Copy Editing

Editorial Services

Copy Editing

Description of Service

Writing. The secret of its popularity lies in its enjoyment. There’s no greater pleasure than getting a sentence just right. Even when sentences first come out a little askew, as they tend to do, there’s further enjoyment in rewriting them until they’re just right.

Most first drafts are second-rate, so becoming a skilled self-editor is crucial to becoming a good writer.

If you find ruthless self-editing challenging, engaging an external editor will transform your first draft into an advanced publishing proposal.

Manuscript Editing Services

Unlike an assessment report, which leaves the manuscript untouched, our editing services make changes directly on the text.  

It its broadest sense, any kind of editorial intervention on any form of copy is copy editing. The type of editing used for a manuscript depends on its scope and purpose.

At the Literary Studio, we offer three types of copy editing services.

Substantive Editing

Substantive editing is our most advanced editorial service. It sits in between copy editing and ghostwriting.

The substantive editing is a close collaboration between you and the editor, often on a shared online platform, where ideas are developed and implemented, often in real time.

It includes extensive editing and suggestions for development. It goes beyond style and form, delving into story structure and character development, pace and signposting, fine-tuning style and adjusting genre positioning.

We begin with a sample edit of the first few pages to serve as reference for the edit.

The substantive editing includes copy-editing and requires a manuscript assessment as a preliminary step.

We can only offer substantive editing to a limited number of clients every year.

Client Testimonial

A masterclass in writing.

Russell Connor


Our copy-editing service focuses on improving the layout of your manuscript, spelling, punctuation, word choices, and content-related aspects, like narrative flow, dialogue, consistency of style and characterisation. While it involves some rewriting, copy-editing doesn’t reach the depth of the substantive editing.


Proofreading is an essential step in the prepress process. In its most literal sense, proofreading means reading proofs, i.e. the book at pre-publication stage. In its broadest sense, it has evolved to mean a light copy-edit, with a focus on presentation on the page.

Once the typeset is done and you have a proof, an independent proofreader, different to the copy-editor, will meticulously check the proofs for any style inconsistencies, typesetting errors and of course for spelling and punctuation. Our approved proofs are usually ready for print.

Do you need substantive editing, copy-editing or proofreading?

Unless the manuscript has been typeset into proofs, you will not need proofreading.

If you have a couple of hours a week to review and approve edits from your editor, we recommend choosing substantive editing over copy-editing.

If time is a problem and you’d rather receive the edit in one go, then copy-editing is the best available choice.

Benefits of editing services

Don’t be afraid of rewriting

Rewriting is easier than writing becomes it comes with a problem to solve.

‘Rewriting is where the game is won or lost. Rewriting is the essence of writing. I love to replace a merely serviceable word with one that has more precision, or more colour or more surprise. Or to replace an awkward phrase with one that’s more graceful. Or to strengthen the transition between one sentence and another. With every change, I feel that I’m getting nearer to where I’d finally like to arrive.’

William Zinsser


  • Partial and complete manuscripts of a minimum of 25,000 words
  • Fiction, popular non-fiction and children’s literature only
  • The Oxford Style for British English
  • The Chicago Style for American English
  • Four- to eight-week turnaround time
  • Edits provided in tracked changes, easy to accept or decline
  • Unlimited communication with the editor by email during and after the substantive editing
  • Unlimited communication with the editor by email following copy-editing or proofreading
  • Regular updates via the client portal
  • Free forty-minute call with the editor included

Get a Copy Editing quote