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Don’t Waste Time and Money: Know What Kind of Editor You Need

March 8, 2016


Note From Rochelle


Dear Writers,

Greetings! I’ve worked as an editor for nearly twenty years. I specialize in helping writers develop and shape their ideas so that they can do the best possible job of communicating their message to readers. Other editors are whizzes at checking arguments for consistency and flow or making sure that the commas are in the right place.

Today’s tip will help you understand the different types of editors—so that you can hire the right one for your next project!

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach




Hiring an editor sounds like a straightforward task—until you begin searching. A quick online search reveals multiple kinds of editors: development and copy and line editors. How do you figure out what kind of an editor you need?


Editing roles, definitions, and tasks vary from editor to editor (and project to project) because of the individual styles of editors as well as the unique demands of clients. For example, an editor who is doing a development edit, which generally looks at content and organization, may point out or correct grammatical errors. Or an editor who is hired to simply copyedit a book may find that it needs substantial editing. The editor may do that editing or pass it back to the author to find a development editor.


But do not fear! There are some general definitions that you can use as a basis for types of editors and editing.


Development Editor

A development editor works with a publishing house or in a freelance capacity to develop a manuscript from concept through draft stage. In some publishing houses or book packaging firms, the development editor may actually do a good bit of the book-development work before hiring a writer to complete the project.


A freelance development editor usually works with a writer to develop a book from concept to outline to draft. If the editor is hired after the book is finished, the development editor may:

*Provide a manuscript evaluation, reading the manuscript for content and to address the specific concerns of the client.

*Show where a book needs more content or more research.

*Point out content that is repetitive or does not work.

*Suggest changes in sentences, paragraphs, and organization so that work flows better.


Copy or line editor

A copy or line editor usually works with a manuscript after it has been through a development edit. The copy editor checks for clarity, organization, flow, and logic. The editor also reads for redundancies, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word usage. The editor will query the writer to check permissions, errors, references, quotes, and so forth. If the copy editor works for a publishing house, he or she will edit so that the manuscript fits the style of the particular house.



A proofreader reviews a manuscript for grammar, punctuation, and usage. They correct typos and other errors, may note inconsistencies, and verify links.


Well, there you have it: a brief review of some of the basic types of editing. This will help you when it comes time to hire an editor for your book. Tune in next week to learn how to hire an editor.


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