3. Substantive Book Copy-editing Service

How about writing a book?

It is said that there is a book in everyone. This is true, as we all have a story to tell. Maybe a friend has suggested that you write a book. You may well be saying, ‘Yes, I have a story to tell, but I’m not very good with grammar and spelling.’ Don’t let that put you off. We can help you. This is where our substantive book copy-editing service comes in. We won’t write the book for you, but we encourage you to make your own attempt at this. Just write to express your ideas in your own style without worrying too much about getting the grammar and spelling right. We will do that for you, as well as generally help you to get your message across to your potential readers.

What about experienced authors?

You may well be reading this and thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t need all this. I am an experienced author. I understand all about grammar, spelling and punctuation.’ We accept that you are much less likely to need our substantive copy-editing service than a new author would, and that our basic or moderate copy-editing service would be of more use to you. However, maybe you are writing about a new topic or you feel that your writing needs a boost, or you want to attract a potential new audience. In this case, you may need our substantive copy-editing service.

What is our substantive book copy-editing service?

This service scrutinises your copy thoroughly, not only for grammar, spelling and punctuation, but also for other aspects such as word choice, sentence structure, general presentation and language flow. Our copy-editors are well experienced in this work and many of them are published authors themselves. Listed below are some of the aspects that we examine when looking through your book.

Grammar: We check all aspects of grammar, including subject-verb agreement, use of tenses, use of conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs, modifiers, possessive adjectives or pronouns and split infinitives.

Spelling check: Incorrect spelling can look unprofessional and, even worse, can change your intended meaning, thereby confusing your readers. We check for this and also for typos. We check for American or British English spelling and ensure that, whichever you choose, you are consistent. We also check for the correct use of capital letters.

Punctuation: Although some aspects of punctuation are a matter of the author’s choice or of current fashion, incorrect punctuation can confuse the reader and can often change the meaning. We check punctuation carefully to ensure consistency and clarity of meaning.

Word choice: English is a rich language, and there are many ways of saying the same thing. However, few words have an exact identical meaning; therefore, simply consulting a thesaurus, without considering the context of the word, does not always help. Some words express a thought more strongly than others do, according to the context or topic. Our substantive service checks for the choice of the most appropriate words. You can get your message across only if you use the most suitable and effective words.

Sentence structure: We often come across sentences that are too long or too short. If sentences are too long, the reader becomes confused. On the other hand, sentences that are excessively short break up the flow of the text. Also, good sentence structure involves knowing which word should be emphasised.

Comprehensibility and clarity of ideas: If your book is to be attractive to readers, it must be easily understood. Any reader who has difficulty in understanding even one sentence is very likely to ‘switch off’. Therefore, we help you to get your ideas across to your readers clearly and unambiguously. While the intelligence of the reader should always be respected, it cannot be assumed that the reader is familiar with a particular topic in which the writer is an expert. It may be necessary to explain that topic. We check for all of this and also for consistency and logic.

Organisation: Writing a book is a complex task and involves many stages from the first idea to write a book to the publication. Our experienced copy-editors can help you with this process. 

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