As an editor, what should writers know about publishing?

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Different Editors and their Roles

Writers need to understand that there are different types of editing, and different people may be in charge of these areas of editing. Some writers may think that their piece needs a lot of structural editing; however, their publishing package may only include a proofread edit. Below are the different types of editing, so you know what to expect when finding a publisher for your novel:

1. Structural Editor

Some consider this the hardest editing job of all. Structural editors break down the structure and order of your story and rearrange different plot points if need be. They may swap sentences around, or may argue that the events of the second chapter be moved three quarters through the book. They may even go so far as to argue for a point of view shift, which would require the author to go back and do this. A structural editor looks at language, content, structure, and presentation, and they also look at the readability of the work. Structural editors aren’t concerned with the little things.

2. Copy Editor/ Line Level Editor

A copy editor has a narrow focus and will electronically edit your piece line by line. They look at the mechanics of the writing and make necessary changes before typesetting. A copy editor edits grammar, punctuation, terminology, vocabulary, spelling, semantics, and is not concerned with big picture issues. A copy editor is interested in the details of language, and assesses the style of the work to see if it is effective and consistent.

A copy editor also serves as the fact checker, which is pretty self-explanatory. If your story is set in the 12th Century, and yet the main character has an iPhone, the copy editor will ask for this to be deleted.

3. Proofreader

The proof read is the last stage in editing a text. A proofreader checks the document for typographical errors and correct layout and formatting, to make sure that the novel is ready for print. At this point, most of the errors should have already been found. This is not the time for major changes to the novel.

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