“There is no global authority that dictates what independent editors call the work that we do. … Ironically, for an industry that is focused on words, the semantics here don’t matter much. What you want more than anything is an editor who … can, in their own words, explain to you what they do, where they sit on the continuum of book-editing services, and what needs to be done before and/or after their work to ensure a comprehensive edit.”
from The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor by Chantel Hamilton, nonfiction developmental editor
“Michaeli is an enthusiastic, talented, and thorough copyeditor. It is very obvious that editing is her passion. Highly recommended!”
The differences between certain types of editing can sometimes be hard to wrap your head around and, before I made this page, I often found myself explaining in more detail through emails with potential clients. I’ve created this guide to explain the different types of editing and the services I provide more fully, as well as my processes while working on a manuscript, in an effort to save everyone time.
Developmental Editing (sometimes referred to as “Structural Editing”) is the first type of editing that takes place during the writing process. A developmental editor works with an author to develop the story, sometimes from the very inception of an idea. This type of editing looks at the structure of the story, rather than the language. This is where your editor will work with you on big plot issues like continuity and character development. Think of a developmental editor as a story coach; they will be there to guide, teach, and encourage you as a writer while you finish your manuscript.
I do not currently offer Developmental Editing services.
This service (sometimes referred to as “Substantive Editing”) helps my clients flesh out their stories, after the developmental editing process. If you have it all on paper but need help with the finer details, you’re just not satisfied with the way your story reads, or you need help lowering your word count or splitting your manuscript into multiple books (this happens a lot with debut authors), this is the service for you!
Many authors think they need a copy edit, when they’re really looking for a line edit. The main difference between copy editing and line editing is the level of work involved. A line edit will address elements of the story, whereas a copy edit focuses more on the technical aspects of the writing. This type of editing involves going line by line (thus the term “line editing”), finding plot holes and other inconsistencies, as well as confusing/awkward wording.
Think of line editing a sort of “buddy system” for your writing. When you are writing a story, especially when you’ve made a few revisions, it can be difficult to look at it objectively. You will often have a clear picture in your head of who your characters are, but sometimes it hasn’t been fully translated onto the page. It’s also hard to see (or at least admit) when something needs to be cut, either because it doesn’t add to the story or it just doesn’t fit.
That’s where an editor comes in. We make the tough decisions, though whether to heed our advice or not is entirely up to you. We’re not paid to smile and nod! While I will let you know when I particularly enjoy certain bits, I won’t beat around the bush when it comes to the changes that need to be made. You may be tempted to hate me by the time we’re done, but keep in mind that my goal is to make your story the best it can be.
Some editors don’t fix technical errors when they do line editing, and I totally get that; since there will most likely be multiple revisions to the manuscript, it may not seem to make much sense to fix errors in grammar and punctuation! However, I find that it can be very helpful for my clients to see the technical areas of writing that they need to work on, and a little coaching goes a long way. My main goal, other than polishing your story to perfection, is to help you grow your craft and become a better writer.
As I correct errors, I leave comments which will explain why I’ve made the changes I made, and will explain in more detail the issues I feel are most important to address in an accompanying feedback document. I will also share articles/blog posts that I think will be helpful resources. We can either go chapter-by-chapter, giving you the chance to apply the principles I’ve explained to the rest of the manuscript as we go (and perhaps save up the money for the next installment!), or do the whole thing at once.
This service includes a feedback document along with the main edited manuscript. Additional revisions are available at discount.
This type of editing involves correcting technical errors and inconsistencies (grammar, repetition, word choice, style, repetition, spelling, and repetition), as well as confusing/awkward wording. It’s not as in-depth as line editing and should take place after you are satisfied that you’ve made your manuscript the best you can, but before you start querying or begin the self-publishing process.
Copy editing focuses on fixing technical errors in your writing, although I will point out any other details I believe need to be addressed to improve readability. I will also do a tiny bit of fact-checking (making sure the name of that specific restaurant in Seattle is spelled correctly, or that the Bible verse you quoted is indeed Psalm 119:76, for example.) As with line editing, I will leave comments which will explain why I’ve made the changes I made, and share tips I think will help you improve your craft. There is not as much focus on the actual story, though I will note if I find any glaring plot holes or disparities in the narrative.
This service does not include a feedback document, but I would be happy to provide one for a modest fee.
This is the last step before publishing your book. If you’re going with a traditional publisher, they will provide proofreading services (and you just have to trust that they will do it well!) Sometimes this involves making sure the formatting is consistent and in line with the form of publication you’ll be producing (print, ebook) but most of the time it’s just the technical aspects of the writing itself.
In my proofreading service, I also point out any glaring inconsistencies I notice, but only if they absolutely must be addressed for the book to make sense. I won’t be changing any awkward wording unless it’s technically incorrect. I won’t be adding any commas that aren’t strictly necessary, or changing them to em dashes when I think they would be more effective. This is a very cut-and-dry service, with little to no back-and-forth between editor and author.
I will also fix formatting for an additional fee.
Heard enough? Contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can begin a discussion about your project. Please include your name, the genre, word count, and intended audience of your book, and the type of service you are interested in. To speed things along, you can send me a 500-1,000 word sample of your manuscript. I will perform a sample edit for you and, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, we can talk rates!
I do my best to respond to all emails in a timely manner, but please allow two business days for a response; sample edits can take up to five.
Michaeli lives in Harvest, Alabama with her husband, Mark. They have two cats, Henry and Louise, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. In her spare time, Michaeli enjoys playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.