- Developmental/Project Editing - a developmental editor assists the author as a writing coach by taking the rough draft of your manuscript from its initial concept and makes suggestions about content, organization, and presentation. A developmental editor will incorporate input from the author, reviewers and consultants. Plot and characterization will be analyzed and reworked if needed. Suggestions will be given for rewriting confusing and awkward areas to create better flow. Sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and spelling may also be considered. This type of editor is basically with you from the beginning, helping you to develop your manuscript. You would probably have a developmental editor under contract with a publishing company. I don't know of any self-publishing companies who provide this type of editor.
- Substantive or Structural Editing - many times this type of edit may mean rewriting your entire manuscript! So, don't take it personally. I rewrote my manuscript at least 12 times. A substantive edit can involve marking errors in punctuation, grammar and spelling, editorial comments on style, structure, content and flow. It will involve reorganizing sections and paragraphs for better flow of content. Heavy editing will check URL links, captions, references, foot notes, quotes, bibliography,etc. to make sure permission has been granted to use copyrighted material. It will check your formatting, page numbers, index, table of contents, etc., to make sure everything is where it should be. This is where you have to let go of your book and trust your editor because many times they will want to change something that you don't want changed. You need to keep in mind that they are trying to present you with a clean manuscript, so trusting your editor is important.
- Copy-Editing - A copy editor will check for grammar, style and punctuation. They will also make sure your work is complete and consistent. Usually, a copy-editor works on a manuscript that has already been heavily edited. Formatting styles, such as headlines in bold, are checked for consistency as well.
- Proofreading - is not done by your mother after you have written your manuscript! Proofreading is done after your MS has already been heavily edited by a professional. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand close and careful reading, but they focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques. Basically, copy editors get involved in the book production process at an earlier stage than proofreaders. Typically, once a book has been commissioned, a copy editor will work with the author to bring it up to a publishable standard. The proofreader comes in once the typesetter has set the book. Their job is to read the typeset 'proofs' and mark up any errors they find. Unlike the copy editor, the proofreader is not concerned with improving the text, and it is not their role to make stylistic changes. Their job is simply to look for clear mistakes (typos, omissions, etc.) and ensure that they do not make it into the finished book.
Until next time!