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. As writers, we tend to think that our own skills are enough to make sure our text is free of errors – but that’s where we’re wrong. With all the love and effort we’ve put into creating the content, our minds have become blind to the errors that our readers will surely find.

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. The copy edit is often done with Word’s Track Changes feature activated so you can see exactly what has been changed.

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.

Content and developmental editing

Content editing looks not only at the text but at the content itself. The editor looks at the logical argument being expressed or the story being told and assesses whether it all fits together and works as intended. If not, the content editor will rephrase and rework sections of text, and might recommend that the author provide new text to fill in any gaps.

Developmental editing is similar to content editing (at least in my taxonomy), but it extends the role of the editor to that of a writing coach or adviser. Here, the editor will be involved much earlier in the writing process and will help the writer with things like book structure, logical argument, plot outline and character development.

Editing and proofreading costs

The table below gives some general price ranges for my 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. Contact me with a sample of your text or any other details you have and I’ll get back to you with a quote. There is a minimum fee of R1500 ($130).

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 a quote

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