If you’ve been researching editing and editors, you’ll know by now that they work to a wide range of timeframes and prices – so how can you be sure you’re comparing apples with apples?

You need to know what they’re quoting, meaning you need to know about the different types of editing on offer, and the best match for you and your book.

Editing Type #1 – Structural Editing

A structural (or developmental) edit looks at the overall structure of your book, as well as your vision for the book, before drilling into details like spelling and grammar.

This means that a structural edit takes:

  • Your ideal readers
  • How you want to position yourself as an expert
  • How you want to promote the book
  • What you want the book to achieve
  • And more

Into consideration, then restructures your entire book to fit that vision. Essentially, a structural edit makes your book as effective as it can be for both your readers and your brand.

What’s included in a structural edit?*

  • Consultations with your editor to ensure they’re clear on your goals for the book
  • Reviewing the entire structure of your book based on those goals
  • Making sure your tone is consistent throughout your book
  • Reworking areas of your book to improve clarity, flow and structure
  • Removing unnecessary or repetitive text
  • Making recommendations on how you can create a more compelling argument through adding evidence and examples or explaining concepts in more detail
  • Correcting your language (spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos)
  • An explanation of all the changes they make, as well as the opportunity to discuss any of those changes

If this is your first book, or you haven’t gotten a lot of feedback yet, then it’s best to start with a structural edit. You’ll probably be surprised by some of the suggestions, as well as surprised at how much more smoothly your book flows once an editor has reviewed it as a whole.

Editing Type #2 – Copyediting

A copyedit focuses on your book’s readability, and ensures your writing flows smoothly and makes sense to your readers.

While a structural edit looks at chapter structure and the overall organisation of your book, a copyedit looks at paragraphs and sentences. This means that, while your editor might reorganise individual sentences and paragraphs to improve your book’s readability, a copyedit won’t give you feedback on the structure and content of your chapters or the book as a whole.

What’s included in a copyedit?*

  • Reviewing your book for readability and flow, and reworking sentences and paragraphs for clarity
  • Correcting your spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos
  • Improving sentence structure for flow, persuasiveness and consistency

If you’re an experienced writer and/or your book has been reviewed by some of your ideal readers and industry experts for feedback on its organisation and structure, you may be able to go straight to a copyedit. That said, when you start getting editing quotes it’s always best to request a sample edit so that an editor can make a professional recommendation about the best type of editing for your book.

Editing Type #3 – Proofreading

Proofreading only focuses on your spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos. Essentially, each type of editing drills further into the detail – structural editing looks at the book as a whole, copyediting looks at paragraphs and sentences, and proofreading looks at individual words.

What’s included in a proofread?*

  • Correcting all of your spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos

Most entrepreneurs can’t send their book directly to a proofreader as, although they’ll check your grammar, they won’t look at your book’s readability or structure. And – as I’m sure you’ve experienced from looking at various instruction manuals – just because something is grammatically correct, doesn’t mean it makes sense.

As a result, if you’re an entrepreneur writing your first book, the best place to start is with a structural edit. Then, if your budget allows, you can go on to a copyedit and/or a proofread.


*Please note that packages vary from editor to editor. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you agree to work with anyone.