Manuscript Editing

... and the Option of a Free Sample Edit

Turning a Rough Diamond into a Polished Jewel

Before a book is published, the raw text in the author’s original manuscript is edited to clean up mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation. The process can be compared to turning a rough diamond into a polished jewel. Many people outside the book publishing industry assume that whatever the author writes in their manuscript is exactly what their publishers release to the public, but this view is naïve. Most readers would be shocked to discover the number and types of errors in manuscripts by famous authors before editing.

Editing adds more value to a book than any other part of the publishing process. This is because errors in a text can shatter the enjoyment of readers and lead to scathing comments and reviews. The author’s many months or years of work can be ruined.

False Economy of Going It Alone

But here’s the thing – too many first-time authors make the mistake of thinking their manuscript doesn’t need professional editing. After all, they know how to use a spellchecker or they might have invested in editing software. But they can’t see their own mistakes and inconsistencies because they are too close to their work and editing software has some serious limitations.

In addition, some first-time authors pitching their manuscripts directly to publishers assume that the company will edit their writing anyway. However, publishers can be reluctant to take on a manuscript if the text requires anything more than a light edit because it increases their overheads. Not to mention that each publisher gives you only one shot with a particular manuscript, so it’s important you don’t deliver a first impression that you are an inexperienced writer.

Free Sample Edit

So, what’s the best way to test whether your manuscript needs an edit? You can email Euan for a free sample edit of 1500 words for manuscripts over 20,000 words. Yes, free. No obligation. Really.

He selects a sample of text from your manuscript, then edits these 1500 words using Track Changes in Microsoft Word. The Track Changes file uses coloured mark-ups (red strikethrough for deletions, blue underline for insertions) to enable you to see everything he has changed.

Of course, he also sends you another file of the finished clean copy, which incorporates all these changes without the mark-ups showing.

Requesting a Quote

At this point, you can decide whether or not to proceed with Euan bringing his experience, as a former senior editor for a major publisher and published author, to editing your entire manuscript. You decide whether to stop at your free sample, or ask Euan to prepare you an accurate quote based on the time he took to complete the sample edit. Once you have his quote, you can decide if you would like to invest in editing your whole manuscript/book.

It’s also worth knowing that editors typically make no copyright claims on a book even if they have occasionally rewritten sentences for clarity or smoother transitions  – with the writer's approval, of course. The manuscript/book remains 100% the copyright (intellectual property) of the writer.

Manuscript Editing vs Manuscript Assessment

Please note that editing cleans up the grammar, spelling and punctuation in a manuscript. However, if you first want to know whether the overall story or structure of your manuscript is working to maximum effect, then a manuscript assessment is recommended. This process and the rates are presented on Euan’s page Manuscript Assessment.