Bring out the best in your writing

Proofreading and editing services for South African authors and businesses

You’ve written a book, academic paper, training programme or corporate brochure – and now you want to publish it. But before you do that, you need to have the text edited. The editor is your first critical reader, and as such they will spot all those places where your text fails to shine in the way you intended it to. There are generally three levels of editing:


This is the lightest level of involvement and is suitable for the final check before the text is published. Proofing consists of a check for superficial errors such as misspelled words, missing punctuation, extra paragraph breaks, incorrect formatting and any other gremlins that might have been missed in a full copy edit. A proofread does not include any text improvements – it is simply a process to catch the last little errors before publishing. The proof edit usually happens on a hard-copy printout of the document or on the final typeset draft. A proofread alone, without any other editing, is only recommended if you are a strong writer and have thoroughly checked your text beforehand.

Copy editing

Copy editing is a more intensive process that involves looking at things like writing style, sentence flow, word repetition and overall structure. An edit can involve some rephrasing of passages and reworking of complex sentences to improve readability  or clarity of argument. After the copy edit, the text is returned to you to approve the changes and to attend to any other notes the editor has made. There might be a bit of going back and forth between you and the editor to get particular passages just right.

There are generally three levels of copy editing:

Note that although a copy edit will correct typos and other basic errors, some mistakes will still slip through, and some new ones will probably also be created in the editing and approval process. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you also add a final proofread before publishing.

Editing and proofreading costs

The table below gives some general price ranges for our editing in South African rands. The rate depends on factors such as the size of the project, the quality of the writing, and the turnaround time required. We have a minimum fee of R1800. For international rates, see our author coaching and editing site.

Getting real about the cost of editing

Editing is time-consuming work and a lengthy manuscript can add up to a fair amount. Here are some examples for a light to medium edit (fluent English and capable writing skills) at 30 cents per word:

  • Thesis 45 000 words (without reference checking) @30 c/word: R13,500 (R20,250 with reference/citation cross-checking)
  • Medium length novel/nonfiction 80 000 words @30 c/word: R24,000
  • Company report 50 pages (approx. 300 words/page): R4,500  (This does not include any project management, writing of executive summaries, etc. Assume a higher word rate for that.)

About your editor

Russel Brownlee has been in the business of writing and editing since way back in the early 90s when he started out as a newswriter for SABC radio. Since then he has worked as a magazine sub-editor and an e-learning technical editor, and now works as a freelance writer, editor and life coach.

His love of writing eventually led him to publish an award-winning novel (Garden of the Plagues), which won the Olive Schreiner Prize for debut fiction and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award. More recently he has self-published a nonfiction inspiration book called The Discovery of Causeless Joy, available on Amazon.

The book covers on this page are just some of the books he has either edited, proofed or written.

Get an editing services quote

Russel looks forward to helping you make your novel, thesis or other writing project really shine. Contact him to get a quote on your editing or proofing job.

Read more: How to become an editor or proofreader in South Africa.

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