Copyediting, also known as line editing, is a form of editing that provides polish. Your work is reviewed, errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation are fixed. It can involve grammar only, or a more in-depth look at the meaning of your sentences. You and your editor should agree on expectations prior to engaging in a project. This is the least-expensive version of editing.
Line editing falls somewhere between copyediting and developmental editing. A line editor looks at your piece line by line and considers your choice of words in the context of meaning. Line editors concern themselves with the mechanics, appraise your use of words and whether your sentences need to be trimmed or tightened. This type of editing brings your writing more alive.
Substantive editing involves clarifying and tightening. It involves evaluating your sentences, paragraphs, and chapters with a critical eye and in consideration of your target audience. Unlike developmental editing, which covers a deep level of structuring or restructuring, substantive editing deals with the story in its entirety, including content, organization, and presentation of the entire text, from the title through to the ending. A substantive editor may also weigh in on your cover and other graphic elements. Substantive editing falls between line editing and developmental editing, and can be easily confused with both. The best safeguard is to have an editor put in writing what his/her services cover.
The developmental editor looks deeply at the organization and strength of the overall book, including pacing, characters, point of view, tense, plot, subplots, and dialogue. They scrutinize order, flow, and consistency. Developmental editing considers all the aspects of a manuscript that make the book readable and cohesive for the audience for which it is intended. It is an extensive and deep form of editing, and therefore more costly. But well worth the cost.
I work with pre-publication specialists to ready your manuscript for publication. If you’re writing a book and you’re unsure if you want to self-publish or find a publisher, I can help you ready your manuscript to go either way. Where you’re headed determines a lot of decisions at the outset that will guide the process. Contact me if you want to discuss your options and inclinations.