One thing I have heard many writers say is: does my novel need editing?
The answer is, of course, YES! I say that both as an author and a professional editor.
For those of you going down the traditional publishing route, this question isn’t as important. Personally, I would advise paying for a professional edit to give your novel a leg up when it reaches potential agents and/or publishers. I’ve had a couple of clients who went the traditional route and still had their novels edited beforehand. However, once you’ve signed a contract, your publisher will sort out the editing for you.
But for those of you who have chosen to independently publish (like me) then editing is crucial.
But when you are first starting out it can be very difficult to know what kind of editing your novel actually needs. There is lots of different advice out there and prices vary greatly.
Or perhaps you’re on a tight budget and wonder whether editing is even worth the expense.
I’m an editor myself so I know how important it is to find the right type of editing for your novel.
Here is a list of different types of editing:
Copy editing usually involves correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation, checking sentence structure and removing overused words.
The copy editor does not usually examine the structure of the novel itself, but may provide helpful comments if they feel that they are issues.
Line editing and copy editing are very similar. Some editors consider them synonymous and others differentiate between them. This is where the editor examines grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.
They may also make comments on the author’s style or if there are any issues with the structure of the novel.
Developmental or structural editing sometimes takes place while the author is still drafting the novel or before they have completed their final draft.
During this type of editing, the editor will work with the author to help develop the plot, subplots, characters, story arc and check for consistency.
A developmental edit does not address any issues with grammar, punctuation or style. Because of the amount of work this requires, this is usually the most expensive form of editing and the most time-consuming.
Content editing is similar to developmental editing but usually takes place after a novel has been drafted.
During a content edit, the editor will examine all elements of the novel including: plot, subplots, character development, description, story structure, etc.
A proofreader checks for errors involving spelling, punctuation, and basic grammar. They do not usually comment or check for on anything outside of these, but may make comments if they notice any substantial errors.