It takes a lot of work to finish a book manuscript or to publish one. My goal is to support your journey to publication and help make your book a success.
I work with book authors and/or their publishers, designers and printers to produce the best book possible within the constraints of time, purpose and budget.
(And no, I do not ‘take over your writing’! It’s your book. My edits are suggestions and recommendations, but accepting them – or not – is your choice.)
Maybe the book is being published for your family to treasure, your profession to learn from, or the book-buying public to enjoy. You might be planning to self-publish it, or you might have decided to pitch it to an agent or traditional publisher.
Whatever your plan is, a quality publication from a quality manuscript is more likely to achieve your goals. And I can help you produce a quality manuscript.
Your purpose and your budget should guide your production decisions. I will work with you to determine the level of editorial support that best suits your project and circumstances. I may also be able to recommend other professionals – such as designers and proofreaders – to play a part in your book’s publishing journey.
Different types of editing
There are different levels of editing that I can apply to support your book’s publication journey.
(You don’t need to worry about which one to choose: that’s why we have a chat about what you’d like to achieve and how I can help you achieve it.)
But it can be helpful to know the following terms and definitions.
Developmental and structural editing
Bigger-picture functions that ensure the work has the most appropriate overall structure for its purpose, that its length and focus are suitable and that the way all its parts are arranged is the best for reaching and engaging its audience or readership.
Developmental editing usually applies to book manuscripts and refers to the collaboration between an editor and an author to help the plotline, characters and inherent point ‘develop’ into the best possible draft version, ready for further refinement. (This applies to non-fiction as well as fiction.)
Structural editing will look at the work’s cohesion, accessibility and navigation to make sure the reader will be able to ‘get into’ the text and connect with it.
Copyediting and line editing
What most people think of when they think about editing: the close-up, finely detailed, red-pen work. (Many editors combine the two when they copyedit. But it’s helpful to know that there are different skills being applied at this stage of your book’s production.)
Copyediting provides a detailed review of the language, form and grammar in the document to find and correct typographical errors, lapses in appropriate grammar or word usage, spelling mistakes, text misalignment, errors in number format or punctuation, general factual inaccuracies and style inconsistencies.
Line editing is the related close look at the order and logical flow of sentences and paragraphs. It puts the language under the microscope, line by line.
The very last check of documents, manuscripts, web content or page proofs prior to publication or distribution. This can involve checking the layout, page order and numbering, chapter or section numbering and titling, positioning of elements, heading levels and other formatting, and making sure that earlier edits have been accurately incorporated.
For a web page or other screen publication, it will involve checking links, metadata, navigation and other functionalities.
Proofreading is not copyediting! It’s a quality control step, not a polishing step. If your manuscript, website or document has not yet been professionally copyedited, proofreading will not be what’s needed. If you’re looking for a ‘proofread’, let’s chat about what exactly you want done: it may in fact be a copyedit.
Cover blurbs and author bios
Pick up any book and you’ll find a blurb on the back cover and an author bio somewhere (it may be inside the book).
These two simple texts are there to help sell your book. They need to catch the browsing reader’s interest immediately and hook them into buying the book. So they’re pretty important. And there’s a bit of a trick to it.
I can write that catchy blurb and bio for you. Or, if you prefer, help you write really effective ones yourself.
Images, copyright and permissions
Would you like pictures with that? Or quotations?
In general, responsibility for obtaining permission to reproduce another person’s writing, images or other graphic material usually rests with the author.
To do this, you’ll need to understand the basics of Australian copyright law, moral rights and fair dealing provisions; when to seek permission to use an image or to reproduce others’ writing; and how to go about getting those permissions.
Editors are not lawyers, nor are we qualified to provide legal advice. But I can help you by flagging potential issues and guiding you to appropriate resources, such as information on Australian copyright law and examples of how to seek permission.
(Here’s a freebie: stuff on the internet is not necessarily ‘in the public domain’. And no, it doesn’t matter if your book is ‘not for sale’: generally, you still need permission to use someone else’s work.)