A critique is an overall assessment of a manuscript, pinpointing its strengths and weaknesses. Specific problem areas are flagged and general suggestions for improvement made. A professional opinion of the manuscript’s potential for acceptance by an agent and/or royalty-paying publisher may be given if offered/requested.
2. Developmental/Substantive/Content Editing
The “big picture” edit, this is the first round of editing for a manuscript. A content editor:
• Identifies problems with overall clarity or accuracy
• Seeks to achieve clarity of subject, logic, and consistency by identifying cloudy explanations, vague assumptions, and faulty logic
• Evaluates the order of the text and recommends ways to reorganize
• Identifies gaps in content, structure, and style
• Analyzes sentences for structure, syntax, and rhythm
• Suggests clearer explanations, anecdotes, analogies, or illustrations
• Proposes additions or deletions of headings
• Identifies outdated content and factual errors
• Points out content that doesn’t adhere to the theme, tone, or marketing focus of the manuscript
For a fiction manuscript, a content edit also identifies problems in:
• Point of view
• Character development
• Lack of conflict/tension
• Too much (or too little) description
• Showing and telling
3. Line Editing*
Line editing looks at words, sentences, and paragraphs on a line-by-line basis to check for clarity, flow, and tone.
*Basic line edits are often included in a substantive edit. Moderate and in-depth copyedits may also include a line edit. If you would like to get a line edit for your manuscript through the Christian Editor Connection, request a copyedit and specify that you would like a heavy copyedit with line editing.
A basic copyedit focuses on PUGS—punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. It may also include:
• Making sure material is logical and understandable
• Correcting continuity problems
• Making sure sources are properly cited for all statistics and quotations
• Flagging inaccuracies and inconsistencies
In a moderate copyedit, the editor may also look for:
• Sentence clarity
• Word choice
• Maintenance of tone/voice
An in-depth or heavy copyedit could also include some line editing, such as:
• A review for consistency of style and mood or presentation of content
• Analysis of the point of view (fiction)
• Cross-checking references, figures, tables, equations, etc. (nonfiction)
• Pointing out items that may require permission from the copyright holder
A proofread comes after the content edit and copyedit. Proofreaders make sure nothing was missed in the previous edits. A proofreader looks for:
• Typographical errors
• Misspelled/misused words
• Grammatical problems
• Punctuation mistakes (including abbreviations and capitalization)
• Inconsistent format
• Spacing errors
• Specialized terms, character names (fiction), locations
• Numerical and alphabetical sequences
• Vertical and horizontal alignment of set-off text (including paragraph indents)
• References to illustrations, tables, and figures within the text
If a manuscript contains Scripture quotations, the proofreader may, upon request, look up the quotes to verify that they have been copied accurately and that the reference given is the correct one for that quote (including the version being used).
A ghostwriter uses text, notes, outlines, and/or transcriptions provided by the author to write the manuscript. New material is obtained from the author as needed. The author retains all rights and receives all royalties, and only the author is listed as author of the book.
A coauthor/collaborator works with the author to write the book together. The collaborator may be listed as a coauthor of the book.
A mentor works closely with an author, teaching writing and self-editing techniques. Mentors may also help prepare a proposal and recommend agents and/or publishers. A mentor performs many of the same services as a developmental content editor, copyeditor, and proofreader and may work with the author through numerous projects over a long period of time.
8. Beta Reading
Beta readers offer a reader’s perspective for a manuscript that has been edited and is near ready for publication.
9. Spanish Translating
Translating from Spanish to English or English to Spanish, ensuring that words, terms, and phrases accurately reflect the intended meaning of the original.
• Data Entry