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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Karen Cioffi Gives the Lowdown on Editing Terms


Karen Cioffi is helping me celebrate the release of the second edition of The Frugal Editor as a paperback with this article clarifying the different terms the publishing industry uses for the different levels of editing. I offer something similar in the first chapter of The Frugal Editor, too, but I like the way Karen stresses the importance of editing material other than a book because that’s something most authors feel they must do themselves. Editors like Karen certainly include services for these other documents and she has that extra dash of marketing knowledge required to do a good job of editing documents like query letters, cover letters, media kits, etc.  
 


So What Do These Terms Mean?

Copy Editing, Line Editing, Substantive Editing

By Karen Cioffi

If you’re an author, freelance writer, content marketer, healthcare professional, or business owner, chances are you will occasionally need professional editing for:

A book
Webcopy
A guest post on a ‘heavy hitter’ blog
An academic or health article you will be submitting to a journal or magazine
An essay
A thesis

When the occasion arises, it’d be a good idea to know which type of editing your manuscript needs. Hopefully, the descriptions below will give you an idea.

Copy Editing

This is the bare-bottom basic of mechanical editing. It covers:

•    Spelling (includes checking for homonyms)
•    Punctuation (periods, commas, semicolons, dashes, etc.)
•    Typos
•    Grammar (verb tense, numerals, etc.)

A homonym is a word that sounds just like another word, but has a different spelling and meaning. (e.g., hear/here/hair; it’s/its, to/too/two). These are words that spell-check won’t usually pick up.

Line Editing

This is the mechanical aspect of editing. Line editing includes checking for:

•    Copy Editing
•    Run-on sentences
•    Sentence clarity
•    Overuse of adverbs and adjective
•    Words used to begin sentences and paragraphs
•    And, more

It also checks for certain inconsistencies, such as:

•    Are the chapter titles all written the same?
•    Are names, such as countries and states, treated the same?

The manuscript is checked line-by-line. This is one of the most common editing requests.

Substantive Editing (Content Editing)

According to the CMS [Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, 2.46]:

“Substantive editing deals with the organization and presentation of content. It involves rewriting to improve style or eliminate ambiguity, reorganizing or tightening, recasting tables, and other remedial activities. (It should not be confused with developmental editing, a more drastic process; see 2.45.)”

This form of editing is in-depth. This is where the entire story is checked, line-by-line. It includes:

•    Line Editing
•    Rephrasing/rewriting sentences
•    Rephrasing/rewriting paragraphs
•    Checking for tight writing
•    Check POV (point of view)
•    Checking plot credibility
•    Advising if particular content (sentence/paragraph/story) is appropriate for children
•    Checking for clarity
•    Checking for readability
•    And much more

This form of editing is time consuming and can take up to four weeks.

NOTE: It often happens that the author doesn’t realize the needs of her/his manuscript. Your editor should let you know if it would be a good idea to ‘take it up a notch.’ Obviously, it’s the author’s choice, but the editor should let you know.

The reason? What’s the point of paying for line editing if the story’s structure needs an overhaul.

Ask around (your writing buddies, groups, social media networks) to find a professional editor to take your piece to the next level.

ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER

Karen Cioffi is a writer (including editing and ghostwriting) and online marketing instructor. To keep up with must-know and easy-to-do writing and marketing tips and strategies, get free access to The Writing World (http://thewritingworld).

And, be sure to stop by Writers on the Move (http://writersonthemove.com) for articles from a talented and experienced group of writers and book marketers.
 
ABOUT THE FRUGAL EDITOR

There are gremlins out there determined to keep your work from being published, your book from being promoted. Resolved to embarrass you before the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for you—they lurk in your subconscious and the depths of your computer programs. Whether you are a new or experienced author, The Frugal Editor will help you present whistle-clean copy (from a one-page cover letter to your entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say “yea” or “nay.”

“Absolutely essential for beginning writers and a necessary reminder for the more advanced.  The mentor you've been looking for.  This book won't collect dust!”~Christina Francine, review for Fjords Review
 

"Using the basic computer and editing tricks from The Frugal Editor, authors can prevent headaches and save themselves time—and even money—during the editing process. It’s well worth your effort to learn them." ~ Barbara McNichol, Barbara McNichol Editorial

“Writers and editors have a true friend in Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Her word smarts, her publishing savvy, and her sincere commitment to authors and editors make The Frugal Editor a must-have resource.” ~ June Casagrande, author of The Best Punctuation Book, Period and Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies (Penguin)

"The Frugal Editor has become an appendage to me." ~ Donna M. McDine, award-winning children's author www.donnamcdine.com / www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com
 
 
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The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor who writes and curates this blog also edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-: 

2 comments:

Karen Cioffi-Ventrice said...

Carolyn, Thanks for hosting my article and I look forward to reading the revised Frugal Editor!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I'm excited to finally have it available in paper. Formatting it was a bear because of all the sidebars. Hope you find lots of things you can use, Karen, in your burgeoning career.
Hugs,

Carolyn

Great Editing Is Great Marketing

Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters