Editorial Services

The priority is to provide you with timely, thorough and encouraging feedback on your work. The approach is focussed on courteous, constructive critique to make your personal style as strong as it can be to deliver the story you’re burning to tell.

In practice, what this means is:

  1. Bowler Fern will not edit on the basis of writing fads. For example, if you have a love of adverbs, then this will be respected. We would tame them where they’re conspicuous, redundant or intrusive, but they would not be stripped out as a matter of principle.
  2. You will be told what you’re doing right, as well as what needs further work. Positive feedback is just as important to the editing process as the focus on work yet to be done. You can’t replicate your strongest writing if you’re not told where your best writing occurs.
  3. Bowler Fern will be detailed in explaining where we find problems (and why), and provide options for addressing those issues.

Bowler Fern Editorial is ideal for the unhurried author. Effectively, by working with BF Editorial, you will be exchanging a fast turnaround in favour of a less prohibitive cost. The pricing schedule can be seen here. Bowler Fern has many returning clients. Repeat custom is highly valued, and this is reflected in a discount on the price.

Realistically, it is very unusual for clients choosing the longer turnaround options to be waiting that long to receive their completed edit. The generous time frames allow your editor to overlap jobs while still giving full attention to each project.

Bowler Fern Editorial’s key services

All line edits and proofs are carried out in Microsoft Word, using the tracked changes tool.

Standard proof-read

This is a proof on the final version of your document, and will simply amend any outstanding spelling, punctuation, grammatical, typographical or format errors. You will receive a ‘clean’ copy of the manuscript (MS) along with the proofed original.

Line-editing service

The Bowler Fern line-editing service combines copy-editing (tightening and correcting the language as appropriate) with detailed notes on the delivery of the story itself, such as:

  • Consistency issues (red scarf on page 22, green scarf on 24)
  • Repetitions and redundancies
  • Dialogue format, voice and realism
  • Pacing and proportionality
  • Character credibility on a micro level

Reedsy classifies the latter commentary as part of a developmental editing process. Effectively, you’re getting two services in one go with the line-edit.

With your line edit, you also receive:

  • A ‘clean’ copy of the edited document, which shows you how the MS looks if all the tracked changes are accepted.
  • The chapter summary, which sets out key events and provides a commentary on any issues that arise concerning pacing, consistency, or any areas of confusion.

Your clean copy doesn’t commit you to anything. It’s simply a means of reading through the end result of the recommended edit more quickly and easily, perhaps as a cross-referencing document. Tracked changes can be tiring to follow in long documents.

Many clients have found it helpful to use their clean copy as the starting point for their next draft.

The line-editing service is ideal for you if you are comfortable with the shape of your novel, and you’re committed to the characters as they stand.

The Editorial Assessment

The editorial assessment is a critique document which covers the global issues of your manuscript in the following areas:

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Pacing, proportionality and flow
  • Perspective management
  • Credibility and suspension of disbelief
  • Dialogue
  • Recurring issues of grammar or punctuation

This document provides a critique of the shape and standard of the overall story and its component parts. Where problems are identified, we will explain why we feel that an adjustment is called for, and set out a series of options for addressing the issue. The idea is to help you to create the strongest version of your story.

Depending on the amount of revision we consider necessary, this document could be anywhere between twelve and thirty pages long.

The full Critique

With the full critique, you receive:

  • The editorial assessment
  • The line edit
  • A chapter summary (because this is much easier to read than tiny font in the margin)
  • The ‘clean’ copy showing how the manuscript would look if all the recommended tracked changes were to be made.

You can choose whether you want the entire package delivered together, or whether you prefer to receive the editorial assessment first, and then return for the line-editing process. Whatever your preference, you will still be charged the discounted price of taking the editorial assessment and line-editing services together.

Bonus service: Anglicisation

This is a cultural edit of manuscripts written by non-Brits, featuring British characters and settings. This service helps to ensure authenticity in the following areas:

  • Settings and environment (road layout; topography; housing)
  • Demography and possessions (Vauxhall rather than Opus; car make appropriate to income, and so on)
  • Legal and social culture (right-hand driving, legal drinking age, criminal offences, and so on)
  • Dialect, accent and slang
  • Punctuation, where appropriate.

The cultural edit will not include proofing: it purely addresses cultural points of disparity. We will, of course, provide positive feedback on parts which are moving, funny, or otherwise powerful. Positive feedback is good for the soul.

Note: If you’ve specified your request to be edited in UK English at the point of submitting your manuscript for a line edit or editorial assessment, then the cultural aspects will of course be examined within those packages.

Contact us to discuss services or samples:

enquiries@bowlerfern.co.uk