Everything You Need to Know About Editing

Types of Editing

There are four levels of editing.

Proofreading is the lightest, where someone essentially is reading for glaring errors. Oftentimes, you can use beta readers for this purpose. Essentially, you’re asking early readers to read your book before publication to point out any missed typos or errors.

Next is line editing, where grammar and punctuation are specifically checked to ensure they are accurate and meet style guide standards.

After that is content or copy editing, where grammar and punctuation are reviewed in addition to clarity. In other words, you’re asking the editor to tell you whether “this makes sense.”

Lastly is development editing. It includes all of the above but also assesses whether your book as a whole flows in a way that achieves your objectives for the reader and doesn’t contradict itself or make too broad a jump.

A Note About Ghostwriting

Beyond these forms of editing, there is ghostwriting. In that instance, you give your ghostwriter all the information they need to write the material for you. This is a highly specialized skill and the fees associated with it reflect that. Some ghostwriters only accept 2 or 3 projects a year because of the level of effort required to accurately capture the author’s voice as well as present their material–to take on any more would mean they couldn’t do any of them exceedingly well. For that reason, you’ll see prices for ghostwriting range dramatically based on the experience and expertise of the writer. I know some ghostwriters who will write a full-length book for $10,000 and one who is at the top of his field who charges $130,000 per book.

Where to Find Editors

Sometimes authors tell us that the book they are considering publishing with us has already been edited, so they won’t need that service when we publish their work.

While we are happy to accept someone else’s editing, the material does have to pass our standards for publication. And that sometimes means we need to re-do the edit.

What we find out in those instances, oftentimes, is that the author found someone on Fiverr or they hired a friend who is an English teacher. While this may cut costs, it’s not always a viable solution.

You want to find a book editor if you’re working on a manuscript or an academic editor if you’re working on articles, academics or essays. They use different style guides (Chicago Manual of Style vs American Psychological Association) to determine what’s acceptable practice. These people keep up with the changes to the style guides and make sure that currently accepted practices are being used.

While we love and adore English teachers, it’s uncommon for them to keep up with the latest changes in the industry.

Editing is one of the services we offer at Emerald Lake Books. But, should you be looking for additional resources to explore, try visiting:

In both of these organizations, you’ll find a mix of editors, so look for those who offer the kind of editing you need for the type of writing you’re doing.

Pricing for Editing

When it comes to pricing for an editor, the standard practice is to charge per word, although some charge per page or per hour. The “per word” rate is a much more concrete number than the others, so it’s softer on the budget.

However, if you are considering working with an editor who charges per page, make sure you know what size they consider a “page.” (Or ask for the average word count of a page.) If the editor you are considering charges per hour, find out how many words per hour they edit on average.

Other Things to Note

Many editors will do a sample edit for you, where you give them an agreed-upon number of words and they return it edited, so that you can determine if you’re a good match for each other.

When you write a book, the two most significant places to spend money are on cover design and editing. One gets people to look more closely at your book, while the other forms an impression of how valuable what you have to say is. You can have the best advice in the world to share, but if it’s poorly written, it won’t be perceived as worthwhile.

This is especially important if you want to sell significant quantities of your book or use it as a business-building tool, because the quality of your book then reflects the quality of your business.