Do you really need an editor?

Someone said to me recently, “My family and friends love my book. I don’t want to change a thing.” Have you ever asked a spouse or a friend, “Does this look good on me?” Chances are that they did not reply, “If the sleeves were a bit longer, the hem a bit shorter and the colour a bit brighter, it would be even better.”

Editors do not change a book. But they can provide valuable insight and suggestions to make the work better in its clarity, its grammar and its style. Editors serve the author — and the reader.

Editors are not critics. At note, we are readers as well as editors. We work with the text to ensure that voice is consistent, commas are used correctly, the message is clear and concise, the content is free from spelling errors and capital letters and hyphens are present when they should be, and a whole range of other nips and tucks to ensure the text is clean, correct and free from libelous material and unnecessary jargon and cliché.

Types of Editing:

Substantive Editing:

Looking at the work as a whole, whether it is a book, a thesis or a magazine article, substantive editing is all about the “big picture.” The goal is to assess and shape the text and to ensure that it is:

  • organized
  • readable
  • impactful
  • suitable for the intended audience
  • consistent in voice.

Copy Editing:

This is the mechanical and line-by-line type of editing that looks after the following:

  • corrections in language, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation
  • treatment of special elements such as charts, graphs, visual elements
  • consistency in language, repetition, appropriateness of acronyms and font changes.

At Note, when we copy edit we also edit for style and flow.

Proofreading:

After material has been edited for content and style and corrections have been made, the manuscript or article is typeset, or laid out in the form in which it will be produced. This format is referred to as a “proof.” This is the final stage of editing before the material goes to print and it is when:

  • page numbers, headers, footers, and the Table of Contents are checked
  • it is the time to ensure that no new errors have been introduced
  • to check that the typesetting has not created gaps or lost words in the text.

Publishing

The most common question asked by authors is “How can I publish my work?

There are two choices – mainstream publishing and self-publishing, also called indie publishing. At note, we assist you with understanding the pros and cons of both. We can help you decide which option would be the best choice for you and your project and work with you to find the solution that best suits your needs.

Here are some questions to consider when weighing your options:

  • For whom are you publishing the book? Will you be giving the book away or do you want to sell it? If you want to sell it, how will you reach your prospective customers?
  • If you are thinking about self-publishing, have you considered the time and resources required to complete the project?
  • How much control do you want over the project? Are you happy to pass it along to a publisher, or are you intent on overseeing the design, marketing and availability of the book?
  • Is your book a hobby or a money-making venture?
  • Do you have a timeline for the work? Does the book need to be available in time for a special event?
  • If you hope to have the book published by a mainstream publisher, have you researched publishers who may be interested?
  • Have you submitted your manuscript to publishers and literary agents and not had a response or been rejected? (You are not alone! This happens all the time.) If so, are you prepared to make changes to the content or the proposal for the work?

A consultation with note is a great place to start when exploring your options. We provide you with information without bias or influence. We are here to guide, inform and assist. Just give us a call.

Manuscript Evaluation

note’s manuscript evaluation is based on one reading of the manuscript and assessing it for its believability, organization, and suitability for the intended audience. The evaluation will provide the author with general comments on what works well and what could be changed to improve its clarity and value to the reader, including but not limited to comments on characterization, writing style, setting and plot for fiction, and on the thesis and argument for non-fiction.

As an added value, at note we include comments in the manuscript evaluation on the marketability of the work, including an assessment of the potential for it to sell in today’s book market and in what segments of the market. We understand that if a writer is looking for an assessment of their work, it is likely because they want to publish it and sell as many copies as possible.

At note, we consider it a privilege to have an author’s work entrusted to us and we will communicate all recommendations in a positive and encouraging way, and provide reasons for all recommended changes.

The following is the list of services included in a Manuscript Evaluation:

  • Check text for global coherence, organization and clarity.
  • Check text for any content that could be deemed libelous, biased or ethically inappropriate or obscene.
  • Assess text for audience suitability.
  • Assess levels of editing needed to bring the content into its most effective form, including but not limited to substantive, stylistic and copy editing.
  • Assess effectiveness of non-text elements used in the manuscript including but not limited to illustrations, photographs, graphs, tables.
  • Recommend general changes to the manuscript’s text and non-text elements, if applicable to enhance, clarify and organize it to best meet the needs of its intended audience.
  • Assess the marketability of the manuscript and the segments of the book market to which the manuscript is most suited e.g. trade bookstores, corporate, educational, gift.
  • Recommend “next steps” for the author to publishing the manuscript, including but not limited to finding a literary agent, how to write a book proposal, and options for self-publishing.