The Editorial Process

You see, it’s a publishing house. So that means that people write things for us…and then we print out all the pages…and fasten them together…and make them into what we call a book, Jones.
~Daniel Cleaver, Bridget Jones’s Diary

The editing process, quite simplified by Mr. Cleaver, differs for each genre of publishing. Daily newspapers boast high turnaround rates, while book publishers look at a large amount of content over a much longer period of time. Add the advent of online publication and bring on a whole new world of editors and writers.

Without the words, publishing wouldn’t exist. Writers can help brainstorm, gather ideas and formulate them in a structured way that makes sense for a project. Writers can write on specific topics, such as health care, or fashion or marketing. Writers can help along a project with varying writing styles, writing to educate, to sell, or to entertain.

An editor usually enters the publishing process after the text, copy, manuscript, article or web page has been written.

Depending on where a project is in its development, the editing process is different. For example, an editor may be hired to help an author work on a manuscript to get it moving, or to provide structural or stylistic assistance. Editors that work regularly on a publication often will have control over content and assign text to be written or even write text themselves.

Once the manuscript is in a draft form, an editor can copyedit the text, checking for errors in grammar, style, etc.

After editing, a designer will fit the manuscript into the pages. Once the manuscript is laid out on the page, it is in the “proof” stage of publishing. Editors are often asked to perform a task called proofreading, in which the editor now edits the proof, again checking for errors and making corrections.

The number of times, or passes, an editor looks at a manuscript varies, depending on how much work the text actually needs. One could, although rather unreasonably, continue editing and changing text indefinitely. Eventually, editors stop editing, the pages go to press, the act of physically printing or the media act of going “live” in the case of web publishing.

Virtual Editing
The advent of technology and the internet has impacted the publishing world in an exponential way.

First, technology has changed the way editors physically edit the page. It used to be—since Gutenberg’s printing press—that editors corrected text on an actual piece of paper. As word processing and computers have long since replaced the trusty typewriter, editors have been taking a gander at editing onscreen before they hit “print.” New technology is allowing the editing process to take place completely onscreen, eliminating paper costs and saving trees.

Online publishing also has transformed the way editors edit. Online publications are greener, faster and more efficient. Any errors found after publication can be corrected quickly and inexpensively, with just a few mouse clicks.

This is just a brief overview of how it all works. For tips on hiring an editor or a writer, visit our Why Hire Us? page.

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