What does line editing service include?

Line editing is one of the processes preparing a manuscript for publication. It involves an editor working line by line through your manuscript to discover the words and rhythm that effectively tell the story and bring out the authentic authorial voice. Line editing aims at effectively communicating the message and story so they are clear and relevant to the target reader. This post discusses the details of what line editing service entails, how long it takes, how much it costs and so much more. 

What is included in the line editing service?

Line editing addresses three essential aspects of every sentence: clarity, tone and vocabulary. As a part of this service, a line editor may flag the following issues:

  • redundant words or sentences that can be tightened without compromising the meaning of the text,
  • repetitions of the same information,
  • ineffective or outdated vocabulary,
  • lack of transitions resulting in abrupt changes in the narration,
  • unintended shifts in tone and pacing,
  • insensitive phrasing that should be instead conveyed accurately and respectfully,
  • wording that reveals bias or stereotyping,
  • digressions that do not contribute to developing the narration or argument,
  • inconsistent style or tone.

How much does the line editing service cost?

The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) estimates $46–50 per hour for line editing for fiction and non-fiction. Editors Canada recommend a range between C$30 and C$100 for line editing service.

How long does line editing take?

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), an hour of line editing can yield 4–8 edited pages. In publishing, a page is usually defined as 250 words. In practice, this means that a book of 50,000 could take a line editor 25–50 hours to complete.

How to find a line editor?

A professional organisation for editors would be the best start when searching for a professional line editor. These associations require their members to undergo regular professional development and abide by the code of practice. For this reason, their members are more likely to provide high-quality and reasonably priced services. Here is a list of the professional editing associations:

What feedback does a line editor provide?

Line editors provide suggestions to improve individual sentences and paragraphs when analysing the text line-by-line. Line editors usually place their feedback in the comments in the text so the author can analyse their notes side-by-side with the text.

When does line editing service take place in the publishing process?

Line editing comes after developmental editing and typically after revisions resulting from developmental editing have been made based on developmental feedback.


Understanding what line editing service comprises may be essential to polishing the manuscript. It refines the clarity, tone and vocabulary of every sentence to engage the target audience. Thus, it may be worth working with a professional line editor.

Contact me for a free sample edit if you want to see line editing in action (and remember to use my early bird discount). If you want to hear more from me, including self-editing and writing tips, follow me on MastodonTwitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or join my newsletter.

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I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).