What type of editing do I need?
There are four basic types of editing:
- Developmental editing—deals with overall development of content and story
- Structural editing—deals with the structure of content and story elements
- Copy-editing—deals with text
- Proofreading—checks for errors following editing and typesetting
helps an author develop their book from the initial idea, concept or proposal to a completed draft manuscript. Developmental editing for fiction is often provided as author mentoring. Developmental editing and structural editing can overlap as both deal with content and story elements.
deals with the content, substance or structure of a manuscript. For fiction, this includes character, plot, pacing, narrative structure and point of view. The structural editor looks at the story and the way it is being told, and aims to match the reader’s experience of the book with the author’s vision. For non-fiction, structural editing looks at a book’s content: the overall order in which the author presents their facts and arguments, and how it presents to the target readership.
deals with the actual text of a book or piece of writing. A copy-editor looks at spelling, grammar, punctuation. They examine flow and clarity in the narrative text. They also check for consistency, repetitions, and stylistic issues. The copy-editor makes the text clear for the reader.
is the final stage of editing. The proofreader looks for errors and corrections from earlier edits, redrafts and revisions and checks the layout and typesetting before the work is released to the public.
For a general overview of the editing process in traditional publishing, check out Book Nanny’s blog post: ‘Editors: animal, vegetable or mineral?’