There is a huge transition going on in the book publishing industry. With self-publishing and short run book printing, it is easier than ever to publish your book. You no longer need to go through a traditional publisher to publish a quality book.
But, because it’s so easy to publish a book, authors sometimes skip the critical part of editing. No matter how good you think the book is, you still need to hire an editor. If a book has too many typos, readers typically stop reading.
After you have written you book, you are ready for the next step in self-publishing: hiring the right editors. Different editors perform different job functions.
1. Developmental Editing
A developmental editor will take your manuscript and work with the content itself. They might reshape your work and rearrange sentences to make the book flow together better. This type of editor helps an author find their voice and help refine their vision.
When looking for a developmental editor it’s important to choose one who has experience in your genre or specializes in your book topic. Working with an editor who you connect well with is also key. When looking for editors get a list of some of the other works they’ve edited to make sure it’s similar to what you’re looking for. It also helps to interview the editors’ past clients to see what feedback they’ve gotten. Most editors will do a sample edit on a few pages or a first chapter to help you get a sense of their style.
Not everyone needs a developmental editor, but if it’s your first time writing a book and you haven’t had a thorough critique of your manuscript, then hiring a developmental editor is a good place to start.
2. Copy Editing
Copy editing is a crucial step in the publishing process. A copy editor goes through and catches spelling mistakes, adjusts for grammar, punctuation, capitalization and consistency. A copy editor will check your manuscript line by line to make sure your work is consistent and syntax error free.
When hiring a copy editor make sure to get a list of the work they’ve copy edited. Always ask your potential editor to do a sample copy edit of your manuscript to make sure you agree with their changes.
A proofreader makes a final check of the work before it gets published or goes live. They’ll catch any mistakes that a previous editor hasn’t caught yet: spelling mistakes, extra commas or spaces, and other minor errors.
When working with anyone it’s best to agree on timelines and a payment plan up front and ask a lot of questions. Editors will usually do sample edit for free but usually require a deposit before they start work.