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Editing defined.

Editing and Book Terms

Writer, editors and publishers use style guides that standardize print publications. I use the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition.

Below are quotes from this style guide to help you better understand how I price my services and what is involved in the editing of your book.

Editing Terminology

There are two types of editing that I do on books. One is a Manuscript Edit and the other is a Developmental Edit. Here are some definitions from The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition:

“Manuscript editing, also called copyediting or line editing, requires attention to every word in a manuscript, a thorough knowledge of the style to be followed and the ability to make quick, logical, and defensible decisions. It is undertaken only when a manuscript has been accepted for publicaiton. It may include both mechanical editing and substantive editing. (pg. 71)

However, a “Developmental Edit “addresses more radically the content of a work, the way material should be presented, the need for more or less documentation and how it should be handled, and so on. Since editing of this kind may involve total rewriting or reorganization of a work, it should be done – if needed – before manuscript editing begins.” (pg. 71)

What is ‘Mechanical Editing?’

Mechanical editing, according to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, “refers to consistency in capitalization, spelling, hyphenation, table format, use of abbreviations, and so forth; correctness of punctuation, including ellipsis points, parentheses, and quotation marks; the way numbers are treated; consistency between text, tables, and illustrations; citation format; and other matters of style.” (pg. 72)

“Mechanical editing also includes attention to grammar, syntax and usage at the most basic level. (pg. 72)
What is ‘Substantive Editing?’

The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition states, “Substantive editing deals with the organization and presentation of existing content. It involves rephrasing for smoothness or to eliminate ambiguity, reorganizing or tightening, reducing or simplifying documentation, recasting tables, and other remedial activities.” (pg. 73)

Stages of Editing

Per The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, “Editors usually go through a manuscript three times – once to do the inital editing, easily the longest stage; a second time to review, refine, and sometimes correct the editing; and a third time after the author’s review.

“Careful editors begin the initial editing stage by looking through the entire document to assess the nature and scope of the work that will be required, to identify any matters that should be clarified with the author before editing begins, and to reduce the number of surprises that could cause delays if discovered later in the process.” (pg.71)

Elements of a Manuscript

A book has three divisions, according to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, Front Matter, Text and Back Matter.


Front matter can include the title page, table of contents, copyright page, dedication, epigraph, list of illustrations, foreward, preface, acknowledgements, introduction, abbreviations, chronology, etc.

The Text portion of your book obviously is what you have written, including your chapter title pages.

The Back Matter of your book can include, acknowledgements, appendix, second and subsequent appendixes, chronology, abbreviations, notes, glossary, bibliography or references, list of contributors, illustration credits, indexes.

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