What are the methods of editing?

editorial_booksEditing may be done using one of three methods:

  1. Hard copy (pages sent by mail)
  2. Electronic editing (files sent by e-mail)
  3. Indirect editing (such as websites or published books)

Hard-copy Editing

An author may send the editor printed material (such as a full or partial manuscript) to edit or proofread. A publishing house may send “galleys”—printed pages that reflect what the published book will look like, with the exception of any mistakes the proofreader finds.

Unless you request otherwise, hard-copy edits will be made using standard proofreading symbols.

For book manuscripts, punctuation is corrected using The Chicago Manual of Style; spelling is corrected using Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (the most recent editions) because those are the industry-standard references for book publishers in the United States. For articles in newspapers or journalistic magazines, The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary are used.

The edited hard copy is mailed to the author or publisher, who makes changes in his/her document as he/she deems appropriate.

Electronic Editing

You send material to an editor via email attachment (in Microsoft Word). If there is a compatibility issue, files may be sent in Rich Text Format or whatever program you and the editor both have.

Track Changes

With this feature selected, every change the editor makes to the document is marked in red (or whatever color is selected) so you can easily see the suggested additions and deletions.

When you open files that have been edited with this feature, you simply place the cursor over one of the changes and right-click. A menu box pops up that allows you to “accept” or “reject” that change. To accept or reject multiple changes, you can highlight the changes (making sure the beginning and end of the highlight are both on a change), right-click, then choose “accept” or “reject.” To accept all changes made in a document, click “accept all changes.”

Additional comments may be added in a couple of different ways. The Track Changes feature allows the editor to insert comments that are “hidden” unless you turn on the “show comments” option. Comments can be shown either in “balloons” in the right margin or in a box at the bottom of the page, depending on which option you choose. If you prefer, the editor may insert comments in brackets within the text.

Without Track Changes

Electronic editing may by done without the Track Changes feature. The “strikeout” font can be used for anything the editor believes should be deleted. Additions, changes, and comments can be made using a different-colored font and/or the “highlight” feature.

Indirect Editing

You may want to hire an editor to edit website content or a book that has already been published. In these cases, you will need to discuss with the editor the best way to communicate what changes the editor recommends.

For example, for a published book, the editor could identify the page number, the paragraph number, and the line number within that paragraph (or just the page number and the line on the page).

For websites, the editor would identify the page by name and by URL (the website address specific to that page), then by the location of the change being recommended.

If you’re ready to hire a freelance editor:

AUTHORS Seeking Editors

PUBLISHERS Seeking Editors


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