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#EditingWeek: What’s the Big Deal with Editing?

So, you’re ready to submit your manuscript to an editor but have no idea what type of editing your book needs, or whether you should hire an editor or not. Well, you’ve come to the right place! 

There are 4 different types of editing: developmental editing, content editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Depending on the status of your manuscript, will depend on what type of editing you’ll need to get your book one-step closer to being published. 

What are the differences between each type?

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of editing services available for authors:

  1. Developmental Editing: This is the earliest stage of editing and most popular for fiction novels. The editor will look at the author’s manuscript as a whole (e.g., plot, structure, characterization) and examine story structure and elements. This will include examining whether the story makes sense, determining if chapters need to be removed or reorganized, and deciding whether ideas need to be elaborated.
  2. Content Editing: The editor will go deeper into the manuscript and focus on the readability, pace (flow), and the character’s voice. This will include examining the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses relevant to engaging the target audience and determining if the characters are relatable. The editor will focus on improving clarity and readability to ensure consistency between paragraphs and sections so that the book flows.
  3. Copy Editing: This is the more technical side of editing, or in other words, detailed proofreading. The editor will focus on the grammar and correctness of the text (e.g., spelling and punctuation) and highlight potential wordiness and redundancy issues. This will include examining the word choice of specific words to ensure each word has its intended impact. Also, the editor focuses on the writer’s sharpness by enhancing the quality of sentences or rephrasing ideas to improve flow.
  4. Proofreading: This is the most general type of editing and only focuses on grammatical errors, language rules, typos, or punctuation errors. Many authors hire a proofreader after an editor has already reviewed their work. Typically, after proofreading, the author will be ready to submit their manuscript for formatting.

Which one do I sign up for?

Now that you’re familiar with the differences between each type, which one is right for you? Should I sign up for more than one?

Editing typically charges per word, and the more types of editing you sign up for, the more expensive it gets per word. The per word rate ranges from as low as a cent a word to as high as a dime per word. So, depending on the size of your manuscript and your budget, it could be determining factors in your decision.

Which is the most popular?

The most popular type of editing service is combining content and copy editing, followed by a round of proofreading by a different editor. I will get into why authors choose a different editor to proofread their work in a future post. 

If you only sign up for proofreading, the revisions will be exclusive to typos and grammatical errors. Thus, proofreading does not address common issues like clarity, flow, and wordiness, which content and copy editing targets. Having a manuscript free of grammar and spelling mistakes is great, but if it doesn’t read well, your readers will struggle to find clarity with your work. 

For non-fiction books, oftentimes, authors become repetitive, ramble, or go around in circles when explaining concepts in their writing. Content and copy editing can catch these mistakes and improve the overall flow of your entire manuscript. 

Authors tend to lack variety in descriptive words for fiction books, making their story sound repetitive; copy editing can catch these issues. Further, the pace in a novel is extremely important for readability, and content editing will examine each chapter’s development between scenes. 

Combining the benefits of content and copy editing will greatly improve the quality of your manuscript. Consider these two editing services when you’re ready to look for an editor.

Do I even need an editor?

Your book represents you and every author deserves to attach quality to their name. I will go into more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an editor in a future post. 

Your book represents you, and every author deserves to attach quality to their name. I will detail the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an editor in a future post. 

If you are considering editing services for your book, feel free to contact me for more details on fees. For developmental, content, and copy editing, I offer a 500-word free sample edit for your work to help you decide if I’m the right editor for you.

Editing is a crucial step in self-publishing. Even if it’s not within your budget, I highly suggest that you ask a family member or close friend to review your work at least once before publishing. You’ll be surprised at all the silly mistakes someone may find, even though you double-checked your work.

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