Generally, the various kinds of editing are divided up into copy editing, line editing, and substantive/content/developmental/structural editing. But that’s a little like like trying to put people into personality categories. It sort of works if you don’t press it too far.
There’s just too much overlap and breaking out of the weak-walled categories. So here’s my breakdown of the levels of editing.
(Everyone now seems to be offering a per-word price for editing services. I’ll do the same below – though they’re ranges and just some general guidelines to give you an idea of your cost. Once I see a sample of your manuscript, I’ll provide a solid project price for my services.)
Level: Gold – This corresponds roughly to copy editing, which can range from almost mere proofreading to light line editing. Here, we look at sentence-level things like grammar, usage, diction, consistency, sentence length, and so on.
My Fee: $.0075-$.01/word
Level: Platinum – At this level, the editing ranges from medium-to-heavy copy editing to line editing to light developmental/substantive editing. Generally, we’ll be looking at more of the paragraph-level matters like stylistic consistency and dialogue and doing some minor rewriting. But this level would also include copy editing. (It’s probably better to think of this as concentric circles rather than levels.)
My Fee: $.01-$.015/word
Level: Platinum Plus – With this level, you’ll get heavy-duty line editing plus developmental/substantive editing. We’ll be examining the much larger aspects like overall structure, plot, character development, and so on. But there’ll still be some of the lower-level stuff going on. This level of editing demands several pages of comments, criticisms, and suggestions from your editor.
My Fee: $.015-$.02/word
Notice I used the word “we” throughout these descriptions. That’s because we’re in this together.
All right, then, let’s get started.