Professional editing services and book publishing

professional editing services

Welcome to this educational and interactive blog post by harmony publishing; we speak about professional editing services and its role in publishing your unique book.  A professional editor is a collaborator that no book author can function without; even most blockbuster writers with dozens of publications and bestselling accolades to their name. While writing the first draft is often hard, the process of revising a manuscript eventually requires the objective eye of someone who knows the ins and outs of storytelling and the written language.

Since inception, Harmony Publishing has helped hundreds of authors (both experienced and novice writers) to edit their books professionally, giving them the exact touch and lift they need. In that time, we have noticed something that writers still struggle with: knowing when their manuscript is ready for a professional editor. Hiring a professional editor too early could mean spending more than you should; getting one too late might mean doing a lot of work that will not make the final cut.

In today’s article, Harmony Publishing will help you understand when you’ll be ready to hire an editor and why you need to hire a professional editor.

Who is a professional editor and what does he/she do?

As mentioned earlier, a professional editor is very important in the publishing of your book. The various functions of an editor falls into three main categories, which are listed below:

  • Developmental editing (sometimes called structural editing or story editing)

Developmental editing is a method of writing support that is done before or during the process of producing a manuscript. It is mostly carried out in non-fiction books and before the publishing of such manuscript. Hence, the document has to be publishable before being developmentally edited.

The developmental editor will address big-picture issues like story structure, character development, and pacing. They will rarely correct grammar or rewrite your sentences for clarity — that will be the job of your copy editor, who will hone your sentences in a way that helps you achieve your storytelling goals.

During the progress of the manuscript the developmental editor will be responsible for guiding the author in creating a topic for his/her book, planning its structure and creating an outline to ensure that the book doesn’t deviate from its original topic or plan. Harmony Publishing has the capacity to help you edit your manuscript upon request; and such is part of our self-publishing packages.

  • Copyediting

Copy editing can be described as a process of revising an already written manuscript. This process is designed to improve the material’s readability and fitness; grammatical strength and the elimination of factual errors.

  • Proofreading

The proofreader arrives at the final stage of the process: their sole responsibility is to identify any errors that will have slipped past the copy editor and the interior designer. They will correct typos and awkward formatting, but will not make any stylistic changes to your text, as a copy editor does.

Is a professional editor actually essential?

If you are asking this question, you are probably looking to self-publish (traditional publishers will always insist on editing). As an indie author, you will have to cover any costs you incur while publishing your book — and editing will commonly be the most expensive service you’ll need. So, naturally, the question will arise: can I get around paying for an editor?

However, the fact of the matter is, if experienced authors like Stephen King and Margaret Atwood rely on professional editors to refine their books for readers, it’s hard to imagine why first-time writers and self-published authors shouldn’t do the same. If your book is intended for paying readers, professional edits are non-negotiable.

Yes, this is unfair for writers without disposable income, savings, or a benevolent aunt with an open checkbook. Nevertheless, publishing is a business. Self-publishing authors are small business owners — and paying for editing (along with cover design and marketing) is the cost of doing business.

If you are asking people to read your eBook in exchange for $3.99 and seven hours of their lives, it is your responsibility to deliver the best reading experience you can muster. In addition, to do that you need the help of professional editing services.

A 6-Step Editing Process for Self-Publishing Authors

Getting an editor too early is almost as bad as doing it too late. You want to bring them in precisely at the point when their feedback and edits can have the biggest impact. With that in mind, you should always make sure you have done all that you can by yourself before you consider hiring a professional editor.

What we have outlined below is a basic plan that will help you determine when to hire a professional editor (and when you should simply stay the course of self-editing).

Note: These steps assume that you aim to self-publish. If your ultimate goal is to secure a book deal from a publisher, there is a section at the bottom just for you.

Step 1: Revise your manuscript by yourself

Never hand over your very first draft to an editor. In fact, do not let anybody else read your first draft at all — there’s plenty of work you can do on your own to improve your story’s structure, character arcs, and pacing. Here are some free resources that will help you with the first stages of revision:

How to Edit a Book (Guide)

How to Revise Your Novel (webinar and transcript)

Story Editing: How to Assess and Fix Your Draft (webinar and transcript)

Story Editing for Authors (free online course)

Interviews with experienced author (free interviews)

Novel Revision: Understanding the Craft (free online course)

At this point, you’ll want to go through your manuscript to identify those big-picture issues and try your best to fix them. The thing you want to avoid is paying a professional editor to tell you something you could have figured out yourself.

Step 2: Get a developmental edit

Once you’ve revised your structure as best you can, you should be thinking one of two things:

“Wow! This book is amazing! I don’t think it could be any better,” or “My manuscript still isn’t working, but I don’t know what the issue is.”

Either way, this is your cue to find a developmental editor. Once they’ve been through your draft, they will be able to validate where you’ve made great progress, pinpoint where your manuscript is lacking, and suggest creative, detailed solutions for those problems. Your developmental editor will return a digital copy of your manuscript with comments in the margins along with a written review that will guide your next set of revisions.

