“Editing is like pruning the rose bush you thought was so perfect and beautiful until it overgrew the garden.”
― Larry Enright
Using a Professional Editor
Publishing Is Changing. Anyone Can Self-Publish, but Should They?
Good editing can make the difference between an amateurish, self-published book and a professional book, one that looks like it came from a top-five publishing house. A good editor is invisible in the end product; the main goal is to help an author create a compelling, top-notch book that appeals to the target audience. Editing often means more than catching spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and it requires experience, empathy, and (I think) a good deal of humor. After all, we should enjoy the process.
Different Types of Editing for Different Needs and Manuscripts
Clean manuscripts only need what is called a "light" copy edit, which is the least time consuming (primarily fixing spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors).
The next level of editing is "heavy" copy editing or "line editing,"which tackles everything in a light edit plus sentence structure, tone, and consistency.
"Developmental editing" (sometimes called "substantive" or "content" editing) takes a big-picture look at a manuscript and its elements, including the very important aspects of readability and marketability. The editor helps the author identify and resolve issues, such as with plot, dialogue, continuity, and character development in fiction - or thesis, content, structure, and exposition in nonfiction. I also include line editing, specifically for readability, in this service, although not all developmental editors do.
Tip: Proofreading is done on a "printer's proof" pdf after the layout/typesetting is completed, but before the actual printing of the book. It is always more expensive to fix errors during the proofreading process than in copy editing.
Manuscript Evaluations and More
Jill Welsh, Editor
I offer reasonably priced evaluations of any manuscript (actual pricing is based on the length because I read every word). My manuscript evaluations not only identify any potential problem areas, but will also offer some solid advice for addressing them. I can also provide a publishing assessment, which helps authors determine the best avenue for publishing their books.
Nonfiction and fiction manuscript evaluations, as well as developmental editing, focus on those elements unique to each form.
Fiction evaluations delve into:
> plot and story line;
> structure and theme;
> conflict and tension;
> character development;
> point of view/voice;
> dialogue and pacing.
Nonfiction evaluations concentrate on:
> relevant thesis;
> tone and pace.
As an adjunct professor for the University of Chicago Graham School's Editing Certificate Program, I teach Developmental Editing for Fiction. I also do private webinars and workshops on developmental editing for fiction and nonfiction.
Tip: Both copy editing and proofreading are critical, but it is the developmental editing process with an author that can help turn a good manuscript into a great book, which is why I enjoy it so much.
Every Author Needs a Cheerleader . . .
or maybe just a leader to help him or her reach their destination: a great published book. Writing coaching is unique to (and personal for) every author. Some authors need help with creating a detailed outline and a reasonable writing schedule; others want help with content or story-line development; still others just need help staying on track or a shoulder to lean on.
Writing is hard work, and, contrary to popular belief, it doesn't always have to be solitary - or lonely.
Editing and writing coaching fees are based on the complexity of the project and the amount of time involved. I would need to see at least an initial portion of a manuscript and have an idea of the projected word count to give an accurate estimate for editorial services. Like most professional editors, I charge on a per-word basis, depending on the level of editing required. Writing coaching services can be purchased on an hourly basis, usually per month.