave our mark, not clients in the dark.

Proofreading — $.03 Per Word

There’s a lot of needless confusion about proofreading, so we’re here to clear things up. In this context, a proof is the trial impression of your work—i.e., a text that’s theoretically ready to hit the printing presses or online retailers. By this juncture, your formatted manuscript should (at very least) have been copyedited already. Unless you’re some kind of self-editing prodigy (in which case we implore you to send us a resume), we’ll know if the document hasn’t been worked over. After all, the proof’s in the pudding. When there’s puding in the proof, it can be dealt with, but this isn’t the phase for major alterations, or even minor ones. We’re talking more like minute.

Let’s say you’ve written a murder mystery. The plotting and prose are on point. Previous edits have scrubbed out every (purple) stain, and you’re already practicing your book-signing signature. You killed it. (The perfect crime . . .) But how sure are you really? When the forensic experts roll in, they’ll pick apart each scene with tools you’ve never even heard of. Absent hyphens, extra spaces, misplaced commas, botched ellipses? No mistake is truly small unless corrected in advance. One follicle of misspelled “hare” could close the case, so do beware. Who knows what damning evidence may still be floating ’round in there? Allow our team to step in first and minimize the risk.

A Specter Services proofread will ensure that each character, space, and factoid in your manuscript is met with practiced patience. We know what it takes to root out subtle slips. (It’s more than coffee . . . but also coffee.) Don’t be spooked by going public. Safeguard your authority or later on be haunted.

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