A book editor plays a valuable role in producing a good book. All authors; newbies and experienced know this fact. What some of them may not know is that there are multiple types of book editors; copy editing and line editing are different undertakings, and that proofreading also is part of editing. 

In this article we throw light on the different types of editors and their duties, so you understand your requirements and call for the right one when a book editor becomes imperative in the writing journey.     

The Developmental Editor

The developmental editor helps you with the macro picture of the book. Dev editors provide writers a detailed analysis of the story’s setting, plot, and characters. They help you determine the tone, voice and fluidity of the content. 

Most authors dread to have a developmental editor on board, as sometimes they tend to massacre your draft or idea altogether. It may involve writing, rewriting, and research on the part of the editor. This doesn’t bode well with many writers. But once done being creatively stuck up, they realize the editor is only helping them make the story more logical, gripping and devoid of any plot holes.

When to hire? 

They come into the picture a lot earlier than the rest. This editor can step in even before you start writing to help you with the “big picture” issues like developing a strong outline and structure. 

It’s best to have a developmental editor on board if you have a strong* idea but don’t know where it’s going or how exactly you can turn it into a book. 

The Line Editor 

The next book editor enters the stage only when the structure and form of the book are ready. The line editor goes through your draft with a magnifying lens for a line-by-line review of what you’ve been up to. The focus here is the flow and feel of the language. 

The line editor goes through every line with the following considerations: 

– How to say this in a simpler manner? 

– How is the sentence length distribution in each paragraph? 

– Where does this piece of information fit in the best: current, previous or next paragraph? 

– Are there any unnecessary or missing words in this sentence? 

When to hire? 

Line editing is also a part of the content phase. You can either choose to bring them on board when you’re done writing either entirely or even partially. Based on the changes recommended by the editor, you can follow the same conventions later in the draft. A partial edit is good if you’re tight on the budget. 

The Copy Editor

It’s what you think of when you think about “book editor”. Copy editors make sure the text is readable, accurate and ready for publishing. The tasks of a copy editor and a line editor overlap in certain aspects like flow and consistency. What sets apart a copy editor is that they look at your manuscript from a procedural perspective to pay more attention to the detailed aspects of editing such as:   

  1. Syntax, punctuation, wrong grammar, and spelling 
  2. Checking for consistency in numbering, spelling, hyphenation, and fonts. 
  3. Checking for facts and logic. 
  4. Other micro concerns like internal consistency.

When to hire? 

You can have a copy editor on board when you’re done or almost done writing your manuscript. Because once they do a review, you will have a lot of rewriting to do. It’s best to hire an editor who gives free revision for better clarity

The Proofreader 

The very last player in the editing stage is handed over proof of the manuscript after the manuscript has been edited. Their main job is to spot any typographical or grammatical error or just anything else the copy editor might have missed. The proofreader is also responsible for the design aspects of the book like formatting, typesetting, and layout. This stage is the last opportunity to make all the final changes before your draft goes into publishing. 

Proofreaders have X-ray vision to detect even the tiniest errors that slip through the previous levels of editing. Every book we read is greenlit only after it gets an OK from the proofreader.

When to hire? 

Once you’ve accepted the changes and suggestions from the content and copy editor and rewritten to your heart’s content pass on the proof to a proofreader to make them do good! 

Now that you’ve learned what different editors do, which one do you think suits you the best? Do let us know in the comments!