Editing: Developmental & Copy Editing; Proofreading

There are different types of editing and each is appropriate under different circumstances.

Developmental Editing (also known as Content Editing) involves evaluating the entire manuscript with consideration of the following, among other issues:


  1. What topics would someone who picks up your book expect you to answer, and have you done so?
  2. If you raise questions in the text, have you addressed them?
  3. Have you created a logical structure that a reader can follow?
  4. Have you established yourself as an authority on the topic?


  1. Are your main characters well-rounded and believable?
  2. Does each have a unique voice?
  3. Does the pace get bogged down such that you risk losing the reader?
  4. Is your use of language consistent with the period of time about which you write and for your characters?
  5. Have you created a structure or flow that a reader can follow?
  6. If you foreshadow events, does that information draw excess attention to itself?

Copy Editing (also known as Line Editing) involves more than merely correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and usage. It may also involve suggesting structural changes, and focuses on consistency of details, including capitalization, chapter headings, spelling of unusual words, presentation of numerals vs. numbers, double-checking facts and references, etc. Typically, copyediting is done after developmental editing. With the consent or request of the author, a copyeditor may also rewrite portions of the manuscript.

Proofreading traditionally refers to the final corrections on a ‘proof’ copy before a manuscript goes to press although is often considered the “final read” for a self-published author before going to press.

Excerpts from Recent Developmental Editing and Copy Editing Jobs

RasputinRASPUTIN: THE MEMOIRS OF HIS SECRETARY. An inside look at the Romanov family based on the diaries of the personal secretary and closest associate to the Czar–Rasputin. “Rasputin, who lived life with a passion, had excellent rapport with all the ladies in the capital who were known for  their taste for pleasure. The mistresses of grand dukes, ministers, and bankers were all his friends. He knew, therefore,  all the scandals and illegitimate liaisons of Influential men, the night secrets of anyone important, and he used this  knowledge to spread his influence in these important social circles. All the women of Petersburg who deserved to be  called “lively”— loose women, actresses, music hall singers, aristocrats smitten with the joyous life — were proud of their relationship with the darling  of the Imperial Couple.”




INTO THE TIGER’S MOUTH: A NOVEL OF THE CHINA TRADE, 1857-1863. Editor of Into the Tiger's MouthBased on family correspondence, this historical novel shows what it was like to conduct business in China in the 1850s-1860s: “Richard had driven the wagon toward the Hankow Merchant’s Bank before Kung began to squirm. He yanked, he pulled, he hollered Chinese invectives. He screamed, “No. No.” Jack jumped around and barked at him. See Kwan unleashed Jack and held him away from Kung. The rioters at the bank came into view. The wagon closed toward the bank. Kung hunched down to hide. He tried to pull the tarpaulin. Richard whipped the horses and shouted to excite them, until they galloped toward the crowd. The wagon’s momentum built. They flew toward the mob. “Jump!” he called to See Kwan.




Keys to the Corner Office Book EditorKEYS TO THE CORNER OFFICE: SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR WOMEN BY WOMEN. A business reference guide for women to consult throughout their careers: “…A particularly creative salesperson suggested that we sell our flagship product with a prepackaged five-year warranty instead of a standard one-year warranty. This was unheard of in the medical device industry. Although management was leery, we maintained an open attitude and investigated the possibility. We evaluated the costs, confirmed the accounting logistics, and worked with marketing to roll out a nationwide offering. The program was a tremendous success, both for our customers and company… Had I not embraced thought diversity, I would have kept the company from considering, and ultimately embracing, an idea that benefited everyone. The greatest testament to the success of our salesperson’s idea was that other companies in our industry later copied this approach.”



Get Debt Free with Me Book Editors

GET DEBT FREE WITH ME. What you need to know about bankruptcy and recovering your credit score before you make a serious mistake: ”The client eventually filed for bankruptcy protection because he had no choice. What he should have done was file prior to cashing out his retirement savings. Why? When you file for bankruptcy, 100% of your retirement accounts are protected, which means you don’t lose any of your retirement savings. This client could have filed bankruptcy, wiped out $200,000 of debt, kept all of his retirement money, and avoided a tax liability with the IRS had he filed for bankruptcy from the start.”




Book Editor for Cook the Part COOK THE PART: DELICIOUS, INTERACTIVE AND FUN TEAM COOKING. More than a collection of recipes, an entertaining guide for your guests to help prepare — and enjoy — dinner with you: As a young girl, I was often summoned to help prepare grand dinners and desserts, assisting my mother in making sure that home-cooked food was always available— even for unexpected guests. Mutti’s cooking was so exceptional that my father refused to eat in restaurants. For my wedding in 1968, Mutti prepared all the food for over 150 guests, hiring only a few helpers to finish the preparation and serve dinner. The wedding cake came from a traditional bakery, but Mutti supplemented the desserts with multiple homemade German tortes, some filled with mocha buttercream and others with her homemade raspberry jam. These beautifully prepared tortes were so inviting that, on the wedding night, they tempted a torte thief: two tortes were stolen from the kitchen during the reception. The mystery remains unsolved to this day.


Editor of How to Love San Francico


HOW TO LOVE SAN FRANCISCO–ONE YEAR IN THE CITY BY THE BAY. Part travelogue, part fictional memoir, this book offers a foreigner’s view of San Francisco as she becomes a native, smitten by its charms. None of us wanted to see Sophia go. I probably dreaded her departure the most. Sophia and I had become really close during the brief time that I had known her. She had helped me find an apartment, showed me around the city, and attempted to educate me in the ways of American men. This usually went something like this: “Don’t focus so much on Nick. It’s like, if you want to have the best chance of making money, you need to diversify your portfolio . You ought to start dating some of my friends. I know this really cool dude at YouTube?  He’s half-American, half–Swedish, and I know you would love him. ” …”I wasn’t used to getting this kind of advice back home. In Germany, I couldn’t diversify beyond one guy at a time; too much to deal with! But, Sophia seemed to advise, I would get more attention from Nick if he had some ‘competition.’



