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What Is Editing?

Editing is an important part of book publishing, especially for self-published authors. When it’s done right, your readers won’t even notice. When it’s done wrong, they’ll drag you through hell pointing out every single misspelling and comma splice.

If you’re planning on going the traditional publishing route, your publisher will take care of all the editing costs. However, some authors like to put their best foot forward and hire a freelancer. That’s okay. If you have the money for it, there’s nothing wrong with this.

However, if you’re planning on self-publishing, editing is essential. But not all editing is made the same. Editing is dependent on a number of things:

  • The type of manuscript being edited

  • The audience it is for

  • The type of editing you need

You mean there’s more than one kind of editing?

Oh yes. Editing is more than simply looking for typos.

  • Developmental Editing focuses on the big picture and making sure your story is the best it can be. This is sometimes called structural editing.

  • Line editing makes sure all your sentences are well written and follow the golden rule of “active, not passive” among other things.

  • Copyediting is what most people think of when they think of editing. This includes making sure there are no typos, misspelling, etc. Most of the focus is on grammar and punctuation. If there are any glaring mistakes and inconsistencies in the manuscript, it is often pointed out ( like your character’s name switched from Jack to John in Chapter 5).

  • Proofreading is the very last step. It is often done when the type is laid out on the page, but it can be done before. This is the last line of defense to make sure that all the pages are numbered correctly, all headings (and footers, if applicable) are correct, etc.

Before you hire an editor, make sure that you’re ready for it, and that means self-editing.

But isn’t that your job?

Yes, but editors—contrary to some writer’s beliefs—don’t do the work for you. As the author, it is your vision, and you get the final say. Self-editing is a skill that is vital, especially for self-publishers. Why?

  • Self-editing increases your knowledge of story, structure, characterization, and language.

  • It helps you when you’re in a pinch and can’t rely on an editor.

  • It saves you money! The more you can do yourself, the better shape your manuscript will be, the easier it is for an editor to go through it and help you at a deeper level so you can get the most out of the editing experience.

If you’re ready for an editor, I’m here for you! Send me a message and let’s get to know each other.

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