People are constantly reaching out to me to ask questions about my editing service. And I often find that writers are confused as to what they actually need and which type of editor is a fit for that need. (I get a lot of requests from writers who mistakenly think they need line editing when what they really need is content editing, etc.)
So I thought I’d do a breakdown of how to know what you need and which type of editor you should look for.
In order to know what kind of editor you need, you first have to take inventory of where you are right now. The following questions will help you do that:
1. Have you completed you first draft?
2. Have you completed a first round of revisions?
3. How confident do you feel that this story is ready to be seen by someone else?
If you’re not done with your first draft yet, don’t show it to anyone, especially an editor. It’s not time for that yet. At this point, you need to be completely focused on finishing the draft.
If you’ve finished your first round of revisions and worked through your entire first draft and have made changes and reworked things, you’re ready for your first round of editing.
ENTER CONTENT/DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR
Your first round of editing should be with a content editor. You may have also heard this person called a developmental editor.
Regardless of the name, the job is the same–to read your manuscript and give feedback on the overall story, including plot, structure, scene execution, character arc, theme and more.
This editor won’t be looking at your prose or checking for grammar or punctuation. That stuff doesn’t matter at this point.
The feedback you get from this editor will help you turn the draft you have into a draft that’s more cohesive and engaging.
After you’ve spent time implementing the suggestions from your content/developmental editor and you have a story that’s closer to being finished, now’s a great time to send to Beta Readers for additional feedback on the story. (This step is optional but recommended).
When you’ve implemented all your editor and Beta Reader changes, then you’re ready for your next editor.
ENTER LINE EDITOR
A Line Editor’s job is to read your prose, line-by-line, and help you polish it up and make it shine. They look at word choices, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and more.
What a Line Editor is not concerned with is the content of the story. That’s already been handled by your Content/Developmental Editor and Beta Readers.
This editor’s exclusive focus is helping you make the story sound better through improving how it’s written.
After you’ve implemented the suggested line edits, you’re ready for the final round of editing.
This is optional, but highly recommended if you want to give your draft a final once-over before you hit “publish.” A proofreader will go through your story again, line-by-line, and look for any misspellings, typos or other random things that need to be cleaned up.
BUT–before you hire any editor, you first need to do your own revision, to make sure you’ve gotten the story into the best shape you possibly can on your own.
Dream life or bust,