Tips & Tricks

Editing Process: Traditional vs. Assisted Self-Publishing

Completing the writing process of your book is a huge and exciting feat! Now you can carry on to the editing stage, which is extremely important as you will receive valuable insight from an unbiased professional. Some writers may feel like they want to opt out of editing; however, we highly recommend that everyone invest in the editing process. This process is crucial, as it can turn a good book into a GREAT book! Having someone else’s eyes on your writing allows you to receive feedback that you may have overlooked.

As a self-published author, when considering editing services it is important to understand the differences in the process between traditional and assisted self-publishing.


Traditional Publishing Editing Process

Traditional publishing companies have an extensive editing process with multiple stages. With this, many authors say that they feel a power imbalance when working with a traditional publishing company. At the end of the day, it is the publisher’s choice if they want to publish your content, so they have the final say on all of the edits. While the author is allowed a certain amount of input, it all comes down to the publisher’s final choice, since they are the ones footing the bill.

Traditional publishing companies have multiple editors review each manuscript at varying levels of scrutiny. Generally, this process includes at least four editing steps:

  • Editorial Letter and Manuscript: This letter provides the publishing company with an overview of the manuscript, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. At this time, the editors can tell the writer if the story flows well, if the characters are well-developed, or if something should be changed to the plot. This phase is sometimes known as the “Developmental Edit.”
  • Line edits: Next, the editors will make corrections, grammatical changes, and ask for clarification on a line-by-line basis. They will send the manuscript back to the author to make the changes.
  • Copyedits: Once the initial editing team has received the edited manuscript, they will send it to a copyeditor. This allows the book to have a fresh set of eyes on it. This stage is often considered to be the first step of the book production process. The copyeditor will mark up the manuscript, checking for and correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style and usage inconsistencies. At the same time, the copyeditor will make sure all formatting is consistent before sending all of these changes back to the author for their review.
  • Page proofs: This is the final editing phase of the book, after the pages have been formatted. Instead of looking at plot and grammatical errors, this phase will assess if there are any formatting or layout problems.


Tellwell’s Editing Process

While traditional publishing companies have the final say on edits, assisted-self publishing companies give the author the final say. Our editors will always provide the author with extensive suggestions; however, the author has the power to implement or disregard the proposed changes. At Tellwell, this is extremely important as we want each author to love their book and feel like it is still theirs, especially after the editing process.

Tellwell has various editing stages and a team of experienced professional editors who offer quality insight no matter which editing services the author chooses to engage. The author may choose varying editing packages ranging from only copy edits to the full process that traditional companies offer. We always suggest that authors have their book fully edited, and we ensure the process is always completely tailored to their unique needs!

Similar to traditional publishing companies, Tellwell offers four editing steps that can be included in your editing package:

  • Editorial Evaluations
  • Substantive Edit
  • Copy Editing
  • Proofreading

Take a look at our packages for full details of each service.

Including editing services in your package allows for Tellwell editors to assess your book for narrative flow, an engaging storyline, and marketability; to check the manuscript for any grammatical errors, including repetitive words, spelling mistakes, and usage corrections; and ultimately to ensure that your book is the very best it can be before it enters the world. We want each author to leave the editing process feeling confident in the high quality of their work.

For more information on Tellwell’s editing process, check out this blog post by Rachel Peterson, one of our editors.


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