|©cc Courtesy of Jennie Robinson Faber|
Recently, Robin explained why book authors likely need several editors, each looking at a manuscript differently. I hadn’t heard these editorial distinctions before, but they are worth sharing. So thank you, Robin!
1. Line Editor
If your writing needs smoothing over and polishing, a line editor will do nicely. This professional helps your prose flow and your words communicate. When the line editor is done, your manuscript should simply "read better." Don’t expect a deep flaw-checking from your line editor, though. For that you need our next expert.
2. Copy Editor
Copy editors make sure your writing confirms to a standard style (AP, Chicago, whatever). They’ll find flaws in grammar, spelling, and style consistency. The American Society of Copy Editors says, "Some may think of us as grammar geeks, punctuation freaks and syntax-obsessed snobs." Many published writers probably would argue that their copy editor helped get the manuscript published. Respect! Note: Many copy editors freelance.
3. Structural Editor
Did you ever wonder what Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis did when she worked as a consulting “editor” at The Viking Press? I doubt she was proofreading. Most likely, Jackie was a structural editor. If so, she would have been reviewing manuscripts for the caliber of character motivation, flaws in pacing, the arrangement of information, the amount of descriptive detail — in other words the whole darn thing. Structural editors will make your manuscript sing like a choir, but they don’t come cheap. These folks have read — and written — a lot and they have minds that rearrange the parts to perfection. Note: Freelance structural editors are difficult to find. Most of them are already booked and they’re earning a lot of money.
And, yes, you need a proofreader. When all the other editors have had their say and your manuscript is in layout, bring in the proofreader. This final step leads to an error-free document.
For additional details, check out this post by New York Book Editors.