The process of preparing a book for publication generally involves three phases:
You may have given your work to friends or family to read, but eventually you need to pass it to a professional editor who will study the manuscript with a trained eye.
This involves looking at the 'big picture' of the book and considering whether the plot and premise works. Maybe sections need adding, rearranging or cutting out in order to make the text flow at the right pace and to keep the reader engaged in your writing.
Writers naturally fear this process. As one of my authors said: 'It's like handing your work in at school and waiting for it to come back marked in red pen.' My approach is that this is very much your book, and that my suggestions and edits are pointers to show you show you ways to improve the structure of your novel that make it a more interesting experience for the reader. I make suggestions based on my knowledge and experience of how storytelling works. But it is your story and your writing, so you choose whether to adopt all, some or none of my suggestions.
Sheena has maintained the integrity of my work demonstrating an understanding of what I was trying to achieve whilst providing a professional overview of the commercial viability of the finished project. I am so happy to have reached the final stages of this process with the best possible version of the story I want to tell.
STEP 1 - Developmental Editing
Once the structure and flow of your book is sorted out, you are ready for the copy edit.
This step looks at the writing in more detail. It basically looks at the 'nuts and bolts' of the text.
A style sheet will be created which will contain all the decisions about formatting, layout, punctuation, and spelling of certain words so that everything is consistent. Also, all the facts about characters, timings and the time-line of the book will be checked. (You don't want your main character to have blue eyes on page 5 and brown eyes on page 20. Nor do you want it to be summer on one page and spring on the next.)
Again, communication needs to continue through this process remembering, as always, that this is your book. Do you want your character to have blue or brown eyes?
This step takes more time than the others which is why it tends to be more expensive, but is crucial in making your book successful.
STEP 2 - Copy Editing
STEP 3 - Proofreading
This is the final stage in preparing your book. Proofreading is the process of making a final check of the text - in detail. The spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting and layout will all be scrutinised again at this point. This stage is generally about checking that all the decisions made in the copy edit have been carried out, rather than making further decisions.
At the end of this process, your book should be ready to present to a publisher or to move on towards self-publishing.