Editorial Types, and When You Might Need Them

If you haven’t worked with a tabletop roleplaying game editor or proofreader before, it can be hard to know if you need one. I’m going to break down the types of editorial work I offer and explain when you might need them- and when you don’t! I’ve been working in game editing and proofreading for 5+ years, and I’ve edited Apocalypse Keys and The Zone, and proofread For the Queen, Thirsty Sword Lesbians, and more, and I absolutely love helping designers make their games shine.

This is for game designers who haven’t worked with an editor or proofreader before or who are interested in working with me. It’s not universal advice or processes, just what I do. I bring enthusiasm and an outside perspective, which can be very helpful if you’re stuck or if you want to polish your game or prepare it for print.

Designing a game takes time, and you may never have actually read your game text from start to finish, so the largest part of what I do is ensure consistency. I’ll make sure that move title you changed partway through development is correct throughout, and that every instance of a game term is capitalized. I’ll ask you if you meant for that one playbook to stand out from the others with its XP advancement and I’ll leave emoji comments on my favorite parts.

I’ve included my typical rates as a frame of reference, but they vary based on the actual project, text length, timeline and number of passes. 

Developmental Edit

1-3 passes (each pass is me reading and working on the text, and giving it back to you)

Usually done in a text file. I’ll ask a ton of questions to help you hone in on the exact game you’re trying to make. I’ll bring my experience to give you insight into what other designers and publishers have done. I’ll dive into game mechanics you aren’t sure about. The purpose of this is to get you unstuck and/or set you up with a play-testable version of your game. 

Good for: games early in development, designers who feel stuck, new game designers, designers who want an additional perspective

Not for: games that have been extensively playtested, designers who don’t need outside opinions or perspective

My typical rate: $0.03+ per word

Playtest Edit

1 pass

Usually done in a text file. I review the text for clarity in text, structure, and organization. This is also where I'd add markup tags for importing into your layout program. The goal is to get clear, concise and consistent rules into the hands of playtesters, so you can make the game even better. I don’t review game mechanics on this type of edit. 

Good for: games that are ready to be playtested outside the designer’s circles, games in early to mid-development

Not for: unfinished game drafts, games in late development

My typical rate: $0.04 per word

Line/Copy Edit

2-3 passes

Usually done in a text file, though not always. This type assumes your game is close to final, so I’ll look for text that is unclear or superfluous, and I’ll apply or develop a style guide for bigger projects. The purpose of this is to make your game the best it can be. I don’t review game mechanics with this type of edit. This is the edit where I leave the most comments, questions and hype.

Good for: games in late development, games that will be produced in physical editions, games written by multiple contributors

Not for: games in early to mid-development

My typical rate: $0.05 per word


1 pass 

Usually done in a layout file, I look for grammatical errors, misspellings, and typos. If you have a style guide, I’ll make sure the text conforms to it. The purpose is to do a final polish pass on the game. 

Good for: games about to go to print, short games that didn’t need full line edits

Not for: games with unfinished text

My typical rate: $0.03 per word

Depending on the designer and the game, you may need something in between these options! This list isn't prescriptive or exhaustive- we can work together to find the kind of support you need.

The goal with all types of edits are to help make your game better. I won’t ever criticize you for forgetting to capitalize a word or putting chapters in an order that could be confusing- it’s literally my job to fix that!

To request a quote, please include the following:

If you have any questions or want to talk about your project, email me at jenn at tenpenjenn.com.