There are several stages to the editing process, which often confuses writers, so here are descriptions of each stage to help you figure out what you’re ready for.
DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING: Prior to copy or substantive editing, the developmental process addresses issues relating to your book’s structure, its table of contents, hooks (aka unique selling points) and themes, the way the material is organized and written, the quality/clarity of the content and its relevance to its target audience. It may also include looking at comparable books that have been successful. Developmental editing is like couples counseling for you and your book, in which I look at the book you’ve got and explore how to turn it into the book it wants to be.
SUBSTANTIVE EDITING: Also known as “content” or “line” editing, this process examines a project line-by-line, to ensure that the voice, structure, content, language and style are consistent and of the highest quality. At this level, I look closely at your writing on the sentence level and ask questions like “Is this what you really want to say here? Might there be a better way?” and make suggestions you can keep or discard.
COPY EDITING: Prior to proofreading, this last step in the editing process assures that syntax is smooth, and grammar, wording, and punctuation are appropriate. At this stage, I may still suggest some reorganization, changes to chapter titles and subheadings, and point out lapses in logic or sequence. THIS is what people usually think of, when they think of “editing.”
Jesica is educated, sharp and insightful. She’ll love your project as if it was her own, and bring all her skill to assuring that it reads as clearly and powerfully as possible. She’s all about getting to the essence of your ideas and your words, and has helped me clarify what I really want to say. Her support has given me a tremendous amount of confidence in my work, and reaffirmed the importance of having it out in the world for people to read.
Gawain D, Priest, Author