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        A Guide to Book Editing and Proofreading

        • calenderMar 05, 2021
        • calender 5 min read

        After you finish writing your book, you have to deal with the intense realisation that it’s now going to go through a panel of editing and proofreading specifications. And editing and proofreading is a natural pre-requisite for any manuscript to be ready for publishing. Why is book editing and proofreading important, you ask? Let’s see:

        Book editing helps eliminate grammatical errors, syntax errors, and punctuation errors.

        1. Helps flesh out your story and characters better.
        2. Helps refine what the author’s vision of their book is.
        3. Helps make sure that the prose is tight and well-written.
        4. Helps eliminate continuity errors.
        5. A book editor gives valuable suggestions as to how else can you approach writing a particular character. 

        To know more about what exactly constitutes the skeleton of book editing, go here

        Book Editing and Proofreading in Fiction and Non-Fiction

        Editing and proofreading are said to be generally the same for all types of written material. But for novels and non-fiction books, there is a lot more that goes on which is different than other documents. In a book edit, you will encounter these steps:

        1. Developmental editing: Takes care of the larger aspects of a book like its plot and language and the overall style and structure.
        2. Substantive editing: A chapter-wise edit of the book which includes ensuring that the chapters are tightly-woven.
        3. Copyediting: The first round of editing that an editor undertakes to eliminate basic grammar and punctuation errors, along with the writer’s stylistic choices.
        4. Proofreading: Final stage of checking a text for minor inconsistencies and errors. 

        The process of book editing and proofreading varies even more with respect to fiction and non-fiction. Check this article to find out the difference in detail. 

        Book Editing 

        While a lot of people might assume that proofreading is a part of editing, it’s actually not. It’s a part of the editing process and isn’t a type of editing. 

        Apart from the above-mentioned three types of editing, there are a couple types in the middle of the process:

        1. Structural editing: It’s as it sounds; a look at the overall structure of your story. It helps with questions like:
        • How many chapters should I split my book into?
        • From where should each chapter begin?
        • Are my chapters in the correct order?
        • Should I add anything else to this chapter to tighten the structure?
        1. Line editing: Often confused with copyediting, line editing focuses on the edit of your book ‘line by line’, literally. It’s also known as ‘stylistic editing’, since it focuses more on style and not content. 

        Read more about book editing, types, and more here:

        1. Types of Editing
        2. The Difference Between Developmental Editing and Copyediting 
        3. Developmental Editing: How is it Important to Your Novel?

        Book Proofreading 

        Book proofreading is the last line of defence in the pre-publishing and editing process before the book goes for typesetting, formatting, cover design, etc. It includes:

        1. Correction of spelling mistakes and typos.
        2. Checking for grammatical errors.
        3. Checking for syntax errors.
        4. A sweep-through of the text to check whether it’s error-free. 

        Self-Editing Your Book vs Professional Book Editing

        Even if self-editing sounds like a less costly option, working with a professional editor is going to benefit your book, especially if you are looking to publish it:

        1. Writers may or may not be trained to write, but editors are extensively trained to edit meticulously, along with strong vocabulary and knowledge of good grammar.
        2. As an author, you are emotionally attached to your text and will find it incredibly hard to edit, because everything will seem ‘okay’ to you.

        You can edit and proofread your first draft superficially using some tools that are available online, but we strongly recommend you to send your book to a professional book editor

        PaperTrue’s Book Editing and Proofreading Process.

        People also ask:

        1. What comes first; proofreading or editing? 
        2. How do I become an editor and proofreader?
        3. What are the three levels of editing?
        4. How much does it cost to have an editor edit your book?
        5. Can an editor steal your book?

        If you are confused between book editing and proofreading, this table might help make it clear:

        Book Editing Book Proofreading
        Takes place throughout the book edit, until the last stage. Is the last stage of the editing process, before the book is given for publishing.
        Addresses core writing issues like plot, structure, characters, etc. Addresses surface-level concerns.
        Only includes removing errors and not reducing words. Includes word reduction according to the book’s requirement.
        Eliminates spelling mistakes, formatting, and inconsistencies. Makes changes in text to enhance clarity and readability. 

        Also read:

        1. Editing and Proofreading Essentials: Punctuate!
        2. Editing and proofreading fiction vs. non-fiction: is there a difference?
        3. Top Fiction Manuscript Editing Services
        4. Developmental Editing: How is it Important to Your Novel?
        5. What is book editing: Answering the important questions.
        6. Who’s Better at Editing Books: Humans or Robots?
        7. Why Self-Editing Your Book Is A Bad Idea
        8. The Difference Between Developmental Editing and Copyediting
        9. TrulySet: For all your publishing needs           


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        Rishi Linkedin

        Rishi was a zealous student at IIT Bombay when he realized, firsthand, the power of good language in effective communication. As part of this belief, after a brief stint in a hedge fund, he co-founded PaperTrue in 2014.

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