Sometimes, people aren't completely aware of what the terms editing and proofreading encompass, even if they do know they've been told they're important. If you're considering hiring someone to help you through the editing or proofreading process, read on to see what you can expect (or ask for) from each type of service.
Editing can be divided into three categories: developmental editing, substantive editing, and copyediting.
Developmental Editing: Think of developmental editing as a helping hand for authors; this type of editing provides guidance and suggestions for organizing, researching, drafting, writing, and rewriting a piece of work from the very beginning, perhaps before anything has even been written down.
Substantive Editing: When an editor gets involved later in the process, after everything has already been written down and tentatively organized, he or she is most likely going to focus on substantive editing. This entails fixing organization issues, creating clarity, pointing out inconsistencies, and improving readability. It does not include fixing grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or checking references.
Copyediting: Also known as line editing, copyediting’s purpose is to clean up the copy without toying with the author’s voice or style. A copyeditor checks grammar, punctuation, spelling, copyright issues, word usage, style consistency, and cross-references.
By the time a work gets to this stage, there should be few errors left. Proofreading involves pinpointing any major errors that previous editors and the writer missed and examining the “finished” version for layout, color, consistency, page makeup, and type errors. It can also include checking front and back matter such as forewords, bibliographies, and notes for consistency with the main content.
What I write as a freelance editor goes beyond what a typical author writes when he or she decides to tackle a subject and get it published. An editor’s writing can include, but is not limited to, ghost writing, rewriting an author’s unclear text, rewriting an ESL author’s less-than-pristine English, and creating such items as articles, instructional modules, PowerPoint presentations, press releases, and product reviews. Oftentimes, an editor’s writing is unattributed—at least, to the editor.
An author can request one, all, or a combination of the different types of services, and pricing changes depending on which service(s) is required.
However, each of these services requires exceptional knowledge of English, grammar, and rhetoric, an instinctive understanding of what the author is trying to say (regardless of what he or she is saying), and a willingness to devote the time and energy necessary to create the perfect details in every piece of work.
Interested in talking with me about how I can help you with your work? Email me or fill out the contact page and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.