What Kind of Book Editing Do I Need for My Manuscript?

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Every author needs an editor. Don’t believe me? Read on.

Determining what kind of editing your book manuscript needs can be a critical step in your publication journey. There are at least five distinct types of book editing, and often, a manuscript will require a combination of these approaches to be publication-ready. Hiring a professional book editor is highly recommended for any of the first three services listed below. The last two options can help you get your manuscript in good shape before sending it to a professional editor or directly to publication if hiring an editor is outside your budget.

  1. Developmental Editing

A developmental editor is like a coach for your book, but without the whistle. They assist the author, sometimes through multiple drafts, with elements such as structure, concept, content, tone, and overall presentation. A developmental editor may also help with research, competitive market analyses, and chapter outlines. Their goal is to make the text clear, readable, engaging, and marketable. This type of editing is also known as substantive editing or comprehensive editing.

  1. Copy Editing

Copy editing, often referred to as line editing, involves an editor checking for mistakes or inconsistencies in grammar, punctuation, syntax, style, and format. They read for overall clarity and continuity, making suggestions for improvement, and helping get the manuscript ready for the next step in the publishing process.

  1. Proofreading

Proofreading is the final step before publication, ensuring that the text is free of production errors. According to Wikipedia, “proofreading is the reading of a galley proof or an electronic copy of a publication to detect and correct production errors of text or art.” A proofreader should catch human errors like typos, layout mistakes, and glitches introduced by computer programs during the creation of the proof. After this stage, any missing periods or misspelled words will be left for your readers to find, who may silently judge you for them.

  1. Workshopping

Workshopping your manuscript can address many of the same concerns that a developmental editor would tackle. This process can take various forms, including exchanging manuscripts with other writers online and sharing critiques, meeting regularly with a writing group, or consulting with creative coaches. The more feedback you receive early on, the more refined and polished your manuscript will be when you eventually send it to a professional editor.


  1. Crowdsourced Editing

Crowdsourced editing leverages the power of your community, including social media followers, fellow writers, and readers. “Beta readers” can offer crucial feedback to help you improve your story, fix your grammar, and much more. While this approach is cost-effective, the downside is that some of your most loyal supporters will have already read the book in its earlier stages and may not be as eager to purchase and read it again upon publication. However, their input can help you release a better book than you might have otherwise, so consider sending them a free copy with a big thank you!

Which Editing Approach is Right for Your Book?

Whether you need help finding dangling participles, fact-checking, or structuring your plot, BookFuel Editing Services are here to assist. BookFuel offers premium book editing at an affordable price. They have negotiated special rates with an exclusive network of book editors who work with traditionally published authors in every genre, including many on the New York Times bestsellers list. For the first time ever, these top-tier editors are available to authors looking to self-publish. Find out more on BookFuel’s website and YouTube channel.

If you have any questions or know which editing approach your book needs, let us know on BookFuel.com

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