Copy editing, proofreading, research & indexing services
I will no longer be offering these services myself. When my own writing and courses permit, I will still take on appraisals, mentoring and tuition, but I’m delighted to offer you a recommended editorial service via Ruth Luckhurst Editorial. Ruth is a professional writer and qualified copy editor and proofreader. Her speciality is in making your manuscript as appealing, clear and tidy as possible before you submit it to an agent or publisher. Read on for more details.
Ruth Luckhurst Editorial Services
Give your manuscript the best possible chance of being given serious consideration by your chosen agent or publisher: pass the task of quality control to a qualified and experienced professional copyeditor who will sort out niggling inaccuracies and inconsistencies without ever spoiling your unique style.
If your work is non-fiction, you might want to sub-contract the tedious chores of fact-checking and indexing to someone else.
And for fiction or non-fiction, it pays to have someone who knows what they’re doing run an eagle eye over the final proofs before the printer sends out something with a howler that will haunt you for the rest of your days. Printers assume that writers are asking them to print exactly what the final proofs say: theirs not to question why.
If a publisher is feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of submissions received (as they often do), even an inspirational manuscript can quickly end up on the discard pile if its true potential is obscured by things like poor spelling, grammatical errors and shoddy presentation.
You can fix many of these things for yourself, but someone else’s sharp eyes can make all the difference, especially when that copy editor/proofreader is trained and has many years’ experience of picking out those nasty little bugs that lurk unnoticed in your text. We all read what we think we have written or read, but a professional editor will have all the tools needed to prise these devious party-poopers out of your precious opus.
A good copy editor will:
– correct any errors in the grammar and spelling
– standardise the style, ensuring consistency in things like headers, bullet points, single/double quotation marks, etc
– suggest changes that might improve the clarity of the text (eg removing any ambiguities)
– identify any clumsy words or phrases that might be tweaked to help your text flow more smoothly
– ask pertinent questions that a reader might want answered
– cross-reference the statements and facts in your text to make sure that you don’t contradict yourself anywhere
– check through any tables, charts, graphs or maps in non-fiction manuscripts, as well as captions, headers, notes, citations and quotations, to ensure both accuracy and consistency
A good copy editor will NOT:
– introduce any errors into your text
– attempt to change your content, style or voice beyond what is needed to make it correct and unambiguous
After a copy editor has been through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, there should be very few knots and wrinkles left, but it makes sense to run a final check on the grammatical details before committing to print. A proofreader is the impartial pair of eyes brought to scrutinise this last-minute proof copy of a manuscript, to prevent the awful embarrassment of hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of repetitions of an excruciating howler that somehow sneaked in after your back was turned.
A proofreader pays no attention whatsoever to your content, style or facts: the focus is entirely on spelling and grammar, and nothing else.
The proliferation of seemingly authoritative information on the internet makes it ever more important to be sure that what you are putting out as fact is indeed just that. Fake news is at last being universally recognised as pernicious and even dangerous; but even unintentional spreading of misinformation is still widespread.
If you want your work to be taken seriously, it needs to be able to stand up to the scrutiny of a reader who – you never know – might happen to know more about the subject than you do. You don’t need to reproduce all the salient details of what you’re writing about, but you do need to be sure that the ones you include are correct.
It takes time to check all your sources, and check their sources right back to the primary source, and then cross-refer it against the detailed information broadcast by writers acknowledged to be experts in their field and then peer-reviewed.
Many writers prefer to leave this kind of work to someone else, freeing themselves up for the creative process of actually producing the work in the first place. This is where the fact-checker comes in.
Another technical process which involves a bothersome attention to detail is indexing: going through the text very carefully again, this time to pull out all the important subjects every time they are mentioned, and assembling them into an alphabetical list which identifies every page where that subject occurs.
A variation on the indexing theme is the glossary, where words that are specific to your subject are again itemised in an alphabetical list, but this time they are given a definition, as in a dictionary (or an encyclopaedia if more detailed information is required).
You will probably want to produce your own list of contents, and your list of illustrations too; but this service can also be provided, if required.
Please note all these services need your manuscript to be typed up (no typing service is offered). Please ask for font size and spacing details.
Rates per 1000 words:
– Copy Editing: £35
– Proofreading: £25
– Fact-Checking: £35
– Indexing: £30
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