You are well on your way to completing the first draft of your manuscript. You may even have it completed. Now, you ask yourself, “Do I really need an editor? After all, I wrote it and I know what it’s supposed to say.”
Did you know it is nearly impossible to catch all of your own mistakes?
Yup. Just because your brain knew what you meant to say, doesn't mean it’s actually what made it to the page. That means you need some outside editing help.
But what kind of help or editing do you need? And where do you look?
Did you know you may need multiple phases or different types of editing, depending on your manuscript? Do you know what different editors can do for your manuscript? Take a look…
Substantive or sometimes called Developmental Editing…Just as you might think this kind of editing mainly looks at the substance of your manuscript.
It can even be called content editing because although punctuation and grammar count at this stage, this editor's primary role is looking at the big picture.
Often your editor will look at things like flow, readability, clarity of message from start to finish, consistency in voice, and does all the information included really belong there?
Like I said, you know what you meant to say and write. Your reader may not. In this round an editor will take an outsider’s point of view and will point out ideas that don't make sense or that aren't easy to understand.
Published authors know if they want their reader to get the most benefit from their book, they hire a substantive editor.
Copy or sometimes called Technical Editing…You’ve heard of the word police. This type of editor looks at punctuation and grammar in great detail. Commas, hyphens, spelling, including those tricky close spellings like your and you're, are all things this editor will review.
We know writing and conversation are getting more casual. But, your manuscript needs to be your best professional effort and your editor will make sure it looks exactly as it should.
Proof Reading…Normally this kind of editing is the last step in the writing and editing process. It may be combined with a late stage copy edit, depending upon the manuscript and the author.
Just before your manuscript goes to print, a proofreader takes over and will try to achieve as clean a manuscript as possible by searching for typos, punctuation, and other fine detail errors.
Keep in mind that because they're looking at the small stuff, they are generally not going to deal with content or other structural problems. You will want those kinds of things settled long before this stage.
Now, your book is published and…oops there is a mistake. Even with all your editors, how could this be? Having multiple editors does not absolutely ensure there won't be any errors.
No one is perfect. Plenty of books produced by even the top publishers have a comma out of place or maybe a misspelling.
The key is still having more than one person look things over. What kind and how much editing do you need? That’s up to you…do whatever it takes to make your book shine.
Editors and Their Importance;
by Wendy VanHatten
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