Editing is a broad term that encompasses so many different avenues that it can be confusing. Making the decision to engage an editor depends on your needs and, sometimes, your budget. Every editor has their own system or method and so it becomes vital for you to create a clear understanding upfront about what services your expecting before putting any money down. It’s always good to get the information in writing, in detail before proceeding.
To help you, let’s talk very broadly about the different types of editing.
This is the kind of editing that usually first comes to mind when the idea of hiring an editing is brought up. It involves proofreading and takes place once you have the final layout of your manuscript. It is the final look over of the intended publication in its final design with the intent to catch any and all little errors that may have been missed in prior editing runs or even introduced to the manuscript during the typesetting process. Usually, this type of editing is charged by the word or page.
This is the secondary picture of what editing is for most people. This focuses more on the mechanics of the novel and is often also called copy editing or line editing. This type of editing will rewrite clumsy or confusing sentences and rearrange the order of sentences or paragraphs for better clarity and flow. It will also look to ensure that the style or voice you’ve developed for your book is consistent throughout the entire manuscript. The main purpose of this type of editing is to produce the most successful and impactful method for delivering your story. You will most often pay for this service by the hour, page, or even the word.
This is the type of editing that is often overlooked and can be provided at various stages of the writing process. It focuses on the overall intent of your book. This type of editing encompasses developmental, substantive, or structural editing. It involves the advice on what is or isn’t working in the structure of the narrative, what does or does not work in your plot or subplots, what translates well or is inconsistent with your characters – all the “big picture” pieces of your book. Charging per hour is common and it is especially here that you want to be careful in specifying services because you don’t know up front how much it will cost you and you want to ensure the results are what you expect.