Stages of Editing

Editing? What is it?

How many times have you read a book, magazine, newspaper, or blog post with numerous misspelled words or grammatical errors?The errors could have been avoided if an editor had been able to edit the text before it was published. Editing is the process of revising or correcting materials for publication.

Editing Process

Editors go through several rounds of editing in order to prepare a manuscript for publication “once to do the initial editing, easily the longest stage; a second time to review, refine, and sometimes correct the editing; and a third time after the author’s review” (Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition, p71-72).

The Initial Editing Stage

The first editing stage, oftentimes called Content Editing, is the longest stage of editing and can take several weeks for the editor to complete. During this time, the editor will reread the text notating any necessary revisions or notes. At times the publisher will have multiple editors work on the manuscript during the content editing stage. Content editing consists of two different types of editing: Developmental and Substantive.

Developmental Editing is most commonly used when editing non-fiction manuscripts; however, it can be used for fiction manuscripts. For non-fiction manuscripts, the editor works with the author to strengthen the argument, improve readability, and confirm ideas flow logically. For fiction manuscripts, the editor will work on improving plot, character, pacing, emotional connections, etc. The editor and author will work closely together to edit the manuscript during this stage.

Once the editor has completed the developmental editing, she moves to Substantive Editing (line or copy editing). The copy editing stage is where the editor works directly in your manuscript either using Microsoft’s Track Changes feature or physically marking the manuscript with proofreader’s marks. During the substantive edit, the editor looks for spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, word usage, style and format, clarity of the text, fact-checking, rearranging paragraphs, sections or chapters, POV, dialogue, and checking permissions. The editor spends the majority of her time working on the substantive edit.

The editor will create a style sheet and a reader’s report or editorial letter during the substantive editing stage. The style sheet and editorial letter assist the author, proofreader, and publisher with the final publication. The style sheet includes an alphabetical list of specific spellings, capitalizations, and any other specific style for the manuscript. The editorial letter will contain the editor’s thoughts about the manuscript including any issues with plot, characters, scenes, and dialogue.

The Final Editing Stage

Proofreading is the final stage of editing. Once the editor has edited the manuscript and the author has reviewed and approved the changes, the manuscript is sent to the printers to have a proof of the final book printed. The proofreader will review the proof notating any discrepancies from the final edit and the text ready for print. The proofreader will also note any discrepancies in page markup, layout, color separation, or type. The proofreader will also check all pages for errors including the copyright page, title page, table of contents, appendices, tables and figures, glossary, and index.


Editing is a lengthy and tedious process as the editor reads through the manuscript notating revisions to plot, character development, grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, etc. Editing is an important part of the publishing process, and it is the one part that is often skipped. The question you as the author need to ask is: do I want my manuscript to be a perfect when published? If you answered, “Yes!” then you need to find an editor or proofreader.

2017 Reading Challenge

What I Plan to Read for 2017


In 2016, I set my goal to read 75 books for the year. I ended up having a major reading slump and didn’t read any books for almost two months. This year I decided to set my reading goal for 2017 for 60 books. I will always try to read more than what I challenge myself, but I don’t want to pressure myself like I did in 2016.

My List of Books for 2017

  1. The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
  2. Henry V by William Shakespeare
  3. My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner
  4. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  5. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
  6. Are You fully Charged: the 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life by Tom Rat
  7. Blue Voyage by Diana Renn
  8. Girl From Above by Pippa Dacosta
  9. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  10. Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
  11. Small Business for Dummies by Eric Tyson and Jim Schell
  12. Villette by Charlotte Bront
  13. My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop by Ronald Rice
  14. The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Ready by Stuart Kelly
  15. A Passion for Books: A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Lore, and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring For, and Appreciating Books by Harold RabinowitzRob KaplanRay Bradbury
  16. Read This Next: 500 of the Best Books You’ll Ever Read by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
  17. A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes
  18. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsk
  19. The Iliad by Homer
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  22. Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity by Mike Robbins
  23. Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman
  24. The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee 
  25. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet
  26. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  27. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  28. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  29. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  30. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafo
  31. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  32. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  33. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  34. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  35. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  36. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbon
  37. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  38. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  39. The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places by Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass
  40. The Story of English by Robert McCrum, Robert Macneil and William Cran
  41. Making Memory Matter: Strategies of Remembrance in Contemporary Art by Lisa Saltzman
  42. Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
  43. Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates
  44. Love’s Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature by Martha C. Nussbaum
  45. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  46. The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward
  47. Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books by H.J. Jackson
  48. The Secret of Pembroke Park by Julie Klasse
  49. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  50. Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French
  51. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  52. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan
  53. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  54. Thirteen by Kelley Armstron
  55. The Pleasures of Reading in the Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs
  56. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  57. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
  58. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  59. Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
  60. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adam

How many books do you plan to read in 2017, and what they are? Tell me in the comments below.