Hiring a professional editor is a necessity when publishing your book to ensure the book sounds and reads the way you intended. But, what kind of editor do you need? It depends on your writing style and the genre of your book.
Here are a few examples of the different levels of editing:
- Manuscript assessment or critique. A broad overall assessment of your manuscript, pinpointing strengths and weaknesses. Specific problem areas may be flagged, and general suggestions for improvement may be made, but a critique won’t usually provide scene-by-scene advice on revision.
- Content editing (also known as developmental or substantive editing) focuses on structure, style, and content. The editor flags specific problems–structural difficulties, poor pacing, plot or thematic inconsistencies, stiff dialogue, undeveloped characters, stylistic troubles, flabby writing. The editor him/herself may rewrite the manuscript to fix these problems, or may provide notations and detailed advice so the author can address them.
- Line editing. Editing at the sentence level, focusing on paragraph and sentence structure, word use, dialogue rhythms, etc., with the aim of creating a smooth prose flow.
- Copy editing. Correction of common errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation), incorrect usages, logic lapses, and continuity problems.
- Proofreading. Checking for typos, spelling/punctuation errors, formatting mistakes, and other minor mechanical problems.
No matter what level of editing you need, its important to remember that you do need an editor to review and give you a better perspective on your writing.