A rough guide to editing time frames
How long does an edit take? That depends. Basically, the length of an edit depends on three things:
- the manuscript word count
- the type of editing required
- the amount of work or level of editing input needed to bring a manuscript to publishing or submission standard
- your editor’s schedule and availability
Developmental and/or structural editing takes place over a longer period of time. This is to allow for author resubmissions after each developmental/structural edit pass has been completed. How many developmental/structural edits and resubmissions are necessary? Again, that depends on each individual manuscript. Some manuscripts need only one. Some need more. Certainly, you should allow yourself at least 5 to 6 months for this stage of the process.
Copy-editing: as a rough guideline, copy-editing a full-length novel (about 90,000) in good shape normally takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
Proofreading can be done more quickly, but you should factor in a turnaround time of at least 2 to 3 weeks for the proofread to be completed.
Top tip: plan your publishing schedule and book your editing slot well in advance
Remember to check your chosen editor’s availability long before your manuscript is ready for editing. Many editors book out their schedules between 2 to 6 months in advance. This is particularly true if an editor comes with excellent word-of-mouth recommendations. So make sure you check availability and book your editing slot as early as you can to avoid disappointment.