June 12

Why do I need multiple editors for my book?

    In our last article, we talked about what to look for when choosing the cover for your self-published book. Now that we’ve talked about the outside – a very important aspect in catching the attention of your would-be readers – let’s talk about the inside of your book.

    Also known as “the good stuff,” your manuscript is what started your entire journey into self-publishing. It's the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put into expressing your story and your message to help your audience solve a specific problem.

    Let’s jump right into the truth: if you don’t have someone else edit your manuscript, no cover in the world is going to help you sell your book.

    An attention-grabbing cover is fantastic, but if the actual content inside of your book doesn’t deliver, people won’t give your book a 5-star review on Amazon and they won’t recommend it to their friends, family, and colleagues.

    Editing is one of the most dreaded parts of the writing process, but it’s also one of the most productive, especially if you’re focused on actually publishing your book to share with the world.

    Here are the four key people you need to help edit your book from the first draft to being 5-star-review worthy:

    1. Developmental Editor

    Step one is focused on the big picture. Your developmental editor will read your entire manuscript, honing in on the progression of the content, ensuring that each chapter builds on the one before it.

    This is one of the most vital steps that all major publishing houses start with because it’s the key to creating a book that people don’t want to stop reading. When it feels like you can “flow” through a book and you’re eager to turn the next page (or swipe, if you’re on an e-reader), that’s because of developmental editing.

    2. Copy Editor

    Step two is focused on content and phrasing of each sentence. Your copy editor will read your entire manuscript, honing in on the words you choose to express your ideas. They’ll ensure that you’re using the same terminology throughout the book, ensuring that each sentence is easy to read and comprehend while still being expressed in your writing style.

    Many self-publishing authors tend to skip this step. As a fellow author, I deeply encourage you to approach this step with gusto. I re-read each blog post that I write upwards of ten times before I post it, but I almost always find a better way to phase something after I post it. Imagine how often that can happen in a 30,000-word book?

    3. Proofreader

    Step three is focused on all the nitty-gritty details. Your proofreader will read your entire manuscript, honing in on spelling, grammar, punctuations, abbreviations, typos … etc. They’ll often create a style sheet, specifically for your book, which highlights your common words, grammar patterns, spellings, and more to ensure everything in your book is consistent.

    This is the part that you can tell immediately if someone skipped it. We’ve all read a book that is distracting because of misspelled words, odd punctuation, and inconsistent spelling (like mixing American English and British English every other sentence). You’ve put too much of your hard work and yourself into your manuscript – don’t let it end up in the dark corners of Amazon because of bad grammar.

    4. YOU!

    Surprise – you’re a vital part of this process too! After every turn with an editor, you’ll review your entire manuscript again, going over their suggested changes, additions, and adjustments.

    This is where you can see how the hard work of an experienced set of eyes pays off. Any good editor will have a number of comments in the sidebar, perhaps even suggesting new content to add, a rearrangement of the chapters, or even new ways to phrase a sentence that they found themselves getting stuck on.

    After each step in the editing progress, you’ll be able to see definitive progress in your manuscript’s flow, clarity, and structure. In other words, you’ll be able to see the message you wanted to share with the world in the clearest and most helpful way possible.

    As always, we never recommend you personally complete any of the editing steps yourself. Why? Because you wrote the book, silly. You’re too close to it. There’s no way you can be objective (trust me, I’ve tried).

    Each type of editing – developmental, copyediting, and proofreading – are very specific skills that professionals hone over decades of experience. There’s no replacement for that.

    For more information on editors, check out our posts on 10 things you need to know before hiring a book editor, how to find a great book editor, and how much you can expect to pay your book editors for their professional expertise.

    Not interested in hunting down your own editors? We include all three types of editing in our Professional Publishing package, which takes your book from first-draft to published and launched in only five months. We’ve got our own team of developmental editors, copy editors, and proofreaders with over 50+ years of experience (and growing!).

    Bio: Victoria Klein is a two-time published author and the VP of Productions for Paper Raven Books. Formerly PRB’s Book Project Manager, Victoria has helped numerous authors through the book publishing process from start to finish. Through her monthly posts, she’ll reveal the biggest concerns and mistakes of self-publishing authors, and how to solve them.


    You may also like

    Which "Publishing Path" is right for your book?

    There are FOUR different publishing paths for the modern author. Ready to discover which one's right for YOUR book?