Which type of editing do I need?

editingIf you’ve been researching editing and editors, you’ll know by now that there’s a wide range of services on offer. So how do you know what you’re going to get, and whether that’s going to be your money’s worth?

Read on for the different types of editing, and which one you need.

 

Structural/developmental editing

A structural (or developmental) edit looks at the overall structure of your book, as well as your vision for the book, before drilling into details like spelling and grammar.

This means that a structural edit takes:

  • Your ideal readers
  • How you want to position yourself as an expert
  • How you want to promote the book
  • What you want the book to achieve
  • And more

into consideration, then restructures your entire book to fit that vision.

Essentially, a structural edit makes your book as effective as it can be for both your readers and your brand.

What’s included in a structural edit?*

  • Phone consultations with, or a questionnaire from, your editor to ensure they’re clear on your goals for the book
  • Reviewing the entire structure of your book based on those goals
  • Ensuring that your tone is consistent throughout the manuscript
  • Reworking areas of your manuscript to improve the clarity, flow and structure or your book’s argument
  • Removing unnecessary or repetitive text
  • Making recommendations on how you can create a more compelling argument through adding evidence and examples, extending certain areas, creating more clarity, etc.
  • Correcting all of your spelling, grammar and typos
  • An explanation of all changes, and the opportunity to discuss any of the changes

If this is your first book, or you haven’t gotten a lot of feedback yet, then it’s best to start with a structural edit. You’ll probably be surprised by some of the suggestions, as well as surprised at how much more smoothly your book flows once an editor has reviewed it as a whole.

 

Copyediting

A copyedit focuses on your book’s readability, and ensures your writing flows smoothly and makes sense to your readers.

While a structural edit looks at the book as a whole, a copyedit looks at paragraphs and sentences. This means that, while individual paragraphs may be restructured and reworked to improve the readability, a copyedit won’t look at the structure of the entire book.

What’s included in a copyedit?*

  • Reviewing your book for readability and flow, and reworking sentences and paragraphs for clarity
  • Correcting all of your spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Correcting all of your typos
  • Improving sentence structure for flow, persuasiveness and consistency

If you’re an experienced writer (so this is your second or third book, or you’ve been working as a professional writer for a number of years), and/or your manuscript has been reviewed by a selection of your ideal readers and industry experts for structural considerations, you may be able to go straight to a copyedit. However, it’s always best to request a sample edit whenever you get an editing quote, so then your editor can make a professional recommendation about the best type of editing for your book.

 

Proofreading

Proofreading only focuses on your spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos. Essentially a proofread is like a more accurate version of spell check.

What’s included in a proofread?*

  • Correcting all of your spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Correcting all of your typos

Most writers can’t send their manuscript directly to a proofreader as, although they’ll check your grammar, they won’t look at your book’s readability or structure. And – as I’m sure you’ve experienced from looking at various instruction manuals – just because something is grammatically correct, doesn’t mean it makes sense.

For the most part, I’d start with a structural edit, and then progress to a copyedit or proofread.

 

*Please note that packages vary from editor to editor. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you agree to work with anyone.

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