intro to book editing

Find a professional book editor.

A skilled editor can help improve the style and flow of your book. Find an editor who fits your needs.

How to Edit Your Book's Content for Print

How to Copyright Your Book Before Print

Learn how to copyright your book and protect your intellectual property from illegal distribution.

How to Purchase an ISBN for Your Book

If you plan on selling your book online or in a store, follow these steps to get an ISBN for your book.

What to Include in Your Front & Back Matter

Front and back matter help frame your book's content. Learn how to format your matter for print.

How to Format Your Book's Index

An index helps your reader navigate your book's contents. See tips and tricks for crafting the perfect index.

How Much Does it Cost to Print a Book?

Start exploring our custom options print quote for your book in minutes. No email or signup required.

The Four Types of Editing

No matter what kind of book you’ve written or how long you’ve worked on it, your manuscript can benefit from professional editing. Don’t neglect the important step of editing. Taking the extra step to have your book professionally edited can take your book from good to great.

What Type of Editing Do I Need for My Book?

Professional editors provide many different services. While all authors can benefit from editing, try to determine exactly what type of editing you are looking for. Keep in mind that every editor’s services will differ slightly, so make sure you and your editor are in agreement on the work that will be done. Below are summaries of the most common types of editing.

  Copy Editing

Copy Editing is the simplest level of editing. A copy editor will check for punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and typographical errors, addressing the flaws at the sentence level, while also ensuring that the writing itself coincides with industry standards. Copy edits are often formatted as suggestions, allowing you to pick and choose your changes.

  Developmental Editing

Developmental Editing will hone the storytelling aspect of your work. Both fiction and nonfiction works require a narrative structure that encourages the reader to continue reading. For story driven projects, your editor will provide feedback on plot, character, theme and symbolism. Nonfiction books may need work with chapter or section organization and clarity.

  Line Editing

Line Editing, while similar to Developmental Editing, is more focused on editing content at a paragraph level. An editor providing this service will help you develop your voice by focusing on the creative content within your writing. This process will explore word choice, paragraph structure, flow of narrative, language style, and readability.

  Research Editing

Research Editing can be especially helpful for nonfiction and historical fiction works. The Research Editor will check for inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your writing, ensuring that your content is backed by credible sources. The editor can also provide citation verification and check for proper citation structure and plagiarism.

How to Communicate with Your Editor

Not only will editing improve the readability of your book, but editing can trim your page count, which can result in significant book production savings.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • You may want to start with developmental editing first and follow with copy editing last in order to catch any mistakes that are made during rewrites.
  • Prepare for editing from the beginning of the writing process. Keep your sources organized.
  • Editing takes time. Do not expect your editor to rush the job. Make sure to allow time for several drafts.
  • Do not take corrections personally. If an editor trips up on any part of your book, it is likely that other readers will as well.
  • If you hire an editor, he or she will be an essential part of your book-making team. Most editors want to help you make the best book possible.

Competent editors are widely available. It is not necessary to meet your editor in person (although some prefer this approach). Correspondence and manuscript sharing can be done electronically. Every editor’s services will differ slightly, so make sure you and your editor are in agreement on the work that will be done.

Professional editors vary in price and you’ll want to be sure you’re compatible – the editor knows your style or genre of writing. Typically sending them a few sample pages to critique will be enough to know if this is a person you can work with. However, the cleaner you make your manuscript, the less time and money it will take to give it that professional edge.

copy editing marks