Every writer needs an editor. Anyone who is serious about making their manuscript the best that it can be should budget for the services of an editor.

Broadly speaking, an editor performs two roles.

First, she acts as a representative of the audience — a “first reader” with fresh eyes. Often, writers become so immersed in their manuscript that they lose perspective of their audience and how best to connect with them. They see the trees but miss the forest. An editor provides invaluable insight and feedback, acting as an objective, detached first reader. She ensures that the manuscript is clear, understandable, and reader-friendly.

An editor also presents the author in the best possible light by ensuring that the manuscript is polished and error-free. Needless grammatical, factual, spelling, and punctuation errors irritate readers and damage a writer’s credibility. “If he can’t get those details right,” they reason, “How can we trust that the rest of it is true?” An editor produces error-free manuscripts that project an image of competence and professionalism and communicate, “I care enough to get it all right.”

lifewriters.ca offers a full range of editorial services for non-fiction manuscripts. These include: developmental, substantive, and stylistic editing; copyediting; and proofreading. The following descriptions are adapted from those offered by Editors’ Canada.

Developmental / Project Editing
This includes managing and editing a writing project from the idea stage or rough draft to the final manuscript. It can include eliciting and incorporating input from multiple stakeholders including authors, consultants, and reviewers.

Substantive or Structural Editing
This includes “clarifying and /or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure. Changes may be suggested to or drafted for the author.”

Stylistic Editing
This includes “clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing. It may include checking or correcting the reading level.” Factchecking and reference checking may also occur at this stage.

Copy Editing
A key part of any writing process is copyediting. As master copyeditor Amy Einsohn explains, “A copyeditor’s chief concerns are the ‘4Cs’ — clarity, coherency, consistency, and correctness — in service of the ‘Cardinal C’: communication.” Once the content of a manuscript is finalized, a copy editor reads the manuscript line by line, editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, word usage, and other mechanics of style. She also develops a style guide to ensure consistency.

Copy editing is often loosely and incorrectly used to refer to stylistic and even structural editing and fact checking.

A proof reader examines the book design proofs line by line just before they go to press. It is a final check made primarily to identify and correct any errors that may have occurred during the book design process. As with copyediting, it is a key part of any publication process and should be budgeted for accordingly.  

lifewriter.ca’s usually bases its editing fees on the manuscript’s word count. Other variables include quality of the manuscript and the precise services required.

Copyediting fees begin at about $30 per thousand words or portion thereof, and proofreading at $10.

If you are in need of an editor for your writing project, give us a call toll-free at 1-800.864.9152 or email us.

“Without Philip, I’m not sure this book would have been completed. He provided encouragement and support for the overall project when it might have felt easier to just let things slide. He not only stuck to his own deadlines, but gently made sure that I stuck to mine. I felt like I had a partner in the process, and that was incredibly valuable. Thanks Philip!”

— Catherine Bargen, author



“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain perpetually a child. For what is the worth of a human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

– Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 – 43 BC


lifewriters.ca serves clients in the greater Vancouver area and British Columbia and across Canada.

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