Rewriting and Substantive Editing (Non-Fiction)


SomeRSE_-_716511301.jpg content requires more than just a quick copy-edit....

This course, which combines practical exercises with group discussion, will help you assess and improve such texts efficiently and effectively. 

You'll work on your own, in pairs and as a group to analyse the stylistic problems of different types of text, look at a range of solutions and adjust presentation and construction to guarantee effective communication.

The result? New skills and techniques that you can use to tackle future problems.

Please note that almost all the example texts are drawn from non-fiction or educational publishing; this course is unlikley to meet the needs of someone who works exclusively on fiction. 

Who will benefit from this course?

Editorial staff and freelancers who are comfortable with the basic copy-editing process but who want to extend their skills or who need to rewrite text.



Enrol on this course

Learn how to…

  • assess and explain why a piece of writing doesn’t work
  • develop and present strategies for improving pieces of writing
  • adjust the level and tone of a piece of writing
  • apply the techniques learnt to any text to enhance its accessibility and sense.

This course contributes to PUB 14 and PUB 19 of the Book & Journal Publishing National Occupational Standards.


  • Identifying problems and considering solutions
  • Assessing message, medium and audience
  • When sentence construction breeds confusion
  • Adjusting the level of a piece of rewriting
  • Clarifying the message of a text
  • Maintaining the author's voice
  • Pros and cons of bullet points
  • Approaches to cutting text
  • Editing text written in English as a second language
  • Considering jargon and specialist vocabulary
  • Final discussion and queries


Course Director

Andrew Steeds

Venue information

Our short courses are run at a variety of venues in Central London. Information and directions can be found on our Contact Us page. Please check your Joining Instructions for your specific course venue.

Note that most of our short courses can also be run as In-Company events.

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Please read our Terms & Conditions
A one-day course


  • 20 November 2019


A number of discounts are available

Delegate feedback:

“I really enjoyed the course. A very nice atmosphere, good discussions, and we covered a lot of ground in one day. I'll be giving a training session on report writing next week and will be able to share much of the insight I gained.”

Communications Specialist, The Global Fund, November 2018

“I cannot suggest any improvements, I think the tutor was absolutely brilliant and covered many topics in one day! I can see things more clearly in my head when I read a text, I immediately analyse what is relevant and what is not.”

BSAVA delegate, November 2018

“I enjoyed it all. It confirmed that I'm on the right track, not having any formal training in copy-editing.”

Freelance Editor, November 2018

“It was a very well-structured course run by an enthusiastic, engaged professional. The exercises helped us stay focused through the day and I feel like I have learned different techniques for approaching passages of writing that might need revision.”

Chartered Insurance delegate, November 2018

“The course was excellent and perfect for those working in non-fiction/professional publishing. Andrew Steeds is a brilliant teacher!”

Kogan Page delegate, November 2018

"This course was excellent, I like the content, the teacher's style and the fact that it was very interactive."
ESMO delegate, 2017

"Learning that cutting chunks of text rather than editing throughout can be quicker and keep the author happy was really useful. The section on bullets was also very interesting and not something that has been addressed in other writing courses I have been on."
OUP delegate, 2017

"This course is exactly as described, if you want to understand how to change text without upsetting your author this is the course for you."
Freelance Editorial Consultant delegate, 2017

"The tutor, venue and food were all excellent."
Jolly Learning delegate

"There was just the right amount of theory and practice to make it interesting and interactive."
Discovery London delegate

"Teaching style was very informative and relaxed and the opportunity to discuss topics with industry colleagues was very helpful."
Cambridge University Press delegate

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Copyright © 2014 - 2019 The Publishing Training Centre, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR
The Publishing Training Centre is a registered charity. Registered name: The Publishing Training Centre Foundation, a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales.
Registration number: 1253854. Registered office: 16 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BX. Tel: +44 (0)20 8874 2718