Top tip: Clean up your grammar and spelling mistakes before you get any sort of edit. A manuscript riddled with basic typos is distracting and hard to read. Passing this on to your editor will potentially increase the cost of your edit, affect the quality of your feedback (if the editor is unsure of your intentions with certain sections), and decimate any respect they have for you. Make use of your word processor’s spell checker.

Step 3: Action your editor’s suggestions and edits

Ideally, your developmental editor’s advice will make sense to you. Your next few rounds of revisions should be guided by their suggestions. Perhaps you need to cut the first two scenes and make sure the inciting incident happens earlier. Maybe you need an extra character — a close cousin — who can reveal more about your protagonist’s upbringing. By actioning the feedback in your developmental edit, your manuscript will hopefully start to click on a structural story level.

Step 4: Start revising on a sentence level

Before this point, you needn’t tinker too much with your sentences and paragraphs. After all, you don’t want to spend hours writing and rewriting a confrontation between two characters, only for your developmental editor to tell you that the whole scene needs to go. But now that all your scenes are in place, you can focus on your manuscript at a micro-level and line edit — slicing away unnecessary exposition, paring down your dialogue, and finessing the language. Again, you want to self-edit as much as you can, until you hit that point where you don’t think you can do any better by yourself.

Step 5: Get a suitable copy editor and hire professional editing services

Now, you could have technically skipped the previous step and hired a copy editor as soon as you’d finished actioning your developmental edits. But again, if you want to get the most out of your professional editor, you don’t want them to waste time on things you can fix yourself. If you hand a copy editor a sloppy manuscript, they will clean it up for you. Give them a manuscript that’s already clean, and they will make it sing.

Top tip: Always search for professional editing services and editors with experience in your genre. A talented business book editor can ensure that your fantasy novel is free from grammatical errors, but they won’t necessarily know how the characters should speak and what readers expect from the prose.

Step 6: Hire a proofreader to iron out the creases

This final step is seen as optional by many indie authors, though it should not be. It is technically the copy editor’s job to iron out typos and grammatical errors — but of course, nobody’s perfect, and getting a final set of eyes before your launch date is crucial to uncovering small mistakes.

In traditional publishing, the proofreader comes in after a book is formatted. This allows them to notice any formatting issues — like the tragically named widows and orphans — and identify mistakes that may have been introduced since your last edit. If you are formatting the book yourself, using the Reedsy book editor or any other tool, you may want to do the same and hire a proofreader to give your formatted book a thorough once-over.

See also: Successful Self-published Nigerian Authors and their stories

However, if you are planning to hire a professional interior designer (sometimes called a typesetter), you will want to get a proofread before they format your book. In fact, many designers will flat-out refuse to work a book that has not been professionally proofread. When the author inevitably spots something wrong in the final version (that would have been ironed out by a proofreader), they will have to re-hire the typesetter to go back and fix the mistakes — which could potentially throw off the layout of the whole book.

What if you’re planning to publish traditionally?

When you publish through a traditional press, editors will be assigned by your imprint. The acquiring editor will often conduct developmental edits, while copy editing and proofreading can sometimes be outsourced to trusted freelancers. Agents will often guide your rewrites before you even pitch your manuscript to editors. This is all to say that authors who publish with reputable presses will find themselves with no shortage of editorial help.

Still, if your goal is to traditionally publish your book — and you have never had a book deal before — consider hiring your own editor before you start querying agents and publishers. When you ask an agent for representation, you have one chance to impress them with your completed manuscript. Many agents pride themselves in being able to see the potential in an early draft and will work with authors to refine their books. But if you send in a manuscript with a lot of fundamental story issues, the agent is more likely to take a pass.

For this reason, many first time authors will hire professional editors before querying agents. Not only will they request a high-level developmental edit of their book, but they might also get a query letter review to give the best chance possible of impressing potential agents.

We hope you have a better understanding of freelance and professional editing services and its roles in a self and trade published author’s career. Some writers can judiciously self-edit, while others are not so lucky. For those writers, an objective outside opinion is what they need. Also, something that is available to them, should they choose to look for it.


Irrespective of your choice, self-publishing is the best way to go! Choosing a self-publishing company like Harmony Publishing will provide you with tools included in this article. These tools will help you in your course to become a successful author. We will help you with editing, proofreading and other structuring your book needs. Harmony Publishing Company is a publishing company with a difference. We offer flexible publishing packages to foreign and Nigerian authors. We also offer professional editing services to our numerous clients. Our services are aimed at enlightening and educating people about the role of self-publishing in bringing them to lime-light.

More About Harmony Publishing

Harmony Publishing also plays a very important role in publishing in Nigeria. This company provides self-publishing services, aimed at helping authors realize their dreams, while minimizing the encumbrances of publishing.

Getting published has never been more convenient and much easier. Harmony publishing company handles publishing professionally, while offering high-quality quality content, editorial and production services at affordable rates.

Our publishing services cover professional editing services and illustrations, graphic designs, and content generation, as well as print production. Each service is delivered to give you more value for your money.

We are known all over the world for providing top notch services at unbeatable prices. Won’t you like to publish your next book easily, and also with a popular company that has a name?

For more information, kindly call +1 (929) 359-4284, and +2347032212481 or send mail to us. Visit our site to get started and click on get published to submit your manuscript and begin your publishing dream.


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