Everything you need to know about book editing

Some authors seem to think that book editing is all about checking for typos and grammatical errors.

In fact, they even label editors as a glorified spellchecker.

This is what most authors seem to get it wrong when it comes to book editing.

First of all, book editors don’t get paid handsomely just for checking typos and grammatical errors.

Editors can do so much more than that. For one, they can help you to identify what’s missing from your story. It’s hard to see what seems to be missing from the story from the author’s perspective.

So, having an editor is like having another eye to take a look at your manuscript and tell you all the things that you need to fix.

Editors can also help with making sure that each sentence is connecting from one another. Doing that requires a technical skill which the editors possess.

In a nutshell, editors can make your book even better. It’s because of this reason why many authors spend the bulk of their money on book editing.

If you want to sell truckloads of book, then you need to be sure that your book is in the best quality. And one of the way to ensure that is to hire an editor. 


Different Types of book editing service Available

Not all editors are created equal. Knowing the difference will help you to identify what book editing service you need for your book. Depending on the book you write, you may need to hire more than one editor to work on your book.

Structural Editing

This type of editing is known as developmental editing or substantive editing. With this type of editing, the editor will find the loopholes in your story and providing you with the suggestion on how to improve your story and the characters.

It takes awhile for the editor to complete the structural editing. And it’s because of this same reason that the structural editor will only work on a few manuscripts in a year.

So, keep this consideration in mind as well if you’re planning to hire the best editor for your genre. There’s a high chance that they’re fully-booked for the rest of the year.

If you’re having a problem with seeing your story and the characters from the reader’s perspective, then the structural editor can help you with that.

Line-by-Line Editing

This type of editing is also known as copyediting. Just like the name implied, the editor will edit your manuscript line-by-line, fixing your sentence structures and grammatical errors.

Most authors will hire the line editor after they already completed their structural editing.

Since the editor only needs to fix the sentence structures and grammatical errors, it doesn’t take that long for you to receive your manuscript back. And it costs less too compared to structural editing.

The good news is you can do line-by-line editing yourself with the help of an app. I’ll be talking about it specifically in the copyediting and proofreading section of this guide.

But if you can’t bear to do the line editing yourself, then it doesn’t hurt for you to hire an editor just for that.

Where to Hire An Editor

Now that you already know the different type of book editing service, it’s time for you to find a professional editor who can work on your book. Fortunately, finding a professional editor is no longer a hard thing to do thanks to these websites.


When it comes to hiring the best editor for your book, nothing beats Reedsy. For those of you who are new to Reedsy, it’s a marketplace where you can hire people to help you with your book publishing process.

What I like about Reedsy is that they already do the vetting process for you. Now you can rest assured that the people you hire there indeed have years in working experience in the publishing industry.

This is important for an editor since you don’t just want an editor who works with indie authors. But you also want an editor who has experience working in the traditional publishing house as well.

Apart from the editor, you can also hire people to do the book cover design and other things such as web development at Reedsy too.

NY Book Editors

Ever dreamed of wanting to have an editor who works on the best-selling titles to work on your book? Now you can have that with NY Book Editors.

NY Book Editors allow you to connect with highly experienced, award-winning editors.

The process to connect with the editors are simple too. All you need to do is to tell NY Book Editors about your book and you will receive a profile of a highly experienced editor that matches your book. You can then get a trial edit just to see whether you get the right partner for your work.

Of course, you can also fill out the form at the bottom of the website to receive the editor’s profile within four business days. It’s not necessary for you to commit to their service if you don’t want to.

Can I edit the book myself?

Of course, the answer is yes. In fact, I recommend you to self-edit the book first before submitting your book to the editor. Doing a self-edit on your book can help with reducing the editing cost too.

If you’d like to self-edit the book yourself, here are the things you can do to ensure that you don’t miss anything critical in your manuscript.

In case you’re wondering, I always do this whenever I self-edit my book. And it works!

Tip #1: Don’t edit as you write

Some of us may have the urge to edit as we write. Heck, even I’m also guilty of this as well. I don’t see anything wrong with editing as you write. It’s okay to edit a few lines in between. But if you feel like you want to rewrite the whole chapter, you may as well hold that thought and save it for the next time.

Doing so not only will help you with finishing writing that first draft fast. But it will also make you feel less stressed out too since you’re already completed your first draft.

Tip #2: Leave your manuscript untouched after you finish writing

It’s easier for you to edit your book if you leave it for a while. The reason for that is because you’re able to see your manuscript from a fresh perspective, making it easier for you to tackle the editing process. It also helps with making the editing a fun process too.

You can leave your manuscript for as long as you want. As for me, I tend to leave it for a few weeks to a month before I have a look at the first draft again.


Tip #3: Read your manuscript aloud

I find that reading my manuscript aloud can help me not just with identifying the missing pieces in the storyline. But it can also help me to identify whether the dialogue sounds natural or not.

If you don’t feel like reading your manuscript aloud, you can also use text-to-speech software to do the same. 

How Many Times You Should Edit Your Book

You can edit your book as many times you want until you feel satisfied with it. But I tend to keep it to three rounds of editing since I know that I can’t keep editing my book forever. Here’s what I do during each round of my editing process.

Round 1

The first round of editing is more about doing major editing for the storyline. So, the edited chapter tends to be a lot different than the first draft.

For some reason, I tend to have better clarity on how I want the story to be at the end of my first draft. So, I have to make major changes during the first round of editing as a result of the clarity that I had back then.

This is also the time where I will finalize what scene I want to happen in each chapter and how the story flows from one chapter to another.

Round 2

The second round of editing will be about refining the scenes and the dialogues so then the scenes and the dialogues will be a lot clearer to the readers.

Since I love to include facts into my book, I will also rewrite the parts where there are facts to make them easy to understand. I’m writing a novel, not a textbook. So, I need to present the facts in an entertaining way.

Of course, I will also add more details to the scenes and the dialogues if necessary.

It’s also the time where I will finalize the whole storyline. And I won’t be changing any parts of the story anymore after that.

Round 3

The third round of editing will be about to double check the flow of the story and making sure that I’m not missing anything one last time.

It’s also the time where I will do copyediting and proofreading. I still have to rewrite some parts of the story since what I try to convey may already disappear during the copyediting process.

But it’s nothing major, though.