Many people who come to the Troy Book Makers wonder whether or not they need an editor. People frequently don’t understand the different kinds of editing services available, such as developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Here are some simple explanations of editing responsibilities that may help you decide if editorial services are warranted for your project.
In general, developmental editors will help ensure the organization and flow of your prose, plot, and characters. They will suggest rewrites, rearrange text, and perhaps even meet with you before you’ve started writing to flesh out the scope of the project.
A copy editor is responsible for fact checking, ensuring consistent grammar and punctuation, and correcting misspelled words. A copy editor will often create a style sheet if your book has unusual names, foreign terms, or words and phrases whose use needs to be discussed or agreed upon. Copy editors should be involved in your project before you submit your final files to a printer.
A proofreader looks at your proof, the first printed copy of your book, and corrects any typographical errors (i.e., bad line breaks, widows, orphans) as well as spelling or punctuation errors.
If you work with a publisher, they often ensure a professional will be involved at each step along the way. (Note: some publishers may shortcut the proofreading process, however, and give the proof to the author, leaving him or her to proof it themselves, or hire their own proofreader.)
If taking the self-publishing route, then it is up to the author to determine the level of involvement. Certainly, a family cookbook doesn’t need an aggressive level of fact checking! But, if you are considering using your book to establish or build a professional reputation, editing may be an important and helpful consideration.
While self-publishing frees one up to decide who will and won’t meddle with the text, self-published authors shouldn’t overlook the reality of errors that can undermine credibility.
Still wondering? Try this link on publishing basics. It may help you decide!