When you’re writing a new novel, you can choose to do all the writing, drafting, editing, proofreading, polishing and formatting yourself, or you can choose to work with an editor. What you decide will depend on your budget and whether or not you feel editing services are something you want to utilize.
1. The Developmental Edit
Developmental edits are designed to find large flaws in your manuscript. This is typically where the editor goes though and points out things that are missing and things are unclear. It could be description. It could be a dropped main plot of a dropped subplot or a scene, section or chapter that you forgot to finish. When it comes to developmental edits, you want to get them done fairly early in the process. I recommend no later than after draft three. At this stage, your plots and subplots should be in and any description your going to add should also be in the manuscript. I recommend getting developmental edits done at drafts two and three because you should be about halfway finished with the writing process, but you shouldn’t be so far along that major changes really send you into a tailspin and delay the publication of your work. It’s worth noting that these are one of the most expensive types of edits, but they can save you months when they are performed correctly and utilized correctly.
2. The Line Edit
A line edit is where you hire an editor to go in and fix things in your manuscript line by line. This is an extremely tedious edit, but it helps get rid of word and description redundancies and it fixes flow, grammar and punctuation inconsistencies. I usually recommend this edit after draft five. At draft five, if you are following my five draft method, you should be done minus your final polish. You’re probably also very sick and tired of looking at your own work. This is a good time to hand it over to an editor and let them fix the details so you can take a break and forget most of what you wrote.
3. The Proofread
The proofread is the least expensive type of edit you can get. This is where the editor goes in and finds typos, spelling errors and punctuation problems. In essence, they are polishing your novel for you. This type of edit should be performed after you read through the line edits and made any changes you deemed necessary, and after you’ve performed your own final edit and polish.
If you’ve read this and you’re thinking, I can’t afford this. My book budget is $0, and my credit cards are maxed out. I’ll be lucky to make rent this month. It’s okay! I only ever advocate spending money you have. If you have no budget for any prepublication services, don’t panic. Here’s 8 Tips on How to Quickly Self-Edit Your Novel, and 5 Great (and affordable) Books for Self-Editing. You can absolutely edit yourself and get your book ready for publication on your own. As your books get more popular, and you acquire more readers, you can slowly work into purchasing prepublication services.
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