What Happens During the Editing Process?

Editing is a critical part of getting your manuscript ready for print. However, the process can seem intimidating, especially if you’re a new author. Feeling nervous about sharing your work with others for the first time is natural, but it’s a necessary step on your publishing journey. The editing process is designed to polish your manuscript so it’s engaging and attractive to readers. Here’s what you can expect from the editing process when self-publishing your book with EABooks.  


When is a Manuscript Ready for Editing? 

Before starting the editing process, you’ll want to determine whether your manuscript is ready. A ready-to-edit manuscript is generally a complete, flushed-out story or book that has been reviewed and revised.  


For fiction, it meets the word count of a typical novel in your genre, usually between 80,000 - 100,000 words. For non-fiction, that varies on the subset. For instance, a daily devotion is typically 300-400 words and a devotional book is either 30-day, 45-day, or 90-day. Rarely do we recommend a 365-day devotional book for an unknown author. A children’s book is typically 32-pages. And a Christian living or Bible study book is 100-200 pages and each page can be counted as having approx. 300-350 words.  


After finishing your manuscript and revising it several times, leave it aside for a few weeks. Then, review it again with new eyes. You may catch some mistakes or plot problems you overlooked the first few times. Now have a few beta-readers review it, or a critique group. Finally, run a spelling and grammar check. Following this and one final review by you, it should be edit-ready. 


Types of Editing  

The editing process consists of several editing levels, each with a unique function and serving a different purpose. Here’s an overview of the types of editing your manuscript may go through:  


Developmental Editing 

Developmental editing is also called content editing or substantive editing. This type of editing looks at your story and helps you develop the plot and characters into an enticing read. A developmental editor will look for plot holes, timeline inconsistencies, and poorly developed characters. A developmental edit may be recommended for non-fiction when you’re too close to the subject, or perhaps you’ve shared everything you know about the subject and it needs tightening. Maybe you need more personal story or warmth because it feels a little preachy. A developmental editor will give you the eyes to see what needs to be done and a roadmap for how to get there. 


These next two types of editing are part of the Partnership Editing we offer at EABooks 


Line Editing  

Line editing reviews your manuscript for style and tone. This type of editing looks to add unique word choices while cutting down on repetitive words and phrases. A line editor will also correct inconsistencies in style, like the number of spaces between periods, regional spelling variations, and active voice. The primary purpose of line editing is to ensure smooth readability. 



Once you’ve reached the copyediting stage, your manuscript is ready for a review of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s important to note that your manuscript should have been checked for basic spelling and grammar already. Copy editors are responsible for checking typos and grammatical errors that may have been missed. Copy editors will also look for grammatical consistencies, such as spelling out numerals, capitalization, headings, and titles. 


We also offer Relax Editing at EABooks, so here is a description of both of these 


Partnership Editing 

This is the most common type of editing we do. The editor’s job is to not only do the two types of editing explained above, but they step into the role of reader. Their job is not to rewrite your book or change your voice, but to remove any obstacle for your reader to hear the message or story you are conveying. This means using the tool called Track Changes in Microsoft Word to make recommendations, such as smoothing out awkward sentences, making better transitions, and clarifying what you think you are saying versus what the reader may hear. They are also tasked with verifying all citations are made properly, and flagging any that you need to address. You will receive the fully edited manuscript with instructions from us on how to accept/reject any and all suggestions. If you have any questions, your editor will help you, as this is a partnership. 


Relax Editing 

This type of edit is reserved for those authors who do not see themselves writing another book, or perhaps are simply needing someone else do this work. In a Relax edit, the editor will do all of the same things in the description above, except for clarification questions (which the editor will discuss on a phone call with the author), and will still use Track Changes. However, when finished, the editor will accept all recommendations, incorporate anything received from the phone call with the author, and make a clean, ready-to-publish manuscript. Both the Track Changes and the Finished copy are sent to the author for approval. Any changes needed can be made, but usually the author is pleased. 


Proofreading/Electronic Edit  

Proofreading is the last part of the editing process and is the final check for spelling and grammar. A Proofread or Electronic Edit (if that is what your package calls for) is a final review of your manuscript with a fine-toothed comb to catch any missed typos or grammar mistakes.  


Hiring and Working with an Editor  

While some self-published authors choose to skip the editing process and opt to self-edit, we highly recommend having your book professionally edited. As authors, it’s hard to see mistakes in our own writing, so having several pairs of eyes on your manuscript is beneficial. At EABooks we offer a free sample edit, where we send your manuscript off to one of our editors chosen to match your genre and personality. They will do a sample on up to ten pages, using Track Changes. When we return this to you with a note from the editor, you will see what the editor recommends, how they work, and what the quote will be for the entire project. There is no cost for this, and with the sample, the author usually sees how much better their book will be after editing. Of course, in the end, you are the final say and can choose to use your own editor. Either way, we know that an edited book sells better than one that is not professionally edited. 


Steps After Editing  

Once you’ve worked with your editor to revise and rework your manuscript, the publishing process is next. This includes cover design and interior formatting. Formatting stylizes your book for distribution and print, focusing on margins, page layout, and font. It’s important to have a fully edited piece before moving on to formatting, as only minor edits are done in this phase. Learn more about the entire self-publishing process here.  


EABooks Publishing: Partnering in Editing and Self-Publishing 

EABooks Publishing is your self-publishing partner, helping you edit, distribute, and market your book. We specialize in working with Christian authors and help you share the story God gave you. Review our publishing packages, then contact us here. We provide free 15-minute consultations and manuscript evaluations. Let us help you share your story with the world.

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