You have finally completed your book’s first draft. Congratulations, that is a big accomplishment and you are through the difficult part. But now you have moved into the often uncertain world of editing. You may be aware that your book needs editing, but what type does it need? How are you supposed to know? In order to answer these questions, I offer you a few tips from a publishing consultant on editing here.
Manuscript editing breaks down into three main categories (although some of those go by two terms — I know, confusing). Wherever you are in the process of writing and re-writing your book, however, your needs will fall into one of these three.
I am going to break each of these down in chronological order, from earliest to the latest in the publishing process.
Developmental & Structural Editing
Sometimes called a structural edit, this is the primary manuscript editing stage.
Authors seeking developmental editing are in search of advice on the book’s overall scope and feel. Does the story really work? Does the cast of characters resonate with readers? Is the book genre-appropriate? This level of editing deals with the book as a whole down to chapters.
You know your book. You know all of the characters inside and out because you have lived with them for a long time now. But knowing whether those elements work for your readers is a much different story.
A developmental editor helps authors find those plot holes. They help sort out moments when the characters are flat or go astray.
A lot of writers tend to think that these elements are easy. After all, they’ve just written 60-100,000 words in that world, in the head of those characters. Of course, the book has to make sense, right?
Unfortunately, too many writers take this for granted. These are critical elements to your book’s overall success. Publishers the world over want a strong plot and viable characters. Readers only return to books that offer them a compelling look at both.
Hiring a developmental editor helps you solve those potential big picture issues.
Self Publishing Consultant On Editing: Copy & Line
This level of editing comes after you’ve reached the point where you are certain about the story.
You have the characters worked out. The story is solid. Now you have to worry about the paragraphs and sentences.
Do you repeat words over and over? Always describing people the same way? Misuse words? An issue that I see all too often is chapters that roll on far too long… or too short, failing to complete a unit of story action.
A copy-editor will help you find the glitches in your fiction on the level of the paragraph. This stage is more about the fine-tuning of voice and the tone. After writing 60-100,000 words, even the most attentive writer cannot possibly see a book on this level.
While a developmental/structural editor delivers the right story to the reader, a copy editor makes the tone of the language work.
Don’t Fear Proofreading
Thanks to a lifetime of red pen, public school trauma, this is what most writers associate with editing. High School English class has made every one of us fearful of the dreaded proofreader.
I love my proofreader though. Why? Am I a sucker for pain? No. I love her because she makes me sound good. Since I can rely on her to check those details, I can rest assured that I am publishing a high-quality, professional-sounding draft.
Proofreading is when an editor finally gets down to grammar, spelling, and overall consistency. Some may think that with Grammarly and spell check that a proofreader isn’t necessary, and although these features can help, they are imperfect solutions.
The publishing consultant on editing advice here is to hire a proofreader. Let that editor get down to nitty-gritty details, tweaking this and that. It’s humbling, but your book will be all the better for it.
If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.
Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook
I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.
While this book doesn’t necessarily go into a publishing consultant on editing as this blog does, but it does serve as a valuable primer for a professional mentality with your writing.
If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.
If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.
How Do I Contact You?
If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor, or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.
Additionally, I offer discounted rates to independent and self-publishing authors.
Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.