Line Editing

Our line editing service is best for authors who are happy with the overall plot and style of their novel, but who need help addressing syntax issues, minor plot or character inconsistencies, repetition, and underdeveloped scenes. We highly recommend a final proofread following this step and before publication to find any last errors or typos.


What Is Line Editing?

During a line edit (similar to a copy edit), your fiction editor will focus on improving the readability of your novel and strengthening the narrative voice. The book editor will edit the full manuscript for awkward sentences, repetitive phrasing, and underdeveloped passages. Your editor may leave notes in the margin if they feel you need to adjust certain portions of the novel, but for the most part, he or she will make in-line changes for your review. We use Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature, which allows you to either reject or accept every suggestion your editor makes.

During line editing, your novel editor will also watch for grammar mistakes and typos, though this is not the primary goal of this book editing service. Rather, your editor will be looking to make structural changes, often rearranging sentences and paragraphs, adjusting word choice and phrasing, or adding additional wording to some passages.

How to Know if You’re Ready for a Line Edit

The line editing process typically happens after you have gone through both the beta editing and developmental editing phases, but before you undertake formatting, layout/design, and final proofreading.

If you feel as though your plot and characters are well developed and you no longer need to make any major edits or additions to the foundation of the novel, then you may be ready to move on to line editing. However, if you think you may still want to change some aspects of the story or add/remove a significant number of passages, then it’s best to wait on line editing until your manuscript is closer to how you want it to appear when the book goes to publication.

Developing a Style Sheet

One of the biggest benefits of line editing is the development of a style sheet—something we offer as part of the service. A style sheet is a separate document that tracks a number of aspects of your novel, including:

  • Character names and proper spelling
  • Deviations from the Chicago Manual of Style or other style guides
  • Unique proper nouns used throughout the novel
  • Matters of the author’s personal preference when style rules are open to interpretation

This document is vital to maintain consistency throughout the line editing and subsequent proofreading process. For novel writers who are composing a series, having a thorough style guide prepared will help you maintain consistency across each book—something both your readers and publishers will appreciate.

Why Line Editing Isn’t a Final Service

Your book editor will adjust any mistakes and typos they find during line editing, but since this is not the primary focus of this stage of editing, we encourage you to have a final proofread done before going to publication.

Following a line edit, as you accept and reject your editor’s changes, you will find you want to make some adjustments; you may even end up writing new passages if your book editor recommends this. This could cause new errors to be introduced, which is why it’s always best to have a professional proofreader do one final review of the novel before you show it to the public.

Rates for Line Editing

Our line editing service starts $0.020/word, though this price may fluctuate if you are purchasing an editing bundle.