Editing, Formatting, Cover Design Services by Rick Taubold

(rev. 10/01/20)

The terms for the various types of editing and what they include are not consistent across editing services. I use the following definitions:

PROOFREADING: Refers to final editing prior to publication. This looks for typographical and spelling errors, missing and repeated words, basic grammar errors, missing punctuation, and checks for consistent formatting.

COPYEDITING: Covers spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage errors (words commonly confused, incorrectly used words, wrong word choices), consistency of usage and spelling (capitalization, use of numerals, punctuation styles, character names, and made-up terms).

LINE EDITING (also called SUBSTANTIVE EDITING): Cleans and polishes the manuscript line by line to ensure consistency of writing style, sentence structure, and clean up awkward sentences. Some editors lump this in with COPYEDITING.

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING (also called STRUCTURAL EDITING or CONTENT EDITING): Looks at the manuscript as a whole to assess and fix plot flow, story structure, and the overall writing—what works and what needs work. This may involve the editor doing major revisions or rewriting of the work. This is not a service I offer, and writers who require, or believe they require, this type of service might do better spending their money on writing classes and workshops and getting involved with other writers in critique groups to perfect their craft.

My editing involves a combination of copyediting and limited line editing. I do not believe in forcing a writing style, mine or otherwise, on the author. There are certain conventions that should be adhered to, and I will advise you if I feel that your writing strays from those in such a way as to compromise or jeopardize your intent and reader reception. However, I will respect your choices and decisions. An editor’s job is to make your writing presentable and understandable and to polish and adjust the style for consistency, not rewrite the work or change the story or the author’s voice.

If you do not feel that your manuscript is ready for a final edit and wish to have an evaluation, I also offer an inexpensive critique service to examine and comment on your manuscript and will advise you of changes and revisions I feel are needed. However, if you belong to a critique group and have already received readers’ comments, and you feel comfortable with your manuscript, then you do not need this service. When I review your manuscript, and before I accept it for editing, I will let you know, at no charge, whether it I believe it needs more work on your part.

I charge by word count, not by the hour, which is perhaps less fair to me, but it ensures that you know exactly what it will cost you in the end. This is why I prescreen manuscripts to be sure they are ready for my services.

All services are guaranteed. After I complete the work, if you feel I have not done the job you paid for, I will compensate you or adjust the charges appropriately, or I will redo the work at no charge—at your option.

EDITING RATES (per 1000 words, no hourly rate)

(1) Copyediting (my normal editing process):
Up to 5000 words: $7/1000 (minimum charge $15)
Over 5000 words: $8/1000 ($9/1000 if excessive work needed)
I will advise after reviewing the manuscript, and prior to editing, which rates will apply.

(2) Proofreading (checks only spelling, grammar, and minor issues):
Up to 5000 words: $6/1000 (minimum charge $10)
Over 5000 words: $7/1000, $8/1000 if excessive work needed

(3) Evaluate and comment on writing quality, story flow, readability: $3/1000 words

These rates assume a basic clean-up has been done by the author beforehand, meaning you have looked it over several times and done what you can, rather than delivering a messy first draft riddled with spelling and grammar errors and obvious mistakes. If a piece needs major clean-up work, I may not accept it and may kick it back to you with my advice for revisions, or we can discuss a possible course of action and negotiate a fair rate for the extra work involved.

I check facts and verify anything that does not look right or that I am not sure of. I will watch for basic story continuity elements, comment if I believe you need to make changes, and clean up messy sentences. If I find myself correcting the same sentence issues too often, I may send it back to you to address fix before I continue.

Before I begin the actual editing, I do basic manuscript clean-up to remove junk, like extra spaces, tabs, and general garbage, that may have crept into the manuscript. This is included in the cost of all services. However, if you deliver a messy manuscript that requires significant extra cleanup, this will add $25 to the editing charge. I will let you know if this is the case.

Some advice: After you have completed your manuscript and revised it to your liking, check it for consistent scene breaks and paragraph breaks. Never use tabs or multiple spaces in the manuscript to indent paragraphs or to adjust the appearance. Never use multiple returns (as you had to do with a typewriter) to create a new chapter. Instead, use only first-line indent only to indent paragraphs and a proper Page Break to start a new chapter.

If you plan to produce an e-book, tabs and extra spaces and returns will corrupt the formatting. If you elect to have me format the manuscript as well, I can do that for a nominal charge.


My copyediting service includes the following:

—Look for and fix continuity errors and anomalies to the best of my ability, with no promises that I will catch them all. These are the author’s responsibility. I will try and either correct them or contact you if I have questions on how to resolve the problem. Typical problems include inconsistent spellings of character names or other made-up names.

—Fix punctuation to ensure the manuscript reads as you intend and that the punctuation style is consistent. There are different punctuation styles, and I will try to respect yours as long as it is a clear and consistent one.

—Limited fact checking. I possess a broad knowledge of many subjects and several foreign languages. I will try to catch errors on those subjects within my expertise or things that strike me as possibly incorrect. However, getting the facts right are the author’s responsibility, and unless something raises a flag for me, I may miss it.

—I will not change dialogue except for obvious spelling errors. I will not alter your voice or the characters’ voices. I will consult you with questions and before changing anything I am unsure of.

Notes on the use of copyrighted material in your manuscript: In general, you cannot use quotes or parts of someone else’s copyrighted work in your book without written permission. This especially applies to poetry and song lyrics which, in general you cannot use any part of without permission. In most cases, you may freely use titles of works (unless the title is trademarked, such as Star Trek or Star Wars). Merely citing the work or reference is not sufficient. I will try to give you my best advice, but I am not a lawyer, and any advice I give should not be taken as legal advice.

A free sample edit of 5-10 pages (maximum. about 2500 words) is available so you can see the kind of work I do.

Turnaround time depends on my current workload. Inquire about my current schedule. For book-length manuscripts (50K-150K), expect 3-6 weeks.

No editor is perfect. The more errors and problems that an editor has to correct, the greater the chances of missing some. The more work you put in to refine your writing and to fix mistakes, the greater your chances of having a clean manuscript in the end. Experience has taught me that you almost never catch all the errors, and we have all seen books from commercial traditional publishers with errors in them. Nevertheless, I will do my best.


E-book and print book (either or both combined). This includes setting margins, page, and scene breaks, making the word spacing on a line look decent, and making the manuscript look nice.

without editing job: $50 up to 50k + $10/25k over that

with editing job: $35 up to 50k + $5/25k over that

For more extensive or special formatting (such as textbooks), inquire about rates and whether I am willing to undertake the work.



In most cases, the cost of the cover includes any necessary stock images obtained from royalty-free sites. I will under no circumstances violate owner copyrights and use permissions in obtaining these. If a required image is not available from one of the places I subscribe to or the use requires additional licensing fees, I will inform you of this before I proceed.

Front cover only: $80 (with editing services $40)
Full cover: $100 (with editing services $50)

I prefer to do covers only for those books that I have read or edited because that way I can get a better feel for what would be a suitable cover. If I have not edited or read your book, you will need to provide me enough information about the story to give me a good feel for it. If you have a particular concept in mind, I will do my best to give it to you.

If for any reason I am unable to provide you with an acceptable cover, I will not charge you for the work. While I have done many covers, cover design is not my primary business. I include it because I enjoy it and can do it inexpensively compared to what those who design covers for a living charge. I also adhere to the idea that paying for a high-priced commercial cover designer will not necessarily improve or guarantee increased sales. Book cover design is highly subjective. The opinion of one design expert may not be shared by another. In the end, a book cover’s job is to attract the attention of prospective buyers in your target audience.

Payment is accepted via PayPal or physical check once the project is done and you are satisfied.