My services are as follows:

I first ask for both a hard copy and an electronic copy of the manuscript, together with a reading fee of £50. Generally speaking, I work on electronic copy in Microsoft Word, but I am happy to mark up hard copy for the author’s input if that is preferred.

Once I receive the manuscript, I skim-read it and then copy-edit the first 3,000 words or so, highlighting the changes I have made and returning the file, together with a brief critique and my quote for a full copy-edit. This gives us both an indication as to how much work is involved and therefore how much time it will take me to complete the entire manuscript, and thus how much it is likely to cost you. It also gives you an opportunity to approve (or not!) the standard and style of my work. At the same time we can agree a schedule so that you know when you can expect the copy-editing to start (I am generally booked up around three months in advance) and finish.

In the event that I feel the manuscript is not yet ready for copy-editing, such that the work involved to bring it to a publishable standard would make it prohibitively expensive, I will explain why I feel this to be the case and suggest that you re-draft and polish the manuscript before returning it to me for copy-editing at a later date. Conversely, should your manuscript be of such a high standard that I feel it requires only minimal copy-editing, I will tell you so and this will be reflected in my quote.

What does copy-editing entail? Copy-editing is not just about correcting errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling; it should also point up such things as:
• lack of continuity
• holes in the plot
• lack of pace
• intrusion of author’s voice
• too much telling and not enough showing
• characters or sub-plots that do not move the story along
• anachronisms
• clumsy prose, as in the case of disembodied eyes and limbs!
• over-use of adjectives, adverbs, clichés and ‘purple prose’ • dialogue that sounds stilted or unnatural
• changes of point of view (POV) within the same scene (sometimes referred to as ‘head-hopping’).

With the possible exception of head-hopping, which often requires substantial re-writing, these errors in technique are usually quite easy to fix at the copy-editing stage.

Full length novels: As a guide, my fee for copy-editing usually falls within the range £6.00 to £8.00 per 1,000 words, depending on the quality and complexity of the writing and the amount of work needed to bring it to a publishable standard. If you accept my quote, I deduct the pre-paid reading fee. I ask for 50% of my fee in advance and the remainder on completion of the work. I also include a final proofreading of the finished manuscript.
Short stories: I charge £30 for copy-editing short stories, i.e. up to 5,000 words.
Proofreading: I offer a proofreading service for publishing-ready manuscript and charge £3.00 per £1,000 words, payable in advance.


About Jo:

JO FIELD was born in Barnstaple and now lives at Instow in North Devon. After leaving the Ilfracombe Grammar School, she went to Bicton College of Agriculture and pursued her dream to be a dairy farmer. She set up and managed high-yielding dairy herds, both in Hampshire and Dyfed, until milk quotas, marriage and children interrupted her career. Jo was a consultant on the Open University Continuing Education programme: Health and Productivity in Dairy Cattle. Later, after gaining a first class honours degree in history, she worked in the Project Control Unit at the OU’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, scheduling and co-ordinating course production for the Open Business School. She also undertook an extensive consultancy in Pakistan, helping to set up a Project Control Unit at the Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad and advising on the creation of self-learning texts.

While at the OU, Jo was trained in copy-editing and proofreading skills at Book House in London. Thereafter she copy-edited course materials for the MBA programme, and tutor training toolkits for Associate Lecturers.

After twelve years with the OU, Jo left to help set up ASK Europe, an independent training consultancy in Milton Keynes, where for seven years she led a team of writers and copy-editors, penning course materials, novellas and scenarios for face-to-face workshops and producing toolkits for distance learning tutors in the UK and Eastern Europe.

On retiring from ASK in 2000, Jo returned to Devon. Since then she has been working as a freelance copy-editor, primarily on works of fiction for both the adult and young adult markets. Her own first novel, Rogues & Rebels, the first of a trilogy about the English Civil War, was published in the UK in 2008 by Callio Press (formerly ‘Discovered Authors’). The sequel, Secrets & Ciphers, is in first draft.