Line Editing

A high-level polishing edit to bring out the best in your narrative voice

Line editing tends to be misunderstood and underappreciated, but a careful line edit can be the difference between a good manuscript and a great manuscript, because its focus is on bringing out the best in the author’s voice and making the writing shine.

It falls between developmental editing (which is about the story) and copy editing (which is about correctness), so it’s often confused with both, but line editing is its own entity. Line editing represents the highest level of the editor’s craft; any suggested additions are made in the author’s voice, not the editor’s.

All editing is done electronically using Microsoft Word’s “track changes” feature, which allows you to accept, modify, or reject all suggested edits. We provide both clean, as-edited copy and the tracked version, which shows what’s been cut, inserted, or modified.

A line edit will, among many other things, accomplish the following:

  • sharpen description
  • control proportion and pacing
  • eliminate clichés
  • improve strained literary effect
  • give dialogue more snap and bite
  • eliminate repetition
  • tighten narrative flow
  • improve awkward wording

While the primary objective is hands-on polishing, line editing can also include notes in margins to explain changes, illustrate points of craft, or pass along ideas to push a scene further or make an approach to something work better. So a line edit not only improves the manuscript being worked on—it also serves as a teaching tool that helps take your writing and self-editing to the next level, making the service a worthwhile investment for any writer.

Jonathan Balcombe
Favorite genres include science, nature, history, memoir, social sciences, travel, and narrative nonfiction
Renni Browne
Favorite genres include memoir, southern fiction, mystery/suspense, character driven literary and mainstream fiction
Peter Gelfan
Favorite genres include memoir, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, humor and satire, thrillers, science, and philosophy
John Robert Marlow
Favorite genres include thrillers, mystery/suspense, action/adventure, middle grade and YA fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and true crime
Julie Miller
Favorite genres include memoir, literary fiction, thrillers, and books involving ecology, nature, animals, and the environment
Shannon Roberts
Favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, YA fiction, middle grade fiction, mystery/suspense, LGBTQ, and social science
Diane Stockwell

Favorite genres include memoir, history, politics, science, true crime, women's fiction, mainstream fiction, and historical fiction

Varies considerably based on the scope and depth of the editing and coaching notes required, but typical line editing charges fall between $.02 and $.07 per word.

Request A Quote

Varies based on length of material to be edited, but usually no more than 8 weeks for a complete manuscript.

To request a quote, make a submission, or request more information

Please visit our online welcome center, email us at, or call us at (520) 546-9992.

What happens next?

All inquiries to The Editorial Department will be personally fielded by author services director Ross Browne, who will do the following:

  • confirm receipt of your materials
  • gather any further information needed
  • do a no-cost/no-obligation preliminary review, to get a feel for which editor(s) and service(s) best fit your project’s needs
  • provide a written quote with price and turnaround time for any recommended services
  • answer any questions about recommended options or possible alternatives
  • schedule your project with the assigned editor, if you decide to move forward
  • explain and finalize the appropriate billing arrangements
  • provide a firm delivery date and keep you updated on our progress, as appropriate
  • deliver your feedback or editing to you once it’s ready
  • arrange for follow up with your editor by phone or email, once you have reviewed your feedback and/or editing
  • advise on next steps, and schedule reviews of new drafts if requested

Privacy & Confidentiality

We have utmost respect for our clients’ privacy concerns and will never sell, share, or disseminate your contact information. We will treat all materials supplied to us as confidential.

Formal nondisclosure agreements are not required but are available on request. More info is available here.

“The surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by being specific, definite and concrete.”

William  Strunk