- Jun 2020
I'd like to strike a blow for line editing. From Peter Ginna's brilliant What Editors Do:
A line edit dials down to the paragraph/sentence/word level. As we said, it’s usually a much more expensive job than a developmental edit. A line editor will go through the pages of your book with a fine-toothed comb, looking for dialogue that feels awkward, sentences that don’t quite work, repetition, and more. Obviously this happens when the bulk of the work in terms of plot, character, beginnings, middles, and ends is done. It’s not that a line edit can’t address the bigger picture. But in most publishing houses an editor simply won’t do a line edit until the bigger issues are addressed, so as not to have to do the same work twice. It’s smart to stick with that order in self-publishing too. Line edits may or may not come with an editorial letter. But be sure that the fee includes time for you to meet in person or talk on the phone once you’ve had a chance to digest the edits. Often the same person could do both a developmental edit and line edit, if that’s what you decide to pay for, but you will also need a copyeditor. Copyeditors are the grammarians, the fact-checkers, the formatting gurus, the identifiers of repetitive words and phrases. They are the ones who make a book as smooth as a fresh jar of Skippy. The one instance where you might not need a separate copyeditor is if you hire someone to do a line edit who does a copyedit simultaneously. Some people have both skills and can pull this off, though it’s rare.