Line Editing vs Copy Editing vs Proofreading: What are The Different Types of Editing?

As you’re done writing your book, content, or other drafts, you may feel icky about going through the pages again and investing a whole lot of time to fix the errors you made on the way. No matter how bad you want to get your draft off your sight, you need to take it to the next step and go through the editing process thoroughly.

To get past this stage, you’ll need to work on your manuscript or draft and go through each page to catch errors and fix them yourself. But editing yourself comes with a few drawbacks.

You will not be able to judge your words with an objective lens because you’ll be too immersed in your own writing and could possibly miss out on a lot of major and minor issues. Furthermore, if you’re new to writing books, content, or manuscript, you may not have enough knowledge about how amazon book publishing works, and only professional editors can offer you the expertise with the years of experience they bring as professionals in the field. They can immensely help you improve your writing style, word choice, or spelling errors, for instance, by giving you thorough feedback and critique.

Since there are many types of editing, it would be confusing and even overwhelming for you to select the one based on what your final draft needs. To help you choose the right kind, this blog post offers insight into different types of editing available for books and content. At the end of this blog post, you’ll have a clear idea about exactly what you need.

The Major Edits

The Major Edits

Also known as substantive editing, developmental editing is the process of improving a manuscript’s structure, organization, and presentation. The editor works to clarify the author’s message, work on the big picture issues, enhance the flow and style of your story or content, minimize repetitions, eliminate gaps in logic and strengthen weak arguments.

Developmental editing may include:

One of the most in-demand editing services is developmental edit. This service involves working closely with authors to improve their manuscript and make it a more effective, compelling work. The developmental editor helps authors decide which sections of the manuscript to keep, which sections need to be cut or restructured, and which sections need to be added. The developmental editor also may suggest structural changes that can help a book become more successful, such as new approaches to developing characters or outlining plotlines.

The developmental editor might also help an author get published in the first place. In this instance, the editor would advise and assist the author in writing an effective query letter or cover letter. A professional editor would then critique any sample chapters that an author submits in the hopes of getting published.

Line Editing

Line editing acts as the second round of edits for your work. A thorough line edit is done to improve sentence structure and flow, remove redundancies, and eliminate unnecessary words. A line editor will also make sure that the style of writing fits your audience, removing things like jargon that might be confusing to your readers. Line editors will find repeated phrases, missing words, or words that need to be changed for pacing, clarity, and tone.

The main reason an eBook editor needs to do line edits is to ensure a consistent style throughout the entire book. If an author writes in a very different style from chapter to chapter, readers may be confused about who they are reading and may lose interest in the story. The result could be negative reviews and low sales, which would harm the author’s chances of getting contracts for future books. 

Line editing can also help your book and content gain more attention by making it more consistent with other books in its genre. If you’ve written a science fiction novel but all your characters refer to lasers as “phasers,” it could stand out as amateurish rather than professional. And if you’re published by a major publishing house, they’ll likely have their own rules about how you should write things like titles, references, characters’ names, and so on — things an independent editor might miss out on.

Line Edit vs. Developmental Editing

Line editing is the most common editing service that goes through your content and book line by line. It focuses on fixing surface-level errors, but it does not go into structural edits. Line editing includes spelling and grammar corrections, as well as punctuation and formatting fixes.

On the other hand, a developmental edit goes beyond the surface-level fixes and helps with big-picture issues like organization, flow, and logic. The structure can be edited, including the addition or deletion of material. A developmental editor may also help you write a more compelling introduction or conclusion.

A developmental edit is sometimes confused with line editing because they each involve reading and making suggestions about the overall structure and development of a manuscript. However, whereas line editing focuses on a line-by-line analysis of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style choices, developmental editing considers both content and structure.

Copy Editing

Copy Book Editing

The last major edit of a book or content draft is referred to as a copy edit. The term copy editor encompasses many different types of editors, including line editors and proofreaders. Copy editors are responsible for making sure the text in a book or article is free of grammatical errors, spelling errors, and punctuation errors. In addition, a copy editor will make sure the text flows nicely with the rest of the text in the book or article, making sure the tense and voice are consistent throughout.

Most people use the term copy editing to refer to any type of editing that doesn’t fall under the category of developmental editing—or what most people think of as line editing. A line editor works with writers to make their dialogue sound natural, rewrite clunky sentences, and fix plot problems that might crop up along the way.

In addition to working on books and articles, copy editors are often hired by magazines and book publishers to help prepare manuscripts for publication. Generally speaking, a copyeditor works with an author’s written manuscript, looking for issues such as typos and grammar mistakes. They will make sure that if something needs to be corrected for grammar or punctuation consistency, it gets fixed—and the final draft looks polished and prepared for the final step of proofreading.

How is it different from line editing?

If you’ve ever spent any time on the Internet, you’ve probably seen ads for things like line editing or copy editing. If you’re like most writers, you probably don’t know the difference between the two.

Line editing involves correcting punctuation and grammar and perhaps tightening up a sentence here or there. Copy editing, on the other hand, is much more involved. It typically involves changing the wording to make it clearer and more succinct. A copy editor might ask a writer to change all of their “who’s” to “whom” and all of their run-on sentences to properly punctuated compound sentences. Copy editors may also make sure that sources are cited correctly, that there aren’t any copyright infringements, and that the tone of the piece is consistent throughout.

Although many people use these terms interchangeably (and many businesses charge exorbitant rates for what amounts to basic grammar corrections), they’re distinct roles. And while they’re not always easy to tell apart, if you make sure you research well on different editing types, you won’t fall prey to weird scams where editors will cost you an arm and a leg just for working on basic grammar issues in your draft.

Is Content Editing Any Different?

Now that we’ve gone through all major types of editing, let’s discuss content editing.

Content editing includes two main types of edits: substantive and line, followed by a round of proofreading. Substantive editing is done right after you write your articles and blog posts and focuses on the development of your ideas. Line editing is done after you’ve gone through a substantive edit and focuses on grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation.

Proofreading looks for mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax and marks them for correction. This is usually done last to catch any final errors that might have slipped through earlier edits.

All these content editing services help polish your text for the publication and ensure your readers enjoy reading your content and receive a great experience. A well-written content piece is also crucial for attracting new customers and nurturing leads which renders the editing process essential to make your content shine through among thousands of others on various online platforms.

Proofreading: Last on the List

This final round of content and book editing is done only after your draft has been thoroughly edited for major issues. Proofreading involves reading through a manuscript for typos and grammatical errors. This process is done by someone with an excellent grasp of grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules.

The goal of manuscript proofreading is to ensure errors have been caught before a manuscript goes to press. Only minor changes are allowed in this phase because the process of developmental or line editing should catch all major errors in a manuscript.

Is Mechanical Editing Similar to Proofreading?

Oftentimes, your editor may compare the submitted text to a style guide or reference book in order to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, typographical errors, and other common problems. Style guides vary from publisher to publisher (such as the Chicago Manual of Style). A style manual may also specify preferred spellings and grammatical forms in order to increase consistency.

When an edit involves working on a style guide, writing styles, complete book formatting, and other similar problems, this is referred to as a mechanical edit which may serve as an extra round of edit and may not be necessary to go through unless specified by your publisher.

Wrapping up

That was a rundown of all the editing types you could find on the internet when looking for a professional edit for your book or content. To make sure you stay on the right track, check out our services related to book editing, children’s book editing, and explore the best fit for yourself.

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