True or false? There is more than one kind of editor.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that’s a gimme. TRUE! Most people think of copy editors when they picture an editor. A copy editor looks at grammar and mechanics, ensures clarity in your manuscript, and looks for consistency in elements like voice and tense. A copy editor is looking at a micro view of your work and comes into the picture when you have a finished manuscript.
A developmental editor takes a macro view and looks at the bigger picture of your project. What are you trying to achieve with your text, and are you achieving it? A developmental editor works with you during the writing process. That’s our focus this week.
A developmental editor takes a macro view and looks at the bigger picture of your project. - @jodibrandon
What Do They DO?
Maybe you have a topic but not an outline. A developmental editor can help.
Maybe you have an outline but need help creating a writing schedule to stay on track. A developmental editor can help.
Maybe you have an outline and a writing schedule, and you need help making sure your writing supports your book goals. A developmental editor can help.
Remember that developmental editors are interested in big picture of your book. They’ll ask questions such as these:
- Does the table of contents flow in a logical way? Are chapters/sections in the right order?
- Is the tone appropriate for the intended audience? (A book for beginners shouldn’t have too much jargon, for example.)
- Does your writing schedule/plan need to be revisited?
- Is the manuscript missing relevant information about the topic (or have unnecessary information that could be cut)?
Remember that every editor works a little differently, so you’ll want to be clear about JUST what your package includes before signing a contract. - @jodibrandon
Remember that every editor works a little differently, so you’ll want to be clear about JUST what your package includes before signing a contract. These are some of the tasks your developmental editor might help you with over the course of your time together (generally a few months minimum):
- Turning your ideas into a working structure/outline for your book.
- Creating a research plan.
- Setting writing goals (usually weekly).
- Identifying beta readers[LINK BLOG-41] and what to ask them.
- Crafting a revision plan[LINK BLOG-96].
- Providing ongoing feedback on your drafted text.
- Answering your questions about writing, editing, publishing, and launching/marketing your book.
- Developing a book positioning study[LINK BLOG-103].
Your developmental editor will create a project plan that outlines your time together so that you know what’s coming (and when). Depending on your progress, this plan will be revised as you go.
A Rose by Any Other Name…
Don’t be surprised if you hear a developmental called any of the following:
- Book coach
- Substantive editor
- Structural editor
- Content editor
The tasks that you’re working on are more important than this person’s title.
Let me know in the comments: Have you worked with a developmental editor before?