The first thing prospective clients want to know is, how much will it cost?
That depends on their deadline and how much work is needed.
Several types of editing are required to turn a rough draft into a polished manuscript.
Copyediting is what most people think of first: how the message is conveyed through language use, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It’s time consuming and can make your eyes glaze over, but ignore it, and it may come back to bite you. I once went to a national conference for people in higher education and the cover of the conference program, in big, bold print, said ASSSOCIATION. It still makes my palms clammy, and I had nothing to do with it.
Stylistic Editing or Line Editing
While copyediting looks at “how,” stylistic editing looks at “what” is being said, through syntax (the rules that govern sentence structure), as well as consistency of the author’s voice and tone, clarity of the text (dialogue, in particular), and how well the text flows from one idea to another.
Developmental Editing or Substantive Editing
This looks at the manuscript from the reader’s point of view, considering issues such as concept and intended use, content, organization, design, and style. It can involve significant reworking of the text (such as cutting or rearranging chapters), but falls short of actual rewriting. It’s interesting (to editors, at least) and complicated (for everyone). Scott Norton wrote a whole book about it.
A lot of people think proofreading and copyediting are the same, but they’re not. Proofreading is the final stage of the pre-production process, when the manuscript is in galley or proof form. It involves copyediting the text, and also reviewing things like page numbers and margins, fonts, and graphic elements to make sure that the individual components of the printed publication are correct and work together appropriately.
Does every manuscript need an equal dose of each type of editing? Certainly not. But when applied as needed, these tools can make any manuscript the very best it can be.
--Ann Kellett, Ph.D.
Ann Kellett Editing