What Type of Editor

What Type of Editor Does My Manuscript Need?

by Archana Murthy

What Type of EditorI am still a few months away from publishing my book. Having worked with two editors, I have begun to get a grasp of how to find the right one.

To begin with, one has to have no reservations or doubts about the importance of hiring an editor. If you want to be a professional author, you need to work with a professional editor (or a book doctor, if you prefer that term). Yes, hiring an editor costs money. Money that writers often do not have or money that one thinks might serve better in some other aspect of life. I consider this a sound investment towards building my writing career.

One of my manuscripts is a dialogue-heavy collection of stories. The stories in the collection are related to each other in the same way I am related to the Queen of England. After a few self-edits of the first draft, I shared the collection with a few, trusted beta readers. Based on their feedback, the stories went through another round of self-editing (more in terms of consistency, flow and so on). The next step was to have a professional editor look over the manuscript.

Developmental Editor: Developmental editors offer suggestions and advice on the story, character development, pacing, structure, narration etc. Yes, imagine the big picture. Developmental editors do not focus on grammar and spelling.

Line Editor/Copy Editor: Line editors and copy editors focus on refining your manuscript. They work on fixing sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and flow. They help polish your manuscript. The terms ‘line editing’ and ‘copy editing’ may be used interchangeably.

Proofreader: This is considered as the last nail in the coffin…err...manuscript. Proofreaders catch spelling mistakes, typos, repeated words, punctuation errors, homonym errors (shudder) etc. A great deal of attention needs to be paid in this phase of editing and a fresh pair of eyes is invaluable. Usually, proofreading happens after the book has been formatted and before the final upload (obvious, but crucial!).

I did not need a developmental editor for the collection of stories. Instead, I needed a copy editor who would work on sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and readability. I am presently tweaking my manuscript based on my editor’s feedback.

How did you choose your editor? Sound off in the comments!

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