Editing your book in 10 basic steps

Let’s talk about self-editing, and why it’s important to authors.

It’s really important to understand the basics of looking at your story arc. Look for the five key scenes. Looking at the pacing and the balance of the characters, the plots, and the settings. We must evaluate them scene by scene.


We know that with every writer it’s different, and every writer has their own process. But before they start, the first step in their real revisions, they need a draft and a story. To have a story means that there needs to be an inciting incident, a plot point one, a middle point, a plot point two, and a climax. These are key things. They have to be in the right place in the story. When authors have that, then they’re ready to start their self-editing process.

It’s really important to understand the basics of looking at your story arc. Look for the five key scenes. Looking at the pacing and the balance of the characters, the plots, and the settings. We must evaluate them scene by scene.

If it is the author’s first-time self-editing, then this is a developmental, high-level story edit. We are not looking at the grammar, spelling, punctuation, commas, apostrophes, and all those little nitty-gritty things which are completed during a line edit or copyedit.

The edit must be comprehensive. People are learning to write and edit faster. Thus, they have higher expectations, and the quality really needs to meet that.

It’s really important when self-editing that the writer decides why they’re including things. They can’t just have them in the story without purpose. When you look at it from the perspective of how readers like to read, it literally has not changed since the beginning of stories. There is a way to tell the story. The authors just structure it a bit differently.

It’s important to understand the editing process. The author shouldn’t start at this high-level developmental edit without first reviewing it. First, they need to do their own self-edit and then proceed with the professional developmental edit. And what is that? It’s really just looking into the story. Authors can either do that by themselves, or you can do it with a story editor.

At the developmental level, we’re looking at how to enter and leave each scene. We assess the storyline and how everything comes together. We review the characters, their point of view, their goals, motives, etc.

After the developmental edit, we need to go into the line editing phase. This is conducting revisions, revisions, revisions, and more revisions. When someone is doing a story revision,  they’ll move scenes around, delete scenes, cut scenes, add scenes, split scenes in half, add new characters, a new plotline, and more.

If you’ve written the first draft, you can do a storyboard based on that draft. Go through every scene and make your storyboard. And then, as you keep revising your story and moving things around, update that storyboard so you can always see what’s happening in your story.

The quality of your edit comes from training, the use of tools, and editing experience. That’s one reason ‌ we certified our editors. It really changes what your clients receive for a developmental story edit.

When proceeding with copyediting, the author thinks their edits are complete. They need the editor to approve the final version before uploading it into the formatting stage. The copy editors and line editors differ ‌from developmental story editors because they are looking at grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and such without evaluating the overall story arc, characters, plot, and setting.

Copy editing is the last edit. But people are always confused with this term and interchange it with proofreading.

Proofreading is not ‌editing. You have a copy edit before proceeding with the formatting upload. There are loads of online formatting issues to consider. Formatting is an important part of the editorial process because we are reading everything on screens now. Formatting is super important. You need to ‌pick up your phone, your pad, your laptop, and the ebook should display correctly on these devices. If it’s not displayed correctly, it just doesn’t translate well. We are visual. We are animals that need to have clarity and organization. Structure visually to tell a better story. So formatting is very important. After formatting is proofreading. It’s the last review of the text and it’s done after the formatting.

Someone who has done the copy editing can’t be the proofreader. They’ve seen too much of it, and they will not see the extra space or any other important detail. We highly recommend different people for the different editing and review stages. Proofreading is when you’re trying to get your book to perfection without changing anything except an error or a formatting glitch.

Get substantive editing for high-impact publishing sucess.

Frequently Asked Questions

First Editing is equipped to edit ANY type of document you can write! Over the past 10 years, we’ve perfected tens of thousands of manuscripts, books, ebooks, theses, dissertations, essays, letters, websites, articles, scripts, business proposals, poetry, and more! Let us transform your draft into a perfectly edited masterpiece! Click HERE for a FREE sample edit and price quote…
Projects less than 50 pages are completed in just 2-3 business days. Longer documents (manuscripts, dissertations, etