Copy-editing

Pulling a text together at a draft stage

If you wish me to copy-edit your text, I will be:

  • making sure the text hangs together and is internally consistent
  • making sure the level of language is appropriate for its target audience
  • making sure the text is the right length for the job
  • making sure page numbers, headings, sub-headings, footnotes, references, and the running headers and footers on each page are all present and correct
  • making sure the contents page matches the section headings, and that headings and sub-headings help readers' understanding
  • suggesting minor re-wording, to make the language easier to read or to avoid ambiguity
  • suggesting structural improvements, if needed
  • suggesting possible improvements for communicating facts, for example, where a block of text could perhaps be replaced by an illustration or figure, or a hyperlink to another web page
  • flagging up anything that seems unclear
  • flagging up where there appear to be bits missing from the text
  • flagging up any obvious factual mistakes or dubious statements
  • flagging up any obvious copyright, moral or libel issues
  • and carrying out all the checks included in the proofreading list
15 February 2024 – I do not have the capacity to accept new clients at the moment.

Prices

Rates run from 1 March to 28 (or 29) February. For 2024/25 the copy-editing rate for corporate clients is £39.20/hour; for private individuals, £36.20/hour. I do not charge VAT.

The amount of work needed on different texts will, of course, vary. You will receive a bespoke service; the examples below are just that: examples. That said, as a general rule the longer the text, the less the cost per word.

To give you an idea of the cost of copy-editing, here are examples of real past copy-editing jobs for corporate clients, costed per word at 2023/24 rates:

  • a report of about 21,500 words for a government agency – 3.4p
  • a report of about 4,500 words for the same government agency – 6.3p
  • suite of updated documents for a well established client – 170,000 words in total, of which around 39,000 words had been revised; the revised portion of the words had to be copy-edited, and then these parts had to be checked for their positioning within the overall suite of documents – 4.8p
  • the text of an app, which was 13,000 words – 1.7p

And here are some examples of real copy-editing jobs for private individuals, at 2024/25 rates:

  • a 41,000-word non-fiction book for a self-publisher – 4.1p
  • a 67,000-word folk-horror novel, set in Wales, for a self-publishing author – 4.0p.

The word counts in these examples have been rounded.

Projects using this service

Report for Mantell Gwynedd

I copy-edited the English version of a social impact report about a social prescribing project in Gwynedd

The purpose of the report was to communicate the impact of the Arfon Community Link project. This is a social prescribing scheme, which links patients with sources of support in the community. As the report was to be sent to the Welsh Government, the client’s aim was ‘to make sure it’s correct’.

Mantell Gwynedd is the County Voluntary Council in Gwynedd, Wales.

What my clients say

Thank you for all your work, all the notes were really clear and helpful, and thank you also for doing the work so promptly.

Social Value Manager

Curriculum resources for Sustrans

I copy-edited written curriculum resources for both pupils and teachers

Part of the task was to impose internal consistency on the written English, as different members of staff had written different parts.

I then arranged for Welsh translation, and proofread the Welsh against the original English.

Sustrans is the UK's national sustainable transport charity.

What my clients say

Many thanks for your help and for doing such a great job in a short space of time.

Programme Development Officer for Education and Young People