Novice – a person new to or inexperienced in a field or situation.
This definition does not even begin to describe me at the first stage of editing. There was a lot to learn, and still more learning to come I’m sure.
I was very lucky to have come across freelance copyeditor Louann Pope (Her site), who helped shed some light on having a manuscript edited professionally.
First, I did not understand the difference between a line edit and a copy edit. Thanks to Louann, I now understand that the copyeditor goes through the manuscript after all other edits have been made. The copyeditor goes through the manuscript line by line, combing through it for grammar, punctuation, spelling, fact checking, consistencies, and all matters of flaws on a technical level. This is essentially the last step before sending your work out for publishing. She was also kind enough to share some expertise about the editing process; she explained that it would be up to me to hire a professional to do a comprehensive edit/line edit or go at it on my own using a method outlined by Stuart Horwitz in his book Book Architecture, which I thought was a great method. In the end, I felt it was important for me to step away from my work and get some distance and meanwhile let the eyes of a professional scour through it.
I reached out to a couple freelance editors to discuss the possibility of them taking on my current editing needs. I wanted someone to first review my manuscript and give me a detailed evaluation of its merits and weaknesses. I want to know what additions or omissions may be required to help get my novel to a quality level worthy of submitting to agents. Once I make any additional revisions based on the editors advice, I will seek out copyediting services.
As I had predicted in my last post, I faced a few turn downs to work on my project. One editing firm did not find it to be a good fit for them, another stated that she didn’t have the time but was kind enough to share some information (I posted the links in my last post and included them in this post as well). Through kidlit411 I found an editing site that was promising, so I reached out. I also used the other link she gave me for the Editorial Freelancers Association, and posted my job there. By the next business day my inbox was flooded with editors interested in working on my story. One of those editors happened to be the one I reached out to via kidlit411. I was so excited to work with her. I did my homework and researched everything that I could find on her and was more than pleasantly happy to find that she has a great track history and comes highly recommended. I am happy to say that she is now my editor. (Feels good to say that)
I’m anxious, in a good way, to get feedback from her and begin pushing my novel to the next level.
Definitions and Links:
Line edit – A line edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level. But the purpose of a line edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors – rather, a line edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. NY Book Editors definition
Copy Edit – By contrast, the goal of a copyedit is to address flaws on a very technical level – to make sure the writing that appears on the page is in accordance with industry standards. This is like an incredibly high-end proofread. Flags ambiguous or factually incorrect statements (especially important for non-fiction). Corrects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Ensures consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization. NY Book Editors definition.