Editing Services

The object of editing is to bring the manuscript to publishable, or at least near-publishable (with only need for an additional light edit), condition. Few manuscripts by even experienced authors are at that stage before an editor other than the author provides a close review.

There are several kinds of book editing, and the work needed on one book is different than the type needed on another. Here are the kinds of editing we perform to get a book ready for publication.


Sometimes what an author has is something not yet a manuscript, but rather a collection of notes and other materials, and sometimes scattered pages of new material. In such cases, where no general manuscript yet exists or where complete reconstruction rather than repairs are what is needed, we might suggest ghostwriting the book. As Wikipedia describes it, “A ghostwriter is a writer who authors books, manuscripts, screenplays, scripts, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.”

In some unusual cases a portion of a book, rather than the whole project, might be ghostwritten.

Ghostwriting, which we have done from time to time, is specialized work. Because it involves actually writing the book, the right chemistry between the book’s originator and its writer is important. And because the work is so extensive, and because ghostwriters usually (and do in the case of Ridenbaugh Press) ask for payment before publication rather than a share of royalties, it ordinarily is a more expensive option.

FEE If you and we conclude it is the best option in your case, we will be glad to quote to a fee (custom for each project) and a timeline for completion.

Critical review

If you have a manscript, or at least most of one, a critical review might be useful for strengthening and targeting your book.

This step is not an edit per se but a careful review of what you have, how it can be improved potentially – for quality and marketing purposes – and what would be needed to get it there. We’ll provide a detailed written report on the book from 400 to 1,000 words in length, and the option of a half-hour phone conversation to discuss the manuscript, its strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve it. This step is not a strict requisite for copy editing, but is strongly recommended.

FEE For manuscripts of less than 60,000 words, $200; more than 60,000 words, $300.

Copy editing

Some editors split this process into separate stages, but we consider copy editing to include most substantive editing on the book, from suggesting significant organizational, tone and other changes, to improvements in clarity, textual flow and general literacy, to corrections in grammar, spelling, word choice and so on, and on to proofreading correction of punctuation and typogrpahical and other errors. Raise questions about factual issues and inconsistencies.

We do however split our fee levels depending on which type of editing is needed.

Some authors deliver manuscripts which, in broad strokes, are well enough organized and edited that large-scale editing changes aren’t needed. Other manuscripts do need significant organizational, structural, thematic, argument, and other work. When you submit a manuscript for critical review (the step above), or simply submit it directly for copy editing, we evaluate the work needed for this specific text. The fee will depend on whether the book will need major organizational work, or relatively simple line editing. It includes proofreading (the step listed below).

On request, we’ll copy edit a couple of pages of your book for free, to give you an idea of how we’d handle it.

FEE For developmental copy editing, 2 cents cents per word.

For line copy editing, 1.5 cents per word.


If you’re confident your manuscript is largely ready for the world, that it is well organized, devoid of inconsistencies and grammatical errors and in need only of a review to catch the most basic errors such as spelling, punctuation, typogrpahical mistakes and so on, you may consider our proofreading service.

We also will flag for you other issues we happen to spot, but this level of editing is mainly a matter of catching and correcting the base-level issues, ordinarily just before the text file is sent to the printer.

FEE For proofreading only, .75 cents per word.

EXAMPLE Any newer word processing program will tell you how many words are in your manuscript. Let’s say your manuscript is 50,000 words in length.

If for example you choose to obtain a critical review, that would cost $200.

If your manuscript needs developmental work (at 2 cents a word), that would cost $1,000, for a total (with the critical review) of $1,200.

If your manuscript needs only line editing (at 1.5 cents a word), that would cost $750, for a total (with the critical review) of $950.

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