Editing is essential for professional creative
writing. From ensuring the story is engaging through strong
narrative arc, characterisation, writing style, plotting
and pace, to perfecting word choice, spelling, punctuation
and grammar, these are the processes a novel must go through
if it’s to make that vital first impression. And
yes, that goes for self-published work too: weak writing
and lots of errors will turn off readers who are used to
high standards from published novels.
Properly edited writing,
by comparison, engages readers and leads to good reviews,
recommendations and higher sales.
It also tells prospective publishers – and self-publishing
is now an important route to traditional publishers – that
you take your writing seriously.
Here is an outline of the
editing process. For more information, please email
This is the first stage where an editor gets involved in
a manuscript. It concerns itself not so much with the prose,
but with the story. Does the plot hang together? Are characters
credible, well-defined and interesting? Do they develop
over the course of the novel? Is there sufficient conflict?
A strong narrative arc? Is the style working well with
the story? Do events occur in the right order or could
changes improve the pace or the drama? Is the weighting
given to different parts of the novel the best possible?
Are some sections told that should be shown, and are there
areas of obvious exposition that need a more subtle treatment?
read your finished manuscript and provide an in depth,
detailed opinion, making comments and suggestions in the
margin and sometimes within the text, and providing a separate
report, at an agreed price, usually between £12 and £15
per 1,000 words.
If you’d like us to look through
subsequent drafts, we’re very happy to do so and
offer the service at a slightly reduced rate.
If your manuscript
is not yet finished, and you need help with it now, then
we offer book mentoring services. Again,
the price will depend on the work we estimate is involved.
us for details.
We provide structural/developmental editing to novellas
and novels and also to most narrative non-fiction such
as memoirs and biographies. Short stories too, although
critiques are the recommended route for short pieces under
Copy-editing (and we include line-editing in this) takes
place when you’ve crafted and re-crafted your novel
or story and are satisfied there are no further major changes
to be made. This is the stage where we look at the nuts
and bolts of the prose, such as grammar, word choice and
punctuation, and much more. We suggest where different
words can be used to better effect, where a phrase, sentence,
or paragraph is clumsy, out of place, ambiguous, anachronistic
or repetitive, and where smaller questions of plot, fact,
sequence, timeline or logic need to be addressed. It ensures
consistency in how elements such as times, numbers and
dates are formatted and in spelling and punctuation choices,
such as whilst v while. It flags up and suggests changes
where tense or viewpoint is used inconsistently.
Feedback customers come to us for this service either prior
to self-publishing or to give their manuscript
the best possible chance on submission to an agent or publisher
or in a competition.
Poor grammar, spelling and punctuation
and blips in plot and logic are a major turn-off for agents
(and readers too.) Many inexperienced aspiring authors
think that if their story is strong enough these things
won’t matter as they’ll be ironed out later.
Sadly, to gain acceptance in the first place has become
extremely difficult, and most agents spend only seconds
reading a manuscript before rejecting it. The one element
they can properly appreciate in that time is the quality
of the prose. That’s why it’s best to impress
with professionally copy-edited work.
Your copy-edited manuscript
will be returned in Microsoft Word in two files, one with
all amendments shown so you
can see the changes, and one with them accepted so it’s
easy to read and use as a working document ongoing. In
both files the editor’s comments are visible. This
gives you the chance to go through the manuscript and consider
the editing comments. It also means you can see what changes
have been made, enabling you to apply what you learn to
future writing. For full-length work, we also provide style
sheets tailored to the MS showing what editorial decisions
have been taken.
Our copy-editing charge is usually between £12.00
and £14.00 per 1,000 words.
We will provide a definite quote on sight of the work.
To send in a sample of your work for a copy-editing quote,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All customers who
have used any Fiction Feedback service within the previous
six months receive a 5% discount on
our editing services.
Please note; we reserve the right
to say no to copy-editing work where the manuscript is
not ready for this in our
We’ve had excellent feedback on our
editing service. A number of our writers have gone on to
publishing contracts after we edited their manuscripts,
and others have successfully self-published.
If you’d like to try out our copy-editing on a small
extract first, we’ll edit a minimum of 500 words
free and without obligation. Email your first two chapters
Our minimum charge for copy-editing is £50, so if,
for example, you should want copy-editing for 1,000 words
the cost would be £50.
What we copy-edit
We copy-edit: fiction of all lengths including short stories;
biographies and memoirs; travelogues and other narrative
non-fiction and also (subject to sight) articles, non-technical
reports and proposals.
Proofreading is the very last thing that happens to your
manuscript before it goes to production, so this service
is only for those intending to self-publish. The service
is only available to writers who have already submitted
their manuscripts for copy-editing by Fiction Feedback.
It caters for an author’s subsequent changes to a
manuscript following recommendations or suggestions in
the copy-edit. We will quote depending on the work, with
proofreading rates always lower than copy-editing.
do I ask for an editing quote?
Email us with details of which service you’re interested
in. Please remind us if you’ve used our critique
or editing service in the last six months and if you’re
claiming your 5% discount.
How long will it take?
We will agree a schedule with you before beginning any
editing work, taking into account your requirements and
the level of work likely to be involved.
Can I post a hard
copy of the manuscript for editing?
No, sorry; for editing we must have digital files.
offer copy-editing for non-fiction writing?
Yes we do. For biographies, travelogues, and other narrative
non-fiction manuscripts including proposals and non-technical
reports the price structure is the same as above. We always
need sight of the manuscript before we can confirm a quote.
my manuscript is edited, can you help me find an agent
We are sometimes in a position to extend help and will
be pleased to do this where appropriate. We also offer
practical help for very reasonable fees with covering letters
and synopses to those whose work we’ve edited. Advice,
and agent or publisher recommendations are free.