Turbocharge your future


TURBOCHARGE YOUR FUTURE, written by a high school student based on interviews with entrepreneurs: “It would be a few years before I applied to colleges, but I thought there might be a few extra things I could be doing in high school to prepare me for college and the rest of my life. My parents are both former military pilots who now own a real estate company, but the discipline they learned in the military was passed on to me, so I suppose I began thinking about these things at a younger age than most other kids. …I’ve always heard adults say that there were things they wished they had known when they were younger, so I decided to find out for myself what lessons I could learn now, instead of looking back later and thinking about what I wish I had known.”




KATY ROSE LIKES TO SAY NO! is a charming book to read with children, particularly those going through their ‘Terrible Twos.’ “Katy Rose Likes to Say NO!” illustrates the pitfalls of being headstrong and highlights the advantages of getting along with other people.

“Suddenly she knew        The right thing to do

“To make Sarah smile      And feel better, too.

“’YES!’ she said, as clear as a bell.

“’Yes’ makes you smile   And others smile as well.”



SCALE: HOW TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS BY WORKING LESS. In the author’s own words, “I remember the day it hit me. …I was in Kiev when I got a call from my wife. She was in the hospital, having driven herself there during the middle of the night…. Meanwhile, I was halfway around the world, and my children, who fortunately weren’t very young, were alone. …I felt helpless, and like a terrible husband and father. It took me three days to get home, three days during which I thought about the price of success. Although I had created the successful business I had aspired to create, I was trapped. I couldn’t make personal time for anything that was important to me…. I was living the life of a successful businessman, but it was not the life that I had intended.… By applying the Four Keys to Scale, a business owner can create a business asset that he can pass on to others without needing to be involved in its operations on a day-to-day basis. ”


INVESTING AND ESTATE PLANNING MADE EASY: STRATEGIES TO MAKE MONEY AND KEEP IT. Written for smart and confident people who nevertheless balk when they need to make decisions about their own investments or estate planning.

“Reliance on Past Performance: What’s wrong with relying on past performance? Isn’t that the best indication of future performance? According to the law of probability, a fund has a 50 percent chance of increasing in any year and a 50 percent chance of decreasing over the same time period. The fact that it increases one year does not change the fact that the following year it still has a fifty-fifty chance of increasing or decreasing. In addition, the information provided about a fund’s returns are not the whole story. Brokerages may have hundreds or thousands of mutual funds that contain different mixes of the asset classes. By random chance, some will do well, while others will not. What these funds advertise, but don’t explain, is that one of their funds achieved the “past performance” results that they promote. They don’t mention that all their other funds fell short of that level of performance. When you’re looking at past performance, remember that you’re only seeing part of the picture.”






As I lifted the carrier holding Tuffy’s stiff body, Alice let out a whimper, and nearly sank to her knees. Her pain was stabbing into my stomach like a butcher’s blade as the second hand on the wall clock clicked by. I willed the clock to reverse time. We watched the vet unzip the carrier. As if she were handling nitroglycerine, the vet gently lifted Tuffy’s body and reverently placed our little one on the cold, steel table. She pressed her stethoscope against Tuffy’s side. After a minute, she asked: “Has your cat been around any toxic substances?” “What do you mean?” I stammered back. “Isn’t Tuffy– Is she dead?” “No, she’s not.” Alice hugged me around my chest as I told the vet that Tuffy had been in the hotel room all that time. There was nothing toxic in there. “Could she have come into contact with anything medicinal?” the vet asked. She could tell from my perplexed look that I was confused. “Such as marijuana?” “No,” we both answered. “Except for this morning,” I blurted out. I told the vet about my wrong turn into the city garage, how the pot smell had caught my nose, and seeing a fat, still-smoking roach in the coffee tin next to the makeshift office . . .



Tuffy was happy, too. For a kitty stuck on IAMS’ dry cat food, she took an instant liking to the Halibut that night. I unzipped her Sherpa and let her slink out onto my lap, while Alice continued to pawn off snippets of brick chicken to Munchie. When Tuffy suddenly reared up from my lap with her paws on the table and her mouth on my plate next to the Halibut fillet, it was time to return her to the carrier. Neither Munchie nor Tuffy has a taste for cauliflower or Brussels sprouts, so I was free to enjoy those dainty sides on my own. Alice asked for a taste of the smoked cauliflower and agreed that the flavor balanced out the fresh sea taste of the Halibut. We continued to enjoy our dishes as the server brought around the dessert menus. We decided to order two desserts. Alice chose the Zeppole doughnuts with blackberry and lemon curd. I ordered the chocolate gateau. Were we ever delighted by our orders! My chocolate cake was, in fact, a chocolate mousse poured over two slices of cake and paired with vanilla ice cream. After one bite, my jaws were stinging, but it was too much to finish. Alice’s doughnuts were three “holes” served hot in a sweet, lemony sauce. We each ate one and cried, “No mas! No mas!” We departed Artisanal as contented diners with a recommendation for a restaurant that could equal the experience of a summer day in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the enchanting Banner Elk Valley. Alice held my arm on the drive back to Bear Den Lane, and as we pulled into the driveway in the darkness of a moonless night, she said that she had never enjoyed an evening out as much as this one.