Writing your book was the fun part, but now it is time to get real about the editing process. Editing is an umbrella term that generally refers to the refining and polishing up of a manuscript through a process of revisions and corrections. Under that umbrella are specific types of editing services. These include:

  • Developmental editing. Developmental editing is the first phase of editing. The editor provides a big picture assessment of the manuscript after critiquing the plot, story arc, organization and structural elements, characters, and dialogue, and then makes recommendations to improve the manuscript.
  • Copy editing. The copy edit addresses the clarity, syntax, and flow of the final draft of the manuscript while also checking for inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and copy errors.
  • Proofreading. The proofreader provides the last line of defense against spelling, punctuation, grammar, and text errors prior to your book’s publication. Think of proofreading as the quality control check, ensuring that only the most professional product will be going to press.

Read on to learn all about the developmental editing phase of the editing process.

First Things First. What is Developmental Editing?

Just like a potter with a lump of clay, creating your self-published book requires some shaping and refining before the finished product is ready for prime time. Starting out on the authorship journey, you may have finished your first draft but noticed some weaknesses in the manuscript. Enter the developmental editor.

Developmental editing involves a comprehensive overview of the manuscript with guidance for revising all aspects of it from the bottom up. A developmental editor doesn’t make the corrections for the author. Instead, they provide a detailed analysis with subsequent recommendations.

So, what does a developmental editor do? The developmental editor makes suggestions to help improve the overall quality of your manuscript. They may recommend that you eliminate a character, remove a chapter, or reorder the chapters. They may critique the book’s pacing or the quality of your dialogue and make some constructive suggestions.

  • Elements that a developmental editor addresses for the fiction genre include:
  • Character development
  • Plot holes
  • Point of view
  • Structure
  • Continuity
  • Tense
  • Audience

Developmental edits apply to nonfiction books, too. Some of the elements that a developmental editor addresses for the nonfiction genre include:

  • Clarity
  • Readability
  • Fact-checking
  • References
  • Author’s objective or goals

Once the developmental editor has reviewed the manuscript and assessed the needed changes, it is then up to you, as the author, to follow through and make these revisions. Undergoing a developmental edit in the early phase of the self-publishing process helps ensure that your book will be optimally structured and shaped for the most satisfying reader experience. This translates to the book’s ultimate success in terms of quality and sales.

How Much Does Developmental Editing Cost?

Developmental editing rates sit at the high end of all editing services. The cost of a developmental edit is commensurate with the wide scope of the undertaking, including the detailed analysis and copious recommendations provided to the author.
When researching developmental editor rates, you will discover they are structured in various ways, including:

  • Price per 1000 words
  • Price per hour
  • Price per page

Of course, the more words or pages your manuscript possesses, the higher the cost of a developmental edit. On average, a developmental edit will cost about $.03-$.06/word or about $12-$15/page. When an author requests this process to be fast-tracked, the rate will be higher.

Gatekeeper Press provides expert developmental editing services for self-published authors. The editorial team performs a macro-level focus on style and consistency, organization, tone, characters, dialogue, pace, voice, transitions, and plot before offering recommendations to sharpen and finesse your manuscript.

How to Get the Most Out of Developmental Editing

Here are some tips to consider when approaching the developmental editing process:

  1. Find the right fit. Be selective when choosing the person that will hold such sway over the finished product. Make sure they are experienced editing in your particular genre and that the editor’s personality or style is compatible with yours.
  2. Give them direction. Equip your editor with information about your vision for the book and who the audience is before they begin the project.
  3. Ask for pricing and timing details. The editor will provide a scope of work detailing their services, as well as listing all fees involved and a timeline for completion of the edit.
  4. Be willing to accept critiques. No one likes to have their work criticized, but always remember that your developmental editor utilizes their vast experience to help you improve your manuscript. They want you to succeed.
  5. Be prepared to do the rewrites. The purpose of hiring a developmental editor is to improve your manuscript. This may result in extensive rewrites of the manuscript that you must be willing to complete in order to benefit from the editor’s expertise.

Perfect Your Self-Published Book with Developmental Editing

To give your book the best chance of succeeding, a development edit is absolutely essential. Consider teaming up with the professionals at Gatekeeper Press for all your editing needs. Reach out to us today to get started with the editing process!

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