Copyediting, formatting and proofreading services

You’ve been researching, writing, editing and fine tuning your masterpiece, and finally, it’s almost ready for publication—but having read over your work for what seems like the hundredth time, you feel you need a professional editor to ensure your work meets the highest standards.

Whether your manuscript needs a light touch to add shine or a heavier hand to improve flow, the Detail Devil can help. After years of working with academic researchers, I’ve carefully designed the following options with your needs in mind (scroll further down this page for full descriptions).

~> Option 1 (copyedit, one pass)
~> Option 2 (copyedit, two passes)
~> Option 3A (full proofread)
~> Option 3B (page proof) **New service**
~> Option 4 (manuscript preparation ~ formatting ~ styling)
~> Option 5 (reference formatting)

How much do editing services cost, and how long will it take you?

Every project is different, with many factors affecting the cost, so it’s difficult to answer that question here. To help me determine the level of editing (and/or formatting) required, and to estimate how long your job will take, I’ll ask you to send me your draft manuscript, and I’ll copyedit 500 to 1,000 words (no charge). Based on this sample, I’ll calculate a fixed cost for the whole project. Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

As an example, a 75,000-word manuscript (excluding ToCs, reference list and appendices) can take six to eight days for one copyediting pass (Option 1), thesis formatting (Option 4), and reference formatting (Option 5), with a further six to seven days for a second pass (Option 2). The cost of this can range from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the options you choose. Options can be tailored to your requirements, so it’s best to contact me to find out how I can help.

Guidelines for editing research theses (for students and their supervisors)

As a professional copyeditor, I adhere to the Institute of Professional Editors’ Guidelines for editing research theses, for students and their supervisors, which outline the extent and nature of editorial services I can ethically provide when editing theses. (See here for the revised 2019 version [PDF].)

All Australian universities are recommended to follow these guidelines, and universities usually now include them in their information for higher degree research students. Per the Guidelines, students are requested to obtain written approval from their principal supervisor to use a professional copyeditor and to provide this to their copyeditor before they start work. The supervisor should also confirm they have reviewed your full draft manuscript and it is ready for copyediting.

For universities outside Australia who do not have ethics guidelines in place, the Australian guidelines are generally regarded as industry best practice.

Contact me for a quotation, to ask a question, to discuss a project or to book my services.

Option 1 ~> Copyedit (one pass)

One read (or ‘pass’) of sentence-level editing, which includes my recommendations using tracked changes, flagging any issues or queries by way of a comment in the margin. This option requires you, upon return of your manuscript, to review each of my recommendations and accept or reject each change. It will not be returned to me for any further work.

During this comprehensive first pass, I will

  • ensure appropriate use of language such as grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling (e.g., Australian, UK or US) and clarity of expression
  • ensure consistent use of language (capitalisation, hyphenation, abbreviation, etc.)
  • flag and fix where possible overly wordy sentences, tense issues, passive voice, repetitions and redundancies (see also Option 2)
  • crosscheck in-text references to your reference list, flagging inconsistencies and errors
  • ensure adherence to the American Psychological Association’s Manual of Style (6th/7th edition) or preferred style guide
  • create an editorial summary and style sheet, which records my decisions made with regard to language and style issues.

This option does not include

  • any items in Options 3A or 3B (although I will flag any issues I notice)
  • manuscript preparation (see Option 4)
  • reference formatting (see Option 5)
  • rewriting, restructuring, or substantive editing
  • research or fact checking.
Option 2 ~> Copyedit (two passes)

The second pass is for less routine matters that can often be better addressed only after a full read of the manuscript. Following your careful review of my queries, comments and recommendations made during the first pass, your manuscript will be returned to me.

During the second pass copyedit I will

  • further tighten your writing by revising overly wordy sentences, ensuring tense issues have been fully addressed, reviewing the use of passive voice over active and removing repetitions and redundancies
  • iron out any remaining inconsistencies
  • pick up anything that may have been missed during the first pass.

The second pass tends to take less time than the first due to familiarity with the manuscript, and I usually quote at 65% the cost of the first pass.

Option 3A ~> Full proofread

Proofreading assumes that at least one copyediting pass has taken place (usually by another professional copyeditor) and is the final check that your manuscript is ready for publication. During the proofread, I will

  • ensure no errors have crept through from previous rounds of copyediting or formatting
  • look at visual elements (typography, heading hierarchy, page layout, figures, tables and captions)
  • review formatting (widows/orphans are eliminated, tables are not split unnecessarily, page layout)
  • ensure integrity (that all the thesis elements are present and in the correct place).

If budget doesn’t allow full proofreading, see the lighter version, Option 3B, below.

Option 3B ~> Page proof **New service**

Designed with the budget-conscious writer in mind, the page proof is a lighter version of Option 3A (Proofreading) as many clients often like the Detail Devil to undertake a final check with fresh eyes before the manuscript is finalised. It incorporates most of the elements of Option 3 but without the actual read-through:

  • visual elements (typography, heading hierarchy, page layout, figures, tables, captions)
  • review formatting (widows/orphans are eliminated, tables are not split unnecessarily, page layout)
  • ensure integrity (all elements are present and in the correct place).

The page proof will take up to half a day, depending on the length of your manuscript.

Option 4 ~> Manuscript preparation ~ formatting ~ styling

The Detail Devil takes great pride in styling your manuscript so that it presents professionally and beautifully. Full formatting will

  • create and apply Word styles to every part of your document, including headings, body, block quotes, tables, table/figure captions, bulleted/numbered lists, references, appendices, glossary and any other style you might need, ensuring adherence to your preferred style guide
  • ensure correct table, figure and appendix numbering throughout, with styles applied
  • create the Table of Contents, Lists of Tables, Figures and Abbreviations, and compile Appendices (including theses by publication)
  • ensure correct page numbering (with preliminary pages using Roman numerals), applying section breaks where required
  • assemble all parts of your manuscript and check all the elements are present and in the right place
  • ensure your manuscript presents professionally and beautifully.
Option 5: Reference formatting

Your reference list will be formatted to your preferred referencing style.

Contact me

for a quotation, to ask a question, to discuss a project or to book my services.