Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
Back to Blog
You've finished writing your book.
You've written it, changed it, edited it yourself, and re-read it.
If you want to get your book published, the work doesn't end there, especially if you plan to self-publish.
After all your hard work, it's time to have it edited by a pro. Editors don't just use a digital red pen to mark up your manuscript. We are a neutral third party, a new set of eyes that can help you polish your manuscript.
But where do you begin? What kind of editing do you know you need?
Cliffnotes of the Editing Process
Editing usually goes like this:
1) Your editor will do story-level edits.
2) Once you get the manuscript, you will make changes to the story.
3) Your editor will do language-level editing.
4) Once you get the manuscript back again, you will make changes to the language.
5) Your proofreader will do the proofreading for you.
6) Your proofreader will do the proofreading for you.
7) Starting with the big structural changes—the ones that affect the story as a whole—is about being efficient.
It might not seem like the best way to edit a manuscript to separate each step, but it's the best way to do it.
When you edit at the story level, you'll make big changes even if you're not rewriting the whole thing.
When you rewrite chapters and make changes, you add new words that need to be checked for spelling and grammar.
When editing at the story level, that doesn't mean you can't fix typos and change words and sentences as you go. When your story's being edited at the story level, typos will definitely be fixed. But a full copyedit shouldn't be done until the story is pretty much done.
In the long run, it will save you time and money to separate these steps. So let's break down what each of these steps are in detail
Developmental or Story-Level Edits
Developmental editing is a deep look at your story's plot, characters, pacing, worldbuilding and setting, themes, and overall manuscript development. This kind of editing usually includes comments and suggestions in your manuscript file as well as an editorial write-up.
This type of editing is subdivided into to distinct types: line editing and copyediting.
In general, copyediting is the process of checking things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The goal is to fix mistakes and make the text easier to read.
Line editing is a deeper dive. It's more about style and flow, so it's more subjective(which is why you should always request a sample from an editor to determine fit before committing to a doing a full story with him or her). Line editing looks at the tone of different parts, how one sentence flows into the next, how sentences are put together, and so on.
Language edits are never about changing your author's voice. Instead, they should try to improve your writing, push you to improve your style, and make it easy for your readers to read your story.
The last step in the editing process.
The last step in the editing process. This means looking for mistakes, making sure everything is clear, and going over basic grammar.
Proofreading is a light edit that is meant to be the last step before putting something out in the world.
Proofreading is always helpful and important, and having good proofreaders on your publishing team is a great idea.
A thorough proofread will help you find as many last mistakes as you can before you send your work to be published.
And fewer mistakes means better reviews, more readers, and more sales!
And those are all the step you need to follow to ensure your book it ready to publish.
Next up we'll talk about how to find the best editor, or proofreader, for your story.