The 5 Types of book editing

Types of Book Editing

The 5 Types of book editing

In this post, I’m going to talk about the 5 types of book editing that are out there—and that I use. In my opinion, the way you edit your book is totally up to you (maybe except when you’re going to be traditionally published). This post is just to indicate what sort of editing you can do on your novel, or when you want to work with a professional editor, but don’t know what type of editing to choose. Keep in mind: you do you. Whatever feels good to you, is for you. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It’s your book, your career and you know best for your situation. You. Do.

Let’s get into it.

1. Self-Editing

The first type of editing is self-editing. This generally encompasses all of the types of edits below. I like to categorize my edits by type of edit, but I know a lot of writers just go into their manuscript, round after round, and clean up what they come across. To me, this sounds really chaotic, so I make a plan for every round of my manuscript revisions. 

Self-editing is the least you should do for your manuscript. Do. Not. Publish. Your. First. Draft. There’s always something wrong with it. If it’s not the story, pacing, world, or characters, it can be the grammar, sentence structure, or interpunction. Please, do something after you’ve finished the first draft of your manuscript. Do it for your readers and yourself.

A note on professional editing

I want to talk a little about this because I know that it might be a scary topic for new writers (it was for me). Working with a professional editor might look very daunting to you, or it might not even be possible due to your limited budget! But, I highly recommend you let someone else look at your manuscript—preferably a professional. Beta-readers and proofreaders that want to do it for free are a HUGE help, too. If you don’t have the money, I highly recommend you let someone else read through it and make notes. If you do have the money, I highly recommend you pay a professional to do it. They know what they’re doing and they know the industry standard. It’s 100% worth it, but do some research before jumping on board with an editor.

2. Developmental Editing

The second type of editing is developmental editing, also known as substantive editing or content editing. Some people might see Structure editing as separate editing, but in my opinion, it’s all the same. The point is that this type of editing looks at the big picture of your manuscript. In fiction, it looks at the story and story arc, with non-fiction, looks at what information you want to get across to the reader and whether it’s received in an intended way. This type of editing focuses directly on the actual contents of your book.

3. Line editing

The third type of editing is line edits. I love these kinds of edits because the editor (that might be you!) goes over the manuscript line-by-line. It literally looks at how the manuscript is written. This type of editing looks at sentence structure, word choice, inconsistencies, and pacing. It’s a very detailed kind of editing, but it usually makes a huge difference in your manuscript!

4. Copy editing

The fourth type of editing is copy editing. This type of editing focuses on the quality of your text. Especially the technical quality: grammar, punctuation, formatting, facts, etc. It focuses on polishing the text and making sure there are no technical errors in your manuscript. 

5. Proofreading

The fifth and last type of editing is proofreading. This is a very low-key type of editing and not as severe as the others. With proofreading, someone will be literally “reading” the manuscript and noticing any last errors that slipped through the cracks. It’s usually the last type of editing before the book gets published. It checks the manuscript after (typesetting and) formatting and makes sure the manuscript looks good and clean and is ready to be published.

These were the 5 types of book editing and what they entail! I hope you got some use out of it and learned more about the ways of editing your manuscript.

Lots of Love,
Britt

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Britt van den Elzen

Hi! I’m Britt, a 20-something creative entrepreneur from the Netherlands. I’m passionate about all things magic and can often be found dreaming about fictional worlds. The greatest love of my life is storytelling and I’ve been reading and watching stories ever since I can remember. ✨

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