Editing | Tellwell Publishing

Editing brings fresh eyes and an objective perspective to your composition. It looks for sense, logic, believability, and meaning. It tests consistency and improves your writing. It interrogates the content and structure of your manuscript and examines the details at the word and punctuation level. It pushes you to improve and helps you to develop a discerning eye. It adds value and quality to a manuscript. The purpose of editing is twofold: it allows your meaning to come across clearly and builds essential trust with your readers.

Why do you need professional editing?


It lets your work shine its brightest.


It is a vital part of publishing and shows you take yourself and your writing seriously.


To build and maintain trust with your audience.


To help avoid negative reviews that focus on superficial errors.


Your competition is not everyone else who is publishing a book—it's everyone who's doing it well.

Choose the right editing services for you

Editorial Evaluation

from £350.00

Turnaround time: 2–4 weeks per round (wordcount dependent)

    • Your editor will appraise your manuscript and provide professional and high-level feedback
    • The editor does not make any changes or suggestions to the manuscript in this service; rather, they will compose a report tailored to your book and its unique needs—think of it as a personalised writing guide.
    • Depending on your book's genre and content, the editor will address elements such as what's working well, areas of opportunity, narrative structure, force of prose, character development, logic and meaning, pacing, setting, target audience, as well as any possible next steps and further recommendations.

Copy Editing

£0.014 /word

Turnaround time: 2–4 weeks per round (wordcount dependent)

    • The editor will work with your manuscript once to address errors and polish language at the sentence and word level. Once the round is complete, it returns to the author to revise and prepare for interior layout.
    • Your editor will make changes to correct errors in grammar (like misplaced modifiers), punctuation (like comma splices), spelling (like typos), and usage (like incorrect idioms or unintentional puns).
    • This may include cross-checking, fact-checking, and querying any factual inconsistencies or general information that should be revisited or otherwise verified.
    • All manuscripts should adhere to a consistently applied editorial style; the editor will track and apply styling (such as regional spellings), noting this in a custom style sheet.
    • This is a multipage resource that includes a letter from your editor, a list of editorial style decisions applied to your book, a custom word list to ensure accuracy and consistency, as well as links to helpful resources. It is meant as a tool to assist you with your revisions, as well as to answer any questions you may have as to why the editor may have made certain recommendations.

Substantive Editing

£0.027 /word

Turnaround time: 2–4 weeks per round (wordcount dependent)

    • This mirrors the editing process in traditional publishing environments, allowing for some back-and-forth. Between rounds, the author spends time revising the manuscript according to their editor's suggestions before resubmitting for round two.
    • Cover your bases with this service, and benefit from your editor becoming familiar with your work over two rounds of editing.
    • In this first round, the editor assesses the overall organisation of the content to determine its suitability for the book's purpose. Then they will make suggestions for reorganisation to achieve optimum sequencing, logical progression of ideas, and better flow. They will make recommendations to remove content (such as repetitive or irrelevant material), or to add content (such as strengthening transitions between sections). Here, they may also flag any areas of concern, such as required permissions. This round examines overall clarity, coherence, and language use.
    • After the author revises the manuscript, the editor will perform a copy edit to address grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage, as well as fact-checking and the application of a consistent style.
    • A multipage resource that includes a letter from your editor, a list of editorial style decisions applied to your book, a custom word list to ensure accuracy and consistency, and links to helpful resources. It is meant as a tool to assist you with your revisions, and to answer any questions you may have as to why your editor made certain recommendations.


£0.010 /word

Add-on to substantive or copy editing

    • Proofreading follows the design process, so the work takes place not in the Word document you submit, but on the PDF print proof created by your book designer. The purpose is to catch any remaining errors that may have snuck through, as well as any design anomalies (like missing page numbers) that may have crept into the final format.
    • While many editors are also highly accomplished proofreaders, Tellwell recognises an inherent difference in the skill set required to proofread a fully laid-out print-ready file. Our dedicated proofreaders have extensive experience in combing a text for design anomalies, typos, and objective errors. They perform a last-minute fix to eliminate potential embarrassment and ensure a clean and polished book.
    • Our proofreaders have a mastery of design and production processes, and know the difference between editorial intervention and checking for errors in textual and visual elements. For example, the proofreader won't call into question a turn of phrase or choice in diction; rather, they will ensure that every page is visually consistent, flagging egregious errors but refraining from undertaking structural, stylistic, or copy-editing tasks.

Why trust Tellwell to edit your book?

Encouraging and supportive

We understand that having your writing scrutinised can be daunting. That's why we take a supportive and diplomatic approach, offering expert advice and encouragement while highlighting what's working and examining what's not. We see the author-editor relationship as a partnership, where our editors work with our authors for their readers.

Sourced, curated, and trusted

Searching for a qualified professional you can trust can be a tedious process of trial and error. Our team consists of highly specialised editors with a staggering amount of combined experience across all genres. We have a diverse and engaged international team based in the UK, the US, Canada, and New Zealand, and they're among the best in the industry.

Expert knowledge

Our team has a wealth of experience and a comprehensive knowledge of the publishing process: market and audience, elements of design and print production, research techniques, and how to calibrate an edit to meet each manuscript's unique needs.

Impeccable standards

Not only do our editors value quality above all else, but they've also undergone a rigorous pre-screening, testing, interview, and onboarding process to ensure that they're the perfect fit for Tellwell authors, and meet the criteria set out in the national editors' association's Professional Editing Standards. All edits are evaluated in-house for quality, and the team receives ongoing performance reviews and training.

Set up for success

Professional editing gives your published book a leg-up once it's out in the world. It helps to build and maintain your credibility as an author and trust between you and your readers.

Complete control

While the editor's mandate is to provide you with sound editorial advice, they take care to maintain your unique voice and style, and the final say on all composition decisions remains with you.

Our process

Tellwell's editing process follows industry standards, such as using Microsoft Word's Track Changes function to show you each tweak, question, or query your editor suggests. Before your service commences, you complete a questionnaire that will serve as a brief for your editor. This gives you the opportunity to express your hopes and desires for the editing process, and sets the editor up for success by providing them with background information and areas of focus to help them tailor the edit to fit your unique needs.

All edits (excluding the editorial evaluation report) are accompanied by a personalised style sheet created by your editor for your manuscript. This includes a letter from your editor, links to resources that you may find helpful during your revision process, and a guide to styling the text.

Tellwell editors strive to help you make your book the very best it can be, but that doesn't mean you'll agree with every edit—our editors make suggestions based on their expertise, but ultimately it's up to you which to accept. They are your greatest champions, and are eager to work with you to deliver your readers the finest expression of your writing.


Frequently asked questions

Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection, which gives the owner of an original creative work the right to prevent others from reproducing or copying a substantial part of it.

A book, or an idea for a book, is protected by copyright laws as soon as it is ‘fixed in a material form’. In other words, as soon as you have typed up the first draft of your manuscript, it is protected by copyright, and you do not need to officially register your book for copyright protection. In many countries, such as the UK and Australia, there is no national copyright registry.

If you would like your book registered for copyright in Canada or the US, you may either register the book yourself through the following links, or Tellwell can do this on your behalf. For current fees, please reach out to support@tellwell.ca.

Every book you have ever loved has undergone a rigorous editing process. In traditional publishing, all books undergo multiple rounds of editorial scrutiny, even those by the most highly regarded writers. Editing improves your manuscript by polishing the writing and correcting errors, raising your confidence in releasing the finished product into the world.

Purchasing editorial services at the outset has an impact not only on your writing, but also on the marketability of your published book, the level to which readers will engage with it, and your credibility as a published author.

Editing brings fresh eyes and an objective new perspective. It looks for sense, logic, believability and meaning. It tests consistency, and ultimately improves your writing. It interrogates the overall content and structure, and examines the details at the word and punctuation level. It adds value and quality to a manuscript.

There is an unwritten contract between the author and the reader, a trust that is intact when a book is purchased, picked up, and opened. Leaving your book unedited is a surefire way to break that contract; it doesn't take many typos and errors to dissolve an author's credibility. Over the long term, it helps sharpen your eye and hone your skills as a writer and self-critic. If you choose editing for this book, the quality of your writing will improve for the next.

Track Changes is a feature in Microsoft Word used by editors when making comments, queries, suggestions, insertions, and deletions within your working manuscript. The edit is done in this way so that you can open up your edited manuscript and see exactly what changes have been made. You can then decide whether to accept or reject each change. Before submitting your revised manuscript for design, it should be clear of all editorial markup, meaning that all changes have been addressed by accepting or rejecting them.

Your editor will help you improve your book, although it's important to understand that this will be done with your involvement. As the author of your book, you retain the final say as to the content and condition of your manuscript, and as the publisher, you are accountable in the end for what's between the covers. The editor makes edits, comments, queries, and suggestions throughout your manuscript, and when it's returned to you for revisions it is up to you to accept or reject each edit, and to revise or not revise as you see fit. Microsoft Word also provides a function in Track Changes by which you can accept all of the changes without reviewing them.

It's important to understand that editing focuses on language, which is highly nuanced, and editors are, of course, human. There is an accepted industry standard for a 5–10% margin of error per editing round, and a higher level of accuracy is achieved with each round of editing. This also means that the better the condition of your manuscript when you submit it, the better it will be once your editing services have been completed.

All of the timelines in our publishing process are estimations, and since all manuscripts vary greatly, so too can the turnaround. Our editors always do their best to work within the required timeframe (generally two to three weeks per round of editing, depending on the word count), and we aim to be as expedient and efficient as possible. That said, we also value quality above all else, and editing is a service that can be compromised when not given the time it requires; it is by nature careful, cautious, and measured. Due to the depth, breadth, and/or complexity of a manuscript, editing services may be completed before the deadline or, in some cases, shortly after. Your project manager will let you know if there are any changes to your expected timeline.

The rest of the timing for editing hinges upon the time you take with your revisions. This refers to the time between editing rounds, or between editing and interior layout, during which you review the editor's suggestions and make any necessary revisions to the manuscript before submitting.

Our team comprises highly talented editors based across the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Our English editors are native English speakers, and our French editors are native French speakers.

The editing department is overseen by Tellwell's managing editor, who has a master's degree in publishing and editing, and over fifteen years' experience in book editing—she has edited everything from cookbooks, fiction, children's books, and travel guides, to poetry, academic texts, celebrity memoirs and sports biographies. Together with our lead editor she ensures that all potential editing candidates are heavily evaluated based on their education, accreditation, and book-editing experience; a highly detailed editing test; and an interview process. All edits are closely reviewed by senior editing staff to ensure they adhere to the national editors' association's Professional Editorial Standards. Tellwell works to ensure that all editors have access to any professional development materials and editorial resources they may need, and fosters lively, ongoing team discussions about the evolution of the field, including any editorial standards that may be in flux—language, after all, is in constant evolution, and we work to help our editors feel confident as leaders their field.

The crafts of writing and editing are very different, and they require unique skill sets. Not all good writers are good editors, and vice versa, but both arts are essential to the other. In a nutshell, it is the job of the editor to support the writer's vision, writing style, and overall story so that the work comes out as clear and polished as possible, much in the same way a theatre director makes sure the intentions of the playwright are communicated pristinely to the audience.

The most common misconception of the editor's job is that they rewrite the author's language, turning it into their own project and changing the author's intent. This could not be further from the truth; in fact, the editor's job is exactly the opposite: to champion the author's intentions by tuning in to their unique voice and style to make sure the book is consistent and clear; catching any inadvertent grammatical mistakes, or areas where the writing is not clearly supporting the overall story; and suggesting alternative ways of phrasing within the author's own style.

For example, editors are there to catch inconsistencies in dates, times, spelling (especially with proper nouns like character names), and story details, like making sure hair colour, or job, or family members, or characters' ages, or time of day (etc.) don't accidentally change throughout the story. They will also consider the big picture of the story, and if necessary suggest ways to make it flow more efficiently. Perhaps there is a character introduced to the piece who ends up without any effect on the overall plot … a good editor may suggest that this character be removed, or given an integral role in moving the story along.

We as authors inevitably become intimately involved with our story and our characters, and it is helpful and highly recommended to engage a professional with your best interests in mind to support your work to make it the best, most marketable book it can be. Remember that every book you have ever read has gone through a rigorous editing process, and all your favourite authors will testify to how much they rely on their editors to help them do their best work.

Your editor is first and foremost your teammate and head cheerleader, and wants your voice and expression to be the cleanest and clearest they can be. The author-editor relationship is one of the most important aspects of your publishing process, and here at Tellwell we take that responsibility seriously, and with the utmost care. We are very grateful that you place your trust in us, and absolutely love being a part of making your publishing dreams come true.