How long does it take to get your book edited after it is completed? This is a question that is quite common for authors. Before I get into the strategy and break down the content editing process, I will say this to be transparent. The manuscript and the size of your book are significant differentiating factors in how long it takes. Let’s get to it!Learn about the steps an editor takes when editing a book, from developmental edits and copyedits to proofreading!Click To Tweet
Types of editing in the content editing process
Sometimes I’ll talk to people who need editing who seem surprised when I ask them what type of editing they need or whose eyes glaze over. There’s a little bit of an upward silence sometimes. Every now and then, I’ll get the ” I just want it to be better” response, but honestly, I get it.
The content editing process is kind of a mystery to most people. If you’re a reader or writer, you may not know how many passes the manuscript goes through before publication. Many hands touch a manuscript, whether the literary agent or the production editor, the developmental editor, the copy editor, or the proofreader.
Sometimes editors wear a lot of different hats when they’re editing, and sometimes editors just specialize in one area, whether it’s copy editing or substantive editing, or proofreading. You can find a freelance short story editor online if you need professional help to make sure you get the RIGHT results.
First, we’re going to talk about developmental or substantive editing. This type of editing focuses primarily on helping an author develop an idea. So, developmental editors either help a book idea come to fruition or work on larger scale issues in an existing manuscript like plot holes.
Or, you know, at the basic level, making sure the content is readable and coherent. Developmental editors are often fact-checkers as well. Sometimes they work on keeping track of the timeline to make sure that the plot makes sense and that everything is logical.
Other times, they work on organizing everything while finding the right tone, style, and format for the intended audience.
Next, we have content editing or line editing. This type of editing has to do more with stylistic editing. So, this could be anything from redoing a sentence or a paragraph to ensuring that you avoid ambiguity.
Content editors have to have a firm grasp of the English language, but they’re doing much more than your basic copy editor. But unlike copy editors, they have to do a lot more than just change word usage or typos.
They have to walk that fine line between preserving the author’s voice and intended meaning and fixing sentences or phrases that sound awkward.
Next, we have copy editing. Copy editing includes making sure that quotations are correctly cited and checking for inaccuracies It includes checking references and making sure everything is consistent.
They correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation and so much more. Copy editing is usually the stage after content or line editing. But since things do slip through the cracks, copy editors have to fix anything others might have missed.
In addition, sometimes they have to find a copyright holder’s permission or check figures and illustrations. As a copy editor, you are married to your dictionary and have to check non-conventional spellings of words.
Copy editors also look out for formatting errors, word usage, tone, and style. They edit for correctness and consistency, including grammar and syntax. Moreover, they make sure the chapters in the books align correctly with the table of contents.
Next, we have proofreading, which is the last stage of the content editing process. Which is basically just the polishing of the manuscript. Proofreaders help authors fine-tune their manuscripts for consistency during the final stages.
So, they check for typographical errors, word usage, grammar, awkward writing, or missing text. In addition, they also check for consistency with formatting, other discrepancies, and overall appearance. Proofreading deals with correcting obvious errors and sticking to a stylesheet to make sure you’re as consistent as possible.
As a proofreader, you have to scrutinize every component of the text; you have to watch for illogical or repeated text. You have to look out for bad breaks. There are just many little minor things that you have to look after as a proofreader.
How long does it take for each type of editing in the content editing process?
So, when we think about developmental editing, it can usually take 4 to 5 hours for every 20 pages.
Heavy copy editing
When you think of heavy copyediting, it takes almost the same amount of time, usually about two to five standard pages per hour.
Basic copy editing
Basic copy editing is usually 5 to 10, maybe 2 to 7 pages per hour.
Now, we get into proofreading, which is the lowest level of editing. Many authors who finish their books are probably proofreading their book, calling it editing. But usually, it’s around 9 to 13 pages per hour.
It just depends again on the level of writing and the size of your manuscript.
Ask your editor this question regarding the content editing process
A quality editor will only be working roughly 5 hours per day on editing projects. So when you wonder if they are working on your book, remember you are not their only client.
I want you to ask your editor how many clients they are currently working with, and of those clients, at what stage of the content editing process are they? That will give you the best gauge of how long it will take them based on the firm deadline you are giving them to finish your project.
So, how long does it take to get a book edited? The answer is that the length of time it takes to edit a book depends on many factors. Like the length and complexity of the manuscript, how much editing is required, how quickly the author responds to feedback, etc. We hope this article has been helpful in giving you an idea of what goes into the content editing process.