Manuscript Editing and Proofreading

Bring out the best in your writing

Editing services and rates

Editing is the process of checking and polishing text to reduce errors, improve clarity and create a more impactful reading experience. You’ll need one or more of the following types of editing:

1. Developmental editing

Developmental editing – also known as content editing, story editing or structural editing – looks at the big-picture aspects of your book such as plot, character, logical argument, pacing and style. It makes sure your story or argument works and makes recommendations on anything that needs to be added, moved around or deleted before the text goes into copy editing. Get developmental editing if you have a lengthy work and you need objective feedback or problem-solving on structure, plot and logical argument.

2. Copy editing

Copy editing – also known as text editing – looks at the text and language issues. This is where the grammar and spelling corrections happen. The copy editor will also look at sentence flow, tone, clarity of expression, consistency and adherence to a style guide. A copy edit can involve some rephrasing of passages and reworking of complex sentences to improve readability. Copy editing is usually priced according to the level of work needed (e.g., a light, medium or heavy edit). All text needs copy editing before being published.

3. Proofreading

The proof edit is the lightest level of involvement and takes the form of a careful read-through of text that has already been copy edited. The aim is to catch any superficial errors such as misspelled words, missing punctuation, extra paragraph breaks, and incorrect formatting. Proofreading traditionally happens on the hardcopy page proofs (hence the name proofreading) rather than in the electronic document. Add a round of proofreading if it’s absolutely critical that you eliminate as many errors as possible. This is especially important in work that is published in print form.

Editing rates

These are my average rates per word in US dollars and SA rands.

  • Developmental edit: 2 c (USD) | 30 c (R)
  • Copy edit: 2 c (USD) | 30 c (R)
  • Proofread: 1.1 c (USD) | 18 c (R)

For an accurate quote, please send a sample of your work plus the total wordcount.

Wait … is your manuscript ready for editing?

Before you think about getting text editing, first assess whether your manuscript is ready for this step. It is a general rule in publishing that first drafts of book-length works are seldom ready for copy editing. Take this publishing readiness quiz to find out whether your work is ready for text editing or whether it first needs an editorial assessment or a developmental edit.

About your editor

Russel Brownlee has been in the business of writing and editing since way back in the early 90s when he started out as a newswriter for SABC radio. Since then he has worked as a magazine sub-editor and an e-learning technical editor, and now works as a freelance writer, editor and life coach.

His love of writing eventually led him to publish an award-winning novel (Garden of the Plagues), which won the Olive Schreiner Prize for debut fiction and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award. More recently he has self-published a nonfiction inspiration book called The Discovery of Causeless Joy, available on Amazon.

The book covers on this page are just some of the books he has either edited, proofed or written.

Russel looks forward to helping you make your novel or other writing project really shine. Contact Russel now and get a quote on your editing or proofing job.


Manuscript Editing and Proofreading

Contact us for a quote or advice on what kind of edit you need. 

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