My Editing Process


Ever wanted to know what I’m actually doing when I work on a project? Read on to find out my general process for beta reads, line edits, manuscript critiques, and developmental edits. All editors structure their time and projects differently, but if you’re working with me, this is generally what I do!

 

Beta Reads

Once I receive the manuscript and answers to any follow-up questions I might have, the project goes through the following steps:

  1. I check the manuscript’s general formatting to make sure it's readable. I also check the manuscript’s word count to make sure it aligns with what we talked about (both to make sure I have the complete story, and also so that I can invoice properly).

  2. Using a template, I set up the beta reader report.

  3. I import the manuscript into Vellum and format it into an e-book, which I then send to my Kindle for reading.

  4. I read the book from start to finish, taking notes on characters, story, writing style, and details as appropriate.

  5. Once I’m done reading, I remove the e-book from my devices (except my computer) and make sure I move all my notes into the beta reader report.

  6. I pull any text examples I need from the manuscript and double-check any details I wanted to search for.

  7. I send out an invoice for the project.

  8. Using my notes and my impressions from the novel, I write the beta reader report, then I go over it again for proofreading and to add any final thoughts.

  9. Once the invoice is paid and my report is complete, I send it back to the client.

  10. After I'm sure the client won't come back with any follow-up questions, I remove their manuscript from my computer and archive the beta reader report.

Line Edits

Once I receive the manuscript and answers to any follow-up questions I might have, the project goes through the following steps:

  1. If the line edit is being performed on a novel-length project, I create a style sheet for it using a template.

  2. I double check that I’ve confirmed the style of English, tense, and point of view of the novel with the client, and I note it all down in the style sheet.

  3. I check the manuscript’s general formatting to make sure it's readable. I also check the manuscript’s word count to make sure it aligns with what we talked about (both to make sure I have the whole story, and also so that I can invoice properly).

  4. I perform some automatic and manual pre-edit steps on the manuscript, such as making sure all single quotes and double quotes are curly, removing spaces at the beginnings and ends of paragraphs, making sure chapters are in the right order and designated as headers, etc. These are performed as untracked changes, and I leave a comment in the manuscript describing them to the client.

  5. I turn on Track Changes (very important!) and start my line-by-line editing, filling out the style sheet whenever I come across an important detail that needs recording.

  6. When I’m nearly done with the line edit (usually around the 90% mark), I send an invoice for the project.

  7. When I’m finished with my own line-by-line edits, I run through a bunch of post-edit tasks. These include:

  8. Using Word’s spellcheck feature and going through its suggestions.

  9. Using Word’s grammar check feature and going through its suggestions.

  10. Doing some searching on my list of problematic words (words I noticed were frequently misspelled or misused in the manuscript) to make sure I caught them all.

  11. Running a couple of Word macros to check the spellings of proper nouns, check for UK/US word usage, and a few other detail-oriented things.

  12. Once all editing tasks are complete, I write up an email to the client, often including some general notes about the manuscript or explanations for what I may have changed or edited.

  13. Once the invoice is paid and my editing is complete, I send the manuscript and style sheet back to the client.

Manuscript Critiques

Once I receive the manuscript and answers to any follow-up questions I might have, the project goes through the following steps:

  1. I check the manuscript’s general formatting to make sure it's readable. I also check the manuscript’s word count to make sure it aligns with what we talked about (both to make sure I have the whole story, and also so that I can invoice properly).

  2. Using a template, I set up the editorial report.

  3. I read the manuscript from start to finish, taking notes on characters, plot, pacing, detail/world-building, and writing style as appropriate.

  4. If I hadn’t already done this in Step 3, I pull any text examples I need from the manuscript and double-check any details I wanted to search for or was confused about.

  5. Using my notes and my impressions from the novel, I write the editorial report, frequently referring to the manuscript in order to analyze the story and make suggestions.

  6. I send out an invoice for the project.

  7. I go over the editorial report again for proofreading and to add any final thoughts/make sure I covered everything I wanted.

  8. Once the invoice is paid and my editorial report is complete, I send it back to the client.

  9. After I'm sure the client won't come back with any follow-up questions, I remove their manuscript from my computer and archive the editorial report.

Developmental Edits

Once I receive the manuscript and answers to any follow-up questions I might have, the project goes through the following steps:

  1. I check the manuscript’s general formatting to make sure it's readable. I also check the manuscript’s word count to make sure it aligns with what we talked about (both to make sure I have the whole story, and also so that I can invoice properly).

  2. Using a template, I set up the editorial report.

  3. I read the manuscript from start to finish, doing two things:

  4. Taking notes on characters, plot, pacing, detail/world-building, and writing style as appropriate.

  5. Leaving frequent comments and highlights in the manuscript for the client in order to demonstrate issues.

  6. If I hadn’t already done this in Step 3, I pull any text examples I need from the manuscript and double-check any details I wanted to search for or was confused about.

  7. I go through each and every comment I made in the manuscript to make sure it says what I need it to, is relevant, and is helpful. I sometimes add more comments or highlights at this stage.

  8. Using my notes, the manuscript comments, and my impressions from reading, I write the editorial report, frequently referring to the manuscript in order to analyze the story and make suggestions.

  9. I send out an invoice for the project.

  10. I go the editorial report over again for proofreading and to add any final thoughts/make sure I covered everything I wanted.

  11. Once the invoice is paid and my editorial report is complete, I send it back to the client.

  12. After I'm sure the client won't come back with any follow-up questions, I remove their manuscript from my computer and archive the editorial report.

 

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my editing process! If I sound like I'm the right editor for you, feel free to contact me at angela@lambdaediting.com.