This guide outlines what value editorial services add and helps you find York Editors skilled in each area.
Publishing projects vary. Our members are always happy to discuss just how they can help you.
An editor makes sure your writing is clear, correct and consistent.
Editing has different levels. Some editors specialise; others work across a range. But all professional editors make sure your voice shines through, in print or online.
Copy-editing fine-tunes your text once it’s been written but before it’s laid out in final form. Copy-editors:
- make sure your writing is clear and reads smoothly
- iron out wording that could confuse readers (such as shortening paragraphs or rephrasing technical language)
- correct mistakes in grammar, punctuation or spelling
- flag up inconsistencies or factual errors
- highlight missing information (such as contact details or references)
- check that any illustrations are complete and clear
- match your writing to any house style or company guidelines
- mark up the text so the designer knows how to set it
- raise any queries for you to double-check
Development editing (also called substantive or structural editing) is an earlier, deeper stage, tailored to each project.
Development editors work with you to improve what you have written so far or to develop your idea from scratch. They can help you:
- focus your thinking
- plan the best approach
- decide on the right style and format to reach your audience
- structure or restructure your writing for best impact
- make cuts to sharpen your text or additions to clarify it
- consider design and other elements to boost your message (such as case studies, film clips, figures or quotations)
- improve your writing in detail, line by line
A proofreader catches mistakes before your work is published.
Proofreading is the last chance to check text after it’s laid out in its final form.
Proofreaders don’t make big changes. Their job is to pick up errors. They will:
- correct any last mistakes in grammar, punctuation and spelling
- make sure everything is in the right place and style
- check signpost features, like captions, cross-references and links
- raise any final queries for you to resolve
- double-check further proofs if there have been lots of changes
Tiny errors can have a big impact. It makes sense to have your material proofread, even if your text has been edited.
If your text hasn’t been copy-edited, many proofreaders offer more in-depth checking, sometimes called proof-editing.
Talk to your proofreader about which level you need.
Writing and rewriting
A writer crafts your ideas into powerful copy that gets your message to your audience.
A writer will work with you to:
- clarify and sharpen your message
- pinpoint who you want to hear it – and what you want them to do as a result
- decide the most effective way to reach your audience
- create content that works in your chosen formats
Some editors specialise in rewriting (also called repurposing). They can:
- rewrite technical or specialist language into plain English
- reword existing material for a different audience
- rework text from one format into another (such as a printed leaflet into web content)
- cut text to a given length
- summarise long, complex or multiple documents
A language editor polishes your writing so that it sounds natural to UK readers.
You may need language editing (also called anglicisation) if you are writing for UK readers but:
- your first language isn’t English
- your first language is another form of English, such as Australian or American English
- your material has been translated into UK English
- you are a foreign student writing a dissertation or thesis in the UK
Editorial project management
An experienced editor can take the publishing process off your plate.
A project manager can:
- keep everything on schedule and to budget
- chase copy or comments
- bring material together
- brief designers and other freelancers
- work with printers or web developers