Levels of editing
There are progressive levels of editing in the publishing process, which include some or all of the following:
These levels are sequential and cannot be reordered, or accomplished simultaneously, without creating confusion, extra work, and unnecessary expense. Editors wear many hats but if they wear more than one at a time they may look eccentric and feel distressed.
- manuscript assessment, peer review,
- manuscript development, substantive editing, structural editing,
- copyediting, line editing,
- page layout, desktopping,
Negotiating a brief
The term editing is nebulous and means different things to different people. It’s important to negotiate a brief for each editorial assignment. Editors have a duty of care to authors and publishers. Similarly, authors and publishers have a responsibility to know what they want of an editor.
Working with an editor
Editing is subjective. If the same manuscript is given to a hundred editors it will be edited a hundred different ways. Sometimes it’s appropriate for the editor to be invasive; however, this should always be negotiated with the author or publisher beforehand. Sometimes the best editing is the least editing and is both seamless and unrecognisable.