Friday, February 5, 2016

Stages of Editing

A popular post from May 2014

By Heather B. Moore

At the recent LDS Storymakers Writers Conference, I taught the class on Navigating the World of Revisions (without burning your manuscript to a crisp). No matter how many books you write or how many you have published, you will still have to go through editing. And it will be painful every time. Not that you won't see the value of it, but it's work--hard work.

Here is a run-down of what to expect when working with a traditional publisher. If you are self-publishing, you need to also mirror this editing process because you are now competing with the traditional publishers.

1. Beta Readers. When do you need Beta Readers? Always. Change up your beta readers with each manuscript. Customize to your subject matter. Vary your readers, ie another writer, someone knowledgeable in subject, someone who is a good technical editor, those in your target market, the most outspoken person in your book club.

2. Critique Groups: Pros: several opinions at once, motivational, accountability, great support system. Cons: time investment, give and take, differing visions and goals. 

3. Acquisition Editors: First to review query or manuscript and determines if manuscript is a possible fit. Rejection a high possibility at this stage. Sends to evaluators or next stage acquisitions. Usually is the contact person with author until book is accepted.

4. Content Editors (Developmental Editors): Once your book is under contract, you’ll be assigned an editor (in house or on contract). Developmental Editor focuses on structure, plot, characterization, conflict, pacing, etc. You are typically given 2-3 weeks to work on revisions. 

5. Copyediting: You’ll have 1 or 2 copyeditors go through your manuscript. Technical considerations, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, consistency errors. Some publishers let you review the copyedits, some don’t.

6. Proofreading: Proofreaders look for errors and any formatting issues in the typeset version. I always ask for a chance to proofread as well. Then I double check that my corrections were put in correctly… Each stage of editing presents an opportunity for new errors to be made. 

7. Contract editors: In-house editors are those who work for the publisher, usually at their on-site location, for 40+ hours a week. They only have so many hours they can spend on each project. Contract editors are often used when there is a large line-up and the in-house editors are swamped. Contract editors are freelancers who may or may not have regular work from the publisher. They may be commissioned for any of the editing stages.


Mary Ann said...

Thanks for sharing this. This is a good template for me to use to self publish. I had no idea a manuscript went through so many different hands.

Nicole said...

Thanks for this good summary of crit and editing options.