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“Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on the paper.”
 – Ray Bradbury​



Substantive Editing

What is substantive editing?

Substantive editing includes copyediting, plus an in-depth look at the text's logic and flow. This process is akin to having a writing coach at your service. As the most all-inclusive type of editing, substantive editing requires two edits; one edit will be developmental in nature, and one will fine-tune the work through copyediting. For a fiction writer, a substantive edit will analyze point of view, plot, dialogue, and characterization. I will provide a style sheet for easy reference.​

​Includes the benefits of copyediting plus identifies:

  • Telling -vs- showing

  • Point of view inconsistencies

  • Awkward/confusing organization of sentences and paragraphs 

  • Speedy or slow narrative flow

  • Plot holes and inconsistencies

  • Faulty logic 



What is a substantive edit NOT?


  • A substantive edit is not a surface level inspection of errors.

  • A substantive edit is not a ghostwrite or a manuscript critique.

  • A substantive edit is not a fast process due to its developmental nature.

  • A substantive edit is not the last step before print.  

Please note: After editing and for best practice's sake, your document will still need thorough proofreading for additional mistakes/errors that may have occurred in its new draft. You may purchase this separately if you choose.


How does it work?
  1. You will email me a few pages of your document and include your specifications, any questions you may have, and your timeline.

  2. Assuming a substantive edit is the right stage of the process, I will accept/negotiate your terms and send you a Client Agreement form. After you accept the agreement, I will send an invoice for a 50% deposit fee, which I require to secure our agreement. 

  3. I will read through the document once for an analysis of the big picture. Using Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature, I will make queries, comments, ideas, and suggestions about the work as a whole. I will read the document again with a copyeditor's eye, making additional queries, comments, ideas, and suggestions. We will communicate extensively and I will clarify your confusion, explain changes you may not understand, and defend changes as necessary, coaching you through the writing process. Please view comment boxes below to see the benefits of a substantive edit over a proofread or a copyedit. 


How might a substantive edit look?




How much will substantive editing cost?

Substantive editing is the least inexpensive editing package because it takes extensive time, resources, and editing.  After this process, you will have a high-quality document with solid content and accurate mechanics. The cost of substantive editing ranges from three cents per word ($.03) to three-and-a-half cents per word ($.035) depending on the content of the original document. After I view a sample of the document, I will provide a more specific quote. For a 70,000 word document, the maximum ​cost would be $2450.00. For information on payment information click here.

What can I use a substantive edit for?

  • Websites

  • Fiction manuscripts

  • ​Nonfiction manuscripts

  • ​Marketing material and advertisements

  • ​Essays and research papers

  • Magazine articles


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