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No writer can ever produce a flawless manuscript alone. Writers are simply too close to the story to know if everything has been successfully translated onto the page. That’s why writers work with reader groups, critique partners, writer’s circles, or professional editors.
Other Writing Partners
But before we dive into the specifics, let’s talk about the roles we don’t call editors within a writing support network.
A professional editor is not a:
A writing coach is:
A writing coach might also offer suggestions on your manuscript itself.
A mentor is:
A mentor may or may not read the manuscript, based on your relationship.
A ghostwriter is:
As it’s your name on the cover and you keep the royalties, they don’t come cheap.
A beta reader or critique partner is:
Beta reading/critiquing is usually provided on a trade basis, with the understanding that you will provide your readers with similar help when it's their turn.
What Do Professional Editors Do?
Ok, so what is an editor, and what do they do? For starters, the term “editor” is a professional designation. It is often used a job title or indicates someone has earned a certificate or degree in editing.
Editing includes a range of job sets with different titles that vary according to the size of each publishing house or the services you want to hire from a freelance editor. At smaller presses, some of these titles and job duties are often conflated.
Editorial job titles include:
An acquisitions editor is:
In some cases, the acquisitions editor may offer developmental advice, depending on how involved they are in the revisions process.
A developmental editor is:
If you have concerns about their requests and suggestions, set up a time to talk through them together. You may hit on a solution that pleases both of you.
You can also hire a freelance developmental editor to help you polish up the manuscript before submitting it to agents or publishers, or to make sure the book is the best it can be before self-publishing.
A copy editor is:
If they’re freelance, copy editors often charge on a per-word, or per-page basis.
A proofreader is:
If they’re freelance, proofreaders often charge on a per-word, or per-page basis.
A management or production editor is:
Now that you know the differences between all the editing jobs, sit down and think about your current story. What types of editing should you be thinking about at this stage in your writing?
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