the different levels of editing

You’ve probably been advised that before you contact an editor, you need to determine what type of editing it is you’re looking for. If you’ve searched online for definitions of the different levels of editing available, it’s possible that you’ll be more confused than ever – even editors can’t agree!

What matters most is that you’re clear about what services are being offered, and what you’ll be getting. With that in mind, here’s a brief explanation of what I mean when I talk about the different stages of editing. Please click on the link next to each service to see full details of prices and what’s included. 


manuscript critique

Developmental editing looks at the big-picture elements of your novel. Is your plot plausible and compelling? Are your characters believable? Does your story drag at times and zip by too fast at others? Will your readers feel satisfied by the ending?

I’ll look at your work objectively and make suggestions as to how you can develop your story, offering constructive and honest feedback in the form of an editorial report, or manuscript critique. For more information and prices, please click here.


‘Nicky has written three editorial reports for Betterwrite Literary Consultants and all have been excellent: penetrating, comprehensive and judicious. In the field of fiction she clearly has a high level of professional ability as a development editor.’

Rob Matthews, SfEP Advanced Professional Member & Director of, Literary Consultants


line and copy-editing

Put simply, line editing – also known as stylistic editing – focuses on improving your writing by ensuring that it’s artful in the way that it flows, and correct and consistent in the way that it’s presented. Copy-editing aims to correct the writing by making sentences and paragraphs clear in meaning and consistent in style. So, you can see that the lines between the two are somewhat blurred.

This is why I offer a combination of line and copy-editing, balanced according to the individual needs of the text, which takes place before proofreading and involves an in-depth treatment of the text at word and sentence level. If your budget only allows for one editing process, my advice would be to make it this one. Please click here for full details and prices.


‘I couldn’t have been more pleased with Nicky’s editing of A Crazy French Rhythm – Nicky had tightened it up beautifully, allowing the narrative to flow far more easily.’  

Carolyn Ross, author Tony Hart, A Portrait of my Dad



Proofreading is the final polish, enabling you to publish with confidence knowing your readers aren’t going to be distracted by irritating typos and spelling mistakes. If your work has already been professionally edited and revised, this is the last thorough review where I’ll look for any errors that have slipped through or been more recently introduced.

The word proofreading is often used as a generic term, so many writers think they want their work proofread when in fact they want a copy-edit. If you’re not sure, please send me a sample and I’ll be happy to advise you on what level of editing is most appropriate.

You can see more details including prices here.


‘I still marvel at the level of detail unearthed by the scrutiny she applied consistently over the whole novel. No errant comma was missed and no section of text was left leaving the reader puzzled by the meaning.’

William V Kelly, author Until the Fat Man Sings, Place in the Sun


Interested? Then don’t hesitate any longer! Click here to contact me.