The 4 Types of Editing

Did you know there are different types of editing? Depending on where you are in the process, you will need to decide which type of editing is most beneficial to help your book shine. Below we will outline what is involved in each type so that you can determine which works best for your needs.








A copyeditor goes over your manuscript line by line, inspecting the

language for errors of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, smoothing out

the syntax, ensuring stylistic consistency, and providing any necessary

fact checking. (You often hear “copyediting” equated with “proofreading,”

but they’re two very different processes.)



A proofread occurs at the final stage of publishing or self-publishing. A

proofreader will go over the final copy of your manuscript right before it

goes to print, making sure no typographical errors were overlooked by the

previous editor or have been introduced in a revision. Ideally at this point, you

will have edited and revised your manuscript several times, and there

should not be more than a few typos.


Developmental Editing

A developmental edit focuses on improving your work in terms of larger craft

issues, such as plot/story, flow, clarity, voice, and organization. Because you will likely be extensively revising your manuscript during this process, the edit will not correct problems of grammar and style, though your editor may give you a few pointers.


Substantive Editing

In a substantive edit, your editor will go over your manuscript with a

magnifying glass, performing a copyedit, flagging problem areas in the

prose, and providing a detailed critique of your work with both small- and

large-scale suggestions for improvement. This way, you can learn from different types of mistakes and focus on improving your writing as you revise. This process can include:

–       Correcting grammar and punctuation

–       Smoothing out syntax

–       Ensuring stylistic consistency

–       Fact-checking any information your manuscript presents (including

potential anachronisms)

–       Cleaning up the language (pointing out awkward constructions,

imprecise word choices, accidental repetition, overuse of passive voice,

confusing pronouns, clichéd or clumsy imagery or metaphor, lifeless prose,


–       Identifying craft problems (of plot, flow, clarity, organization,

theme, character, point of view, voice, tone, pacing, etc.)

–       Offering solutions for any of problems listed above


Now that you know which types of editing are available, which will you choose? Ask how we can help by emailing us at

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