While this post may speak a bit more to book authors, the message is the same for business owners; do not skimp on the review and editing process.
For Business Owners
Think about your marketing material, instructional booklets, social media posts, and yes, your website, article writing and blogging. Short-forms, single letters and numbers seem the norm to spell full words these days, especially in social media conversations. That said, be mindful this doesn’t translate to shortcuts in the way you communicate overall. Although there are circumstances and projects where self-review and editing is acceptable, there is wisdom, where you have the opportunity, to invite another pair of qualified eyes to proof your material. This might be an administrative assistant who excels in this. It could be a designer and/or editor you hire to oversee larger bodies of your work. Whether author or business owner, this attention to detail or lack thereof, can sometimes affect the next steps a prospective client or colleague is willing to take, such as staying on your website or blog site to learn more about your work, looking you up on social media, or hiring you for your services.
Content is still of the highest importance. Without getting into specific types of editing in this post, suffice to say there’s a big difference between just proofreading a manuscript, copy or line editing for sentence and paragraph structure, etc., substantive editing, rewriting, and ghostwriting. There are many layers to editing and proofreading manuscripts. Typically following a manuscript evaluation, here is my order of preference in most cases:
1. Big picture review (fixing grammatically only if a distraction to this initial process). We’re looking for story flow, how well content is connected and how efficiently the author transitions from one chapter or thought to the next.
- Are there any areas that might lead to confusion for the reader? How can that be fixed?
- Is the order of the message, story or instructional, the best way to present content?
- Are there facts and research to check? This is good to look at in the beginning, as it can take a while for the author and/or editor to substantiate information, and properly record and notate it in the form of end notes, references, and/or bibliography section.
2. Editing. Once discussed and confirmed with the author, this is where we start to make specific editing recommendations, changes, and corrections to the manuscript. There can be several steps to this process. Sometimes rewriting can happen here if the author needs assistance with the overall message. Hopefully rewriting can be kept to a minimum; however, it often offers great reassurance to the author when they just can’t find the right words to articulate some of their points.
3. Proofreading. Depending on the complexity of the project and certainly one’s editing style and expertise, some of the spelling, word tense, grammar, and punctuation is done naturally during editing; however, it is more closely reviewed and corrected in the proofreading stage. This is usually the final step in editing, prior to the manuscript going to typesetting (for print) or formatting (for e-books). That said, another review is wise after the book has been typeset or formatted, as a final double-check and to ensure good spacing and text or illustration placement inside the book.
Bottom line: You are doing yourself and your intended audience a disservice skimping on editing.
Most good editors:
- Know their stuff.
- Take on projects they believe in.
- Know others in their field that have a wealth of knowledge which complements their own expertise.
- Provide kind and constructive feedback and guidance.
- Elevate the author’s voice in the best way possible—so it still sounds like them, only better.
- Are worth proper investment.
- Some are even writers themselves.
Here’s to good editors! And yes, we have an amazing team of them here at I C Publishing. As always, we invite you to keep in touch via social media, share your comments or questions via our Let’s Talk section or right here on our blog in the area below. If you’re inquiring about a quote or just requesting a bit of information, to assist us in serving you best, be sure to give us some specifics, such as genre of your book, word count, and so on. We’re here to educate, and help add clarity and worthwhile insight in layman’s terms.
Wishing you meaningful success always,
Sheri & the I C Publishing Team
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