What are the different types of editors?

Like promised, I’m back again to discuss the different stages of editing. I didn’t get any comments on my previous post most probably because people have been busy and also because of the lockdown. It’s a difficult period and it’s important to try as much as we can to stay safe and positive. Hope is all we need at the moment. I also hope that reading this blog also helps to get our minds off things a little.

Here’s a recap. The Editor’s job is to make the required adjustments and improvements to ensure a manuscript will be presented consistently, clearly, and according to the publisher’s House Style and the standard expected by the target audience.

The different stages of Editing

In order to do this, an Editor basically takes on three broad stages of editing or the publisher implores three different types of editors. These are:

  1. Substantive editing/ structural editing/ content editing/ developmental editing
  2. Copyediting/ line editing/ fact checking/ rough editing
  3. proofreading

Thus, we have the Content editor, Copyeditor and a Proofreader for the three different stages of editing. One editor can safely wear all these three hats and perform a great job.

The different stages of Editing Explained

1 .Substantive editing/ structural editing/ content editing/ developmental editing

This is the first stage of editing. This level of editing is not needed for manuscripts that are structurally sound. 

Structural editing is the process of preparing written content in order to present the information in a logical format. At this stage, editors are concerned about making sure text reads well and that the content presented is relevant. 

Does it answer the intended need?

Does it solve the problem?

Is it a good book?

After this stage, an assessment report can be prepared for first time authors.

2. Copyediting/ line editing/ fact checking/ rough editing

Line editing comprises the first passes of the copyediting stage. This level of editing is always required for manuscripts (either fiction or non-fiction).

The aim of copy editing is to ensure that a publication, before it is presented to the public, is accurate, easy to follow,  relevant for the purpose, free of error, omission, inconsistencies, and repetition.

Contrary to popular belief, the Copyeditor is not an elevated spell checker. A copyeditor checks for and corrects errors in grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation. Checks for technical consistency in spelling, capitalization, font usage, numerals, hyphenation. The Copyeditor is your partner in publishing the work.

3. Proofreading

This is the final stage of the editing process. Also, the least expensive because presumably, you’ve already caught most of the major mistakes by now. But it is necessary. Don’t think that because most mistakes have been eliminated then this stage can be skipped. The final proofread is to give one last set of eyes to your words before we declare the work done to publish. 

Proofreading is a repetitive process which continues until you hit the publish button. It also keeps coming back at different stages of the printing process.

So, these are the three main stages of editing although they may further be broken down into nine stages. Or even more. I still maintain that publishing is a process and not a rushed thing, although it can be done in the shortest period possible.

As usual, let’s discuss. Questions, comments, ideas are welcome.

Who feels the need to get an Editor?

8 thoughts on “What are the different stages of editing?”

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  6. Thanks so much. I had a bit of confusion now it’s cleared I thought the proofreading process starts first. I can now see that its the third stage . Thanks looking forward for more

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