What Editing Really Means and Why It’s Especially Important in Self-Publishing and Independent Publishing

EditorGoing it alone seems to be inherently built into the terms self-publishing and independent publishing. So, it might seem funny for us to be writing a blog post about the different types of editors you will want to consider working with as you embark on your self-publishing or independent publishing journey. However, these publishing industry terms really refer to the business structure of how a book is published rather than the idea that you have to go it alone. In fact, any good author knows that during the writing and publishing process, you need a team to help you to reach and cross the finish line. And different types of editors are among some of the most important members of the team you should put together.

Developmental editor – Someone to help you shape the book – to organize your thoughts and plan your project. They can help you create a theme that will attract your target reader, eliminate redundancies, and ensure the content is clear and concise.

Substantive editor – Someone who can take your completed first draft and help you cultivate it, which may include honing your voice, developing or deleting characters, rewriting sections, or reworking the order of sections or chapters.

Copyeditor – Someone to correct the final manuscript – to perform line-by-line editing, and ensure good grammar and readability for your target reader. The copyeditor will catch the things the developmental editor might otherwise miss.

Proofreader – Someone to give a full proofread of the text after the layout is complete, correcting any errors that may have been overlooked and cross-check that changes have been made correctly.

Sometimes, the lines may cross between these roles. But remember, not all developmental editors are good copyeditors! Not all good proofreaders are good copyeditors! These are very distinct editorial roles. We highly recommend at least two separate editors. Several pairs of professional eyes will ensure a perfect manuscript. Working with a third-party professional proofreader to give your book that final read-through before publishing can make a huge difference with the final product.

Successful indie authors often work with experts – a team who can help you manage all of the moving pieces throughout the life-cycle of the publishing process. Working with a team of experts can help an author focus on what they do best – writing. Other professionals you might want to enlist for your team include:

  • Designers – Someone to help with the layout of the book – creates a professional interior design and eye-catching cover design.
  • Proofcheckers – Someone to double-check the design and content, ensuring all content is there, no conversion issues, and the design is consistent throughout the book.
  • Production experts – You will need to determine whether you want to publish your book as an e-book, print book, or both. It can be helpful to have experts in these areas to guide you through the process and figure out which option is best for you.
  • Marketing and PR experts – You will likely need help with publicizing and creating marketing campaigns for your book. You want to develop your book as a distinct brand, targeting and cultivating the appropriate audiences. Activities you’ll want to think about may include setting up a website, social media presence, SEO, and press relations.

As you build your team, you should tailor it to your specific needs and the requirements of your work. If you have any questions about the skills and team members you might need to successfully launch your book, please contact SDP Publishing. Also see, “Free 45-minute Consultation with SDP Publishing Solutions and Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Publisher.”

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) is a leading provider of independent publishing in Massachusetts. We offer optimal self publishing and independent publishing solutions for our authors. Located south of Boston, from literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – we provide the best solutions for authors worldwide. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

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