What Level of Editing Does Your Manuscript Need?


If you're nearing the end of your first draft, you may be thinking about hiring an editor. But what level of editing does your manuscript need?

As an editor, I get many requests for proofreading simply because writers are choosing the least expensive option (and understandably so!). However, each level of editing addresses a different aspect of your writing, so it's important to understand the differences before making a decision.

Note: If cost is a factor for you (as it is for many of us), I know a lot of editors (myself included) who will work with you by offering a payment plan, so be sure to ask about this option.

At this point, you might also be asking why it is so important to work with a professional editor, especially if you've already spent hours upon hours reading and self-editing your work.

An experienced editor is trained to spot errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, structure, plot, character development and so on, and knows how to correct those issues. And because it’s almost impossible to see every mistake you’ve made in your own work, an editor is that second set of eyes that every writer needs.  Why? Because you are seeing what you meant to put there, not necessarily what’s actually there.

One of the questions I get asked most is, “What type of editing does my manuscript need?”  Below is an explanation of different types of editing to help clarify how the process works.


1.  DEVELOPMENTAL EDIT:   A development edit looks at the overall presentation. Some of the elements a developmental editor looks at are structure, story arc, character development, pacing, and plot. A developmental editor works closely with the author, addressing areas of the story that need developing or clarification, ensuring to maintain the author’s voice throughout.

2.  COPY EDIT: During the copy edit phase, the editor looks at sentence structure, word usage, grammar, and spelling. The copy editor will verify facts, query inconsistencies, make recommendations for awkward phrasing, and assess the overall readability of the manuscript.

3.  PROOFREADING: Once the copy edit is complete, your manuscript will go through the proofreading stage. This is where the proofreader will look for typos, homophones, double words, missing punctuation, double or incorrect punctuation, misspellings. They will also ensure all changes from the copy edit were applied.

As writers we want to put our best work out there; therefore, it's very important to hire an editor who can help us see the things we can't see for ourselves, whether it be those pesky typos, holes in our plot, flat characters, etc.

Remember, editors are there to enhance your work, striving to help you take your writing from great to outstanding.

Have you written a book that needs editing but you’re still not sure where to begin? Feel free to comment below with questions or contact me here. I’d be happy to chat with you about your specific project.