Well, the simple answer is yes…and no.
For those readers who aren’t familiar with boxing, the sport involves two opponents dueling with their fists with a referee that oversees a series of 1-3 minute intervals called rounds. A winner is declared before completing a round if the referee deems an opponent is incapable of continuing. Official boxing rules allow for a maximum of 12 rounds in a boxing match.
So, if we were to compare boxing and editing loosely, they surprisingly relate. Editors are like the referee who oversees each round of editing. Think of each type of editing as a round, and rather than 1-3 minute intervals, the timeframe of a round of editing is dependent on the editor’s reading speed. You are not restricted to the number of times you require editing on your manuscript, but typically, one read-through of your full manuscript would equate to one round.
Without any analogies, what are editing rounds?
If you sign up for more than one type of editing, each type is considered a round. This means that if you sign up for content and copy editing, for example, the editor will review your manuscript for round 1 (content editing) first before performing the next read-through for copy editing (round 2).
Typically, editors perform one editing service at a time, so a round is defined as each time an editor will return your manuscript with revisions. However, as editors become more qualified and adapt stronger multitasking capabilities, editors are beginning to offer editing services simultaneously to speed up the editing process. Thus, clients now have the option to request each editing type as a separate round, or to have all editing types they’ve signed up for completed in one go.
What's better? Simultaneous or separate?
Good editors can perform all editing tasks simultaneously. As they read through your manuscript, they consider your text’s development, word choice, flow, and consistency while catching typos and grammatical/punctuation errors. However, it can sometimes be overwhelming to the writer to receive a document that is marked up almost line-by-line. Thus, some writers prefer taking each type of editing as a separate round to focus on one aspect of writing at a time.
The biggest advantage of editing as separate rounds is that if your manuscript requires major revisions, you may have the option for the editor to look over your revised text because they haven’t finished with your manuscript yet.
Though, it’s becoming increasingly common for writers to submit their manuscripts very close to their expected publication date (less than 1 month away from their launch date), meaning that simultaneous editing would be the best option to accommodate their release schedule. Also, some writers prefer receiving all the revisions all at once to review and revise in one sitting instead of multiple back and forth transactions.
In the end, whether you decide on simultaneous or separate editing rounds, the quality should be the same. The biggest difference is turnaround time and personal preference.
Are there any in-between options?
For the editing services I provide, I give writers the option of both simultaneous or separate editing rounds. However, I offer one in-between option for writers who sign up for all 3 types of editing.
Since developmental editing typically has the highest chance of rewriting large sections of your book, this type of editing is often suggested to be done separately. However, content and copy editing usually go hand-in-hand, so performing those simultaneously is best. Further, if you did require to rewrite large sections of your book, the editor would be reading those new sections when they perform content and copy editing, which would be advantageous for you because you’ll get a second pair of eyes reviewing your newly written work.
If you are considering editing services for your book, feel free to contact me to discuss all available options.