Line Editing

“If you have young friends aspiring to become writers, the second-greatest favor you can do is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. —Dorothy Parker, American poet

If you are experiencing symptoms of an exotic illness, you can either go to a general practitioner or to a specialist. The general practitioner will probably take a good look at you and determine what is wrong. If it is nothing major, this doctor might diagnose the disease and make certain that you are whole before you leave the office.

However, if the is something seriously wrong with you, this trained professional will render what experience and a code of ethics demand: a prompt referral to a specialist. In editing, this specialist is the Line Editor and the service performed is called Line Editing. In our editorial model, this specialist is typically recommended by a copy editor or book editor, who has deemed the book to be solid in form and content, where the problem involves style.

A composite, Internet-sourced definition of style describes it as the way a writer writes, and it is the technique that an individual author employs in writing. It is unique to each author and occurs through changes in syntactical structure, parsing prose, dialogue and diction, and organizing figures of thought into usable frameworks… and the choices they make becomes the writer’s individual voice, or niche.

To understand how style reflects an author’s personality, one only has to consider Ernest Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Hemmingway used short, factual sentences and the declarative nature of the words to convey this classic story. And more recently, the seven-epic Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling are a testament to the fact that readers can become addicted to an individual style of writing.

Style represents the difference between a well-written novel that sells a few hundred copies compared to a bestseller that will spawn an entire book series. Editors often encounter writers who are trying so much to write like someone successful or a writer they admire that the work comes across as inarticulate and forced. While it is a good thing to imitate what successful writers do well, developing writers should work hard to cultivate their own voice, or style.

At Parnassus Press, our Line Editing focuses on various elements of style in a manuscript. According to Strunk and White,

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not the writer make all his sentences short, or he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but he make every word tell.
—”Elementary Principles of Composition”, The Elements of Style

We reserve Line Editing for books we believe will be highly successful in sales. Otherwise, it would be a waste of the author’s money and our resources to invest in a project that does not return the investment.

Line Editor’s Assessment

Thus upon the recommendation of one of our copy editors, or at a copy-editor-approved-author’s-request, a professional editor who specializes on elements of style, will spend four hours, analyzing your manuscript (focusing on the first 100 pages) for ways to improve voice and stylistic elements.

This editor will produce a 3-6 page LER (Line Editor Recommendations) including (though not limited to) the following areas:

  • Paragraphs
  • Active Voice
  • Positive Form
  • Omitting Needless Words
  • Loose Sentences
  • Terseness
  • Sentence Structure
  • Overall Style

If you are going to make use of your own resources, the least you can do is provide that incredible individual  with specific instructions detailing what needs to be done to make your viable manuscript publishable.

So if you simply cannot afford Line Editing (it can be expensive) or you have a resource with a good writing/English grammar background, your next best option is investing $300 for the Line Editor’s Recommendations.

After you receive the LER (Line Editor’s Recommendations) for your manuscript, give yourself or your resource a minimum of forty-five days to thoroughly work through the book, making necessary changes, whether they involve clichés, wordiness, passive voice, awkward sentences, or whatever is detailed in the line editor’s recommendations, and only then will it be ready for initial submission or re-submission.

Preferably, if you cannot afford full Line Editing, it is best for you to purchase the LER to make your manuscript the best it can be before you submit to any publisher.

Our price for Line Editor’s Recommendations is $300 total, which pays a professional line editor for four hours of manuscript analysis for books of any size, with the primary focus on the first one hundred pages (about 50% less than the amount that most editorial service providers charge for a similar service).

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Pay for your LER (Line Editor’s Recommendations) through PayPal!

If you have questions or comments regarding our Line Editing services, please share them in the form below.

Line Editing—The Full Package

The Line Editing Full Package pays for the work of a professional Line Editor to Line Edit (edit/correct your entire manuscript, with tracking and with approval for changes provided in the edited document ). Depending on the level of work required, it can be exhaustive, requiring twenty to thirty hours of a professional editor’s efforts.

If you are a serious writer and you want to go the LER route and spend the time doing the work yourself, you will save yourself the money. Plan in advance to spend 3-4 weeks in this endeavor alone, but if you want the work to be done by one of our Line Editors, it is important to give us two weeks advance notice.

Our price for Line Editing is $0.025 per word, which is about 30% less than the amount that  line editors typically charge. You can determine the price for copy editing your manuscript by multiplying the total word count of your manuscript by .025. On the calculator below, you can do the math.

At Parnassus Press, we give special attention and may apply additional discounts to authors and publishers who are our partners. Because we are a small editorial department, our typical turnaround time for Line Editting an 80,000 word manuscript is ten days. Payment terms are 50% up-front and 50% upon delivery.

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