What type of edit does my manuscript need?

All these different edit types can seem daunting, especially if this is your first time hiring a professional editing service to assist with your manuscript. Have no fear! We're going to give you some suggestions, based on where you might be in your manuscript, as well as thoroughly describe what you can expect with each service listed.

Are you in the first stages of drafting? Ask about a weekly consultation!

Done with your first draft and figuring out where to go from there? Keep reading to find out what stage your at and which service might be best for you.

The nine basic stages of writing should go something like this:

  1. First Draft, preferably with the help of a Critique Partner;

  2. Alpha Reader (often also your CP), who can help you with the developmental steps;

  3. First self-edit;

  4. Beta Read. OMN offers a free beta program, but you can find beta readers on your own if preferred;

  5. Second self-edit (in some cases, a rewrite is necessary at this stage, depending upon your beta feedback);

  6. Professional content/copy edit (you may choose only to acquire a copy edit, depending on your level of comfort and confidence with your manuscript to this point);

  7. Final author edits;

  8. Final Proofread;

  9. Begin querying, or, in the case of self-publishing, publish your manuscript.

Where do you fall on this list?

If you do not have a critique partner or alpha reader, you are in need of Developmental Editing. This will require coordinating your schedule with the editor so that you are writing at a pace that is comfortable to you and receiving relevant feedback in a timely fashion. Developmental Editing entails working closely together, checking character and plot consistency and pace, and making sure that the story is going in a direction you are satisfied with. In certain cases, upon submitting a quote request, the editor may suggest a developmental edit regardless of your history with a CP or Alpha.

Upon completing your first set of edits, with the help of your CP, you should seek out a team of beta readers. This can be done on your own, with OMN's free Beta Program, or both! You should request a multitude of feedback from whoever betas for you. Be sure to take all critique and feedback with an open mind and a willingness to improve!

Once you are done with the beta, it's time to incorporate their advice into your manuscript. If you are having trouble doing this, you can ask for Content Editing, sometimes called "Substantive Editing." We will take the feedback from your manuscript and help you find ways to improve it, based on the advice given.

Even if you have incorporated the beta feedback yourself, you may still want a comprehensive content edit. It's like a less in-depth version of the Developmental referenced above; your editor will offer suggestions concerning character thoughts, plot progression/pace, and the general content of the manuscript. 

If you wish to skip the content edit, you are ready for Copy Editing. Copy edits are fairly straightforward; at this stage, your editor helps improve the flow of prose/narrative, check the consistency and believability of dialogue, and eliminate repetition from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph.

You should review the editor's suggestions and changes closely at this point, as you are nearing the final steps of writing your book! Once you've made any desired changes, it's time for the Final Proofread. This is exactly what it sounds like! Your editor will read through the manuscript carefully, from start to finish, and eliminate typos, spelling errors, homophone misusage, and grammatic/punctuation errors. This should be your last step before formatting and sending your manuscript wherever you desire for it to go.

If you have worked with Overhaul My Novel on any of these steps, we'll offer a Query Letter Critique for free.

With any additional questions, please email Meg Trast! editor@overhaulmynovel.com

We look forward to working with you!