We field editing questions from people nationwide as well as internationally, but most of their concerns are the same. Here, we provide answers for the most common inquiries.
1. What type of services do you provide?
Magnifico Manuscripts provides a full range of editing and proofreading services to authors and business professionals. We can also help authors self-publish, critique and edit query letters, and develop personal bios, summaries and discussion questions for a book.
2. What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?
Proofreading identifies grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typographical errors as well as formatting inconsistencies. Basic copyediting includes proofreading, plus covers content continuity, correct and effective word usage, and clarity of concepts. Heavier editing includes basic copyediting, as well as analyzing character and plot development, narrative flow, shifts in point of view, and organizational structure.
3. What role does the editor play in the writing process?
Ideally, an editor assists a writer in making his or her work as concise and error-free as possible. A strong working relationship between an author and editor is critical to the success of any project. A good editor will not change a writer’s voice, style or story. Instead, the editor offers a fresh, experienced perspective and respects the author’s work. Ultimately, all edits must be approved by the author.
4. Why should I use an editor instead of having friends and family edit my work?
Having friends and family proofread a book or document is a great way to get a free review. However, they often are not looking at the writing with an objective eye. A good editor reviews work objectively without pre-conceived biases or ideas. To keep skills sharp and stay current on the editing industry, an editor should also attend classes, webinars and seminars annually.
5. What do you look for in a new manuscript or other writing?
Our goal is to help authors achieve their goals, so ultimately, we’re looking for ways to improve a writer’s marketability. Errors and inconsistencies distract a reader, so a poorly edited book or document can lose credibility. In the case of a book, if a reader loses interest, he/she will not recommend the book to friends or purchase subsequent books by the same author.
6. Do you work with independent authors?
Many of our clients would be considered indie authors. To help enhance their marketing potential, we have a network of graphic designers, illustrators, ebook formatters, photo restorers, and indexers for indie authors who require additional assistance after editing.
7. What are some common mistakes that authors can and should avoid?
Many authors (particularly self-publishing authors) do not realize that publishing a book is a business. It requires time, money and effort to publish a book, so it needs to be marketable. A self-published author should assemble a team of professionals to assist with any publication issues unfamiliar to the author. Most importantly, always get a book professionally edited before publishing. Shop around because editing fees vary. Compare sample edits and choose the editor who understands your work and your goals.
8. What style guides do you use for reference?
Depending on your editing needs, we reference a number of style guides including the Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Stylebook, and The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. If you have a preferred or corporate style guide and dictionary to follow, just let us know.
9. How much do you charge for proofreading and/or editing?
Because every writing project is different, our pricing varies. However, we assure competitive rates without mark-ups, add-ons or unexpected surprises. When determining fees, we consider: the type of project (such as a manuscript, business presentation or marketing copy); whether the piece needs proofreading, basic editing or significant revisions; and the complexity of the content. A contract will document the scope of the project and include the costs, tasks involved, and schedule of the project.
10. How do you estimate fees?
Our fees can be quoted on an hourly, per page, or per word rate based on your project needs and personal preference. We provide free estimates, as well as a sample of our work to help you determine whether Magnifico is a good fit for your budget and your goals.
11. What does a free sample edit include?
A free sample edit includes review of approximately two pages. Usually, this provides enough feedback to convince writers we’re enhancing their work while creating a more professional end product. The sample edit also helps us evaluate the level of editing required and establishes a basis for developing a quote.
12. Do you have any advice for writers wanting to improve their own editing skills?
To be a good writer, it helps to be a good reader. We recommend reading a wide variety of materials and writing styles. Here are a few other tips to strengthen your work:
- Invest in a good style guide. It also helps to take an online or campus course on writing and editing.
- To improve your self-editing results, don’t hesitate to delete or consolidate sections that appear redundant. Succinct wording makes a work more readable and easier to comprehend.
- When possible, avoid passive verbs (is, was, were), and choose verbs wisely so they can convey a thought without the support of adjectives and adverbs.
- To more easily identify punctuation errors, try enlarging the print.
- To locate grammatical problems, read each word aloud. If a sentence or phrase sounds awkward when read aloud, it’s probably an awkward sentence.
- Avoid editing your own work immediately after writing. If possible, give yourself a day or two, and then return to the work with a fresh eye.