What order should the editing process follow?
Once you've finished self-editing, ideally, you should start with beta readers and progress through developmental editing to more beta readers, line editing, copy editing, and lastly, proofreading. As a final check before you publish, consider sending out ARCs (advanced reader copies) for input about anything that might have been missed. Allow time for all of this!
What are beta readers?
Beta readers go through your manuscript when you've finished self-editing and before the formal editing process. Their input is also helpful after changes have been made during a developmental edit. Do not use them during or after the rest of the editing process! It's too late unless you want to pay for another edit. Beta readers are people with an understanding of your genre you can trust to give honest and knowledgeable feedback within the required timeframe. Family and friends usually don't qualify because they probably lack expertise or have little experience in your genre, they may find it hard to be honest when they spot issues, or they won't find any problems because they know you're amazing, so what issues would there be? Finding experienced beta readers: you can visit the Say Hi page and message me for help with doing that.
What is developmental editing (also called content editing and substantive editing)?
Different editors have different names for this level of editing, but they all refer to the same thing. It looks at the big picture - the book in its entirety. Things like structure, suitability for the genre, story arcs, timeline, plot and subplot, any plot holes, your characters (are they dynamic and believable, is your character development appropriate?), themes, chapter order, chapter breaks, etc. The editor won't make any changes to the wording and usually provides a report or notes in the margins. A developmental editor helps you to create a very sound story that's ready for line editing.
What is line editing? Copy editing? Proofreading?
You'll find details about line editing, copy editing, and proofreading on the Services page.
Do I really need proofreading done?
The line editing process doesn't include double-checking for spelling and typos or consistent use of capitals and hyphens, and it doesn't cover punctuation. A line editor may correct things they notice, but it's not their focus. To be certain your manuscript is as error-free as humanly possible, don't cut the proofreading.
I'm on a tight budget! What is the best use of my money?
Do the best self-editing you can manage. Send me a message here if you'd like some resources for doing that.
Then, arrange some free, experienced beta readers (not family or friends!) to critique your manuscript. Let me know here if you need some help finding them.
Finally, if you can manage a copy edit and proofreading, those are kind of non-negotiable for a professionally finished book. You have two options here. Save up until you can afford them, or do just some of it before you publish, knowing you may get some bad reviews. You can re-publish at a later stage when you can afford the final editing.
Finally, send out ARCs (advanced reader copies) before you publish, and ask those readers to let you know about any mistakes they find.
Can I get a free sample edit?
Before you decide whether or not to hire me, I'll gladly edit a one-thousand-word sample of your work for free and without any obligation to you. It'll give you a good idea of what I can do for your manuscript, and I'll have a good sense of the editing needed. Then you can decide if what I do and the way I do it is what you're looking for and if you think we could work well together.
What platform do you use for editing?
I usually edit in Google Docs and sometimes in Microsoft Word using the tracking function. If it's your first time using Google Docs, I'll talk you through it at no extra charge!
How many passes of editing does my manuscript get?
Line editing involves three passes, guaranteed, and copy editing is two passes. When they're combined, I do a total of four passes with a round of proofreading at no extra charge. Proofreading on its own gets two rounds.
How long does editing take?
Duration depends a great deal on the amount of work your manuscript needs, its length, the time you take to go through each stage of the edits, and, of course, by when you wish to have it completed. Contact me, and together, we'll work out a timeline depending on your needs. Bear in mind that I am sometimes booked up a few months in advance.
What about communication?
We can keep in touch by email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, or all four. While I'm working on your manuscript, I'll send you updates every few days so you'll know I haven't forgotten you, and you'll have a good idea of how things are progressing. You're always welcome to contact me at any stage.
What do you charge?
Have a look at the Services tab for this information.
How does payment work?
I usually ask for a 10% non-refundable deposit to book your place in the queue. After that, I generally charge 40% upfront, with the final 50% due on completion of the work. Repeat customers only pay the 10% deposit, with 40% to be paid at around halfway and the balance payable on completion. You can pay using PayPal or Wise, or you can
contact me to discuss using an alternative method.
I have a different question!
I'm happy to answer it, and you can get hold of me here. All that kind of input is one hundred percent obligation-free.