by Jun 23, 2021



Book editing is the process of preparing a book for publication, be it traditional or self-published. The book editing process involves developmental editing, evaluation editing, content editing, copyediting, proofreading, etc.



Every book requires editing, and the type of book editing your book requires is dependent on the genre of book you’re making. But just what types of editing are out there? They are:

· Developmental editing, also known as conceptual or manuscript appraisal

· Evaluation editing also known as manuscript critique or structural edit

· Content editing also known as substantive editing or full editing

· Line editing which is also known as comprehensive edit.

· Copy editing and

· Proofreading

Developmental editing

If you are a seasoned author or have deep confidence in your manuscript, you will likely not hire a developmental editor. What is developmental editing? Developmental editing is a process that occurs early in the writing process, where the author has an idea for a book or a rough outline of what his book should contain but needs help piecing all these together.

At this point in writing the author needs a developmental editor. The developmental editor does not do any writing or rewriting as their work is not to do so. A developmental editor looks at the big picture of your book and focuses on its organization and structure much more than word choice, punctuation, and grammar. They help ensure your arguments line up, that everything flows, and the stories are in the right places.

The most common issues developmental editor will be on the lookout for are

1. Issues with the plot.

2. Character development.

3. Structural problems.

4. Problems with the narrative point of view.

5. Genre expectations.

They help you find out what key details you are leaving out and which ones should be off your book. Developmental editing in a nutshell is bringing your ideas and contents together in a more organized and flowing way. It helps you see the way readers will see your book and provide their feedback. While more experienced authors may not need developmental editors, as a new author if you find you are lacking in putting your ideas together, you should get a developmental editor.


Like developmental editing, the focus of evaluation editing is the big picture, not the finer details of your writing. On this level, the evaluation editor evaluates the flow of your ideas. An evaluation editor would mark up your manuscript at a high level. And make note of any structural questions or concerns they have.

If you get a glowing evaluation, your book might be ready for copyediting and proofreading.

If the editor says that your book’s structure and organization need serious work, you might need a developmental editor. If the remark is that the structure is sound but your writing needs work, you might need a content edit or line edit to strengthen your manuscript.

Evaluation editing and developmental editing may sound similar, but the difference is that for developmental editing you do not need to have a manuscript yet. All you need for it are your ideas for the book and then an outline, but for an evaluation, you edit you need a ready manuscript.


At this level, the editor begins to dig into the words on the pages. A content editor provides you with a paragraph-level set of markups on your manuscript, corrections, points out incomplete sections, and offers advice on the refinement of the flow and construction of your chapters, sections, and subsections.

The key difference between a content edit and a line edit is that a content edit is not as detailed as a line edit. A content editor won’t move your chapters around, but they will move your sections or paragraphs around within your chapters, move content within chapters, or delete the content entirely.



A line editor does a line-by-line review of your manuscript. The line editor is more like a scuba diver, taking a deep dive into your manuscript, providing the most detailed edit you can get. Your contents however have to be structured properly, to see the real work of a line editor.

A line editor isn’t looking at the big picture; rather they focus on the choice of words and whether each sentence has the intended impact. Similar to the other editors that focus on your book’s flow, their flow focus is on each word in a sentence and how they interact and flow into each other.

The line editor trims of wordiness by tightening your sentence and helping you say in five words what you could have said in twenty.

They aren’t concerned with errors as much as they are with the number of words used in communicating with your readers. Their aim is simple, make the writing short, concise, simple, and about the reader.


When you have finished editing your manuscript, then it’s the set time to hire a copyeditor. A copyeditor will meticulously move through your book and find the grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. The copyeditor will work at a sentence level; while making changes to words and punctuation they will be seeking to apply consistency throughout the book.

Copyeditors only search out for typos and mistakes in a manuscript (yep, you heard that right, mistakes. No matter how good you think your writing maybe mistakes are lurking around somewhere in your manuscript; some may even be staring right at you). They also check that your book follows through on the style manual (These are manuals that set out the best practice for how a book should be formatted and structured) appropriate for your genre. If you are considering a copyeditor you ought to discuss which style manual they will be using for your book.

The copyedit will produce a manuscript that contains a large number of sentence-level tracked changes and comments. The author will be expected to look through these changes and choose to accept or reject them.

Once the author has made the final choice, the manuscript will be ready for publication.


This is the final step in the book editing process. A proofreader’s work is usually done on the printed version of your book after it has been designed and formatted. It is the last part of editing before printing the published copy. It is more like the publishers are done and then they are doing one last check. That’s where proofreading comes in and then either gives a go-ahead or pens down observed errors for final correction.

A proofreader like a copyeditor looks for typos and misplaced punctuations but goes further to look out for layout issues like page numbering, consistency with headings, placement of tables of figures in the text, bad line or page breaks, and more.

A copyeditor goes for mistakes the author missed while a proofreader goes after the mistakes the copyeditor missed.



Self-editing is the process that every writer passes through after they complete a draft of their written work.

What will you be doing when self-editing your book, you would be on the lookout for things like grammar errors, spelling errors, typos, continuity, missing words, repetition, passive voice, clarity, homonyms, awkward sentences, subject-verb agreement, and the list goes on and on.

Self-editing is a tedious task that most writers do not particularly enjoy. But it is also necessary. Learn how to make the process easier so as to enjoy improving the overall quality of your writing.

Now if you’d really want to get your book out to readers, probably because you are on a budget and can’t afford to pay for all the editors on the list of types of editing, then you have got to embrace self-editing. However, every writer should know how to self-edit so you could better understand every step of the way what editors are doing to your manuscript.

In deploying a self-edit, it is important to not begin self-editing just after you have finished writing your manuscript. You’d want to put down your manuscript and go do other things, have fun and detach yourself mentally away from your manuscript for about a week and some few days, then come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes and make sure to approach it as a reader and not as the writer (remember every type of editing is done by someone who did not write your manuscript, this enables them to do a thorough job – this is why you have got to approach your manuscript as a reader to do a thorough job.

If you are going to go the self-edit route it is important to join writers or beta readers group and have your book looked into, with the purpose of getting feedback from them. Also, you have got to get editing software to ease and speed up your editing work.


Based on your need as an author, you should have a better idea of which types of editing are more suited for your book.

You should at the very least hire a professional proofreader and copyeditor. This would help to ensure that your readers can have a good read without being distracted by dozens of typos.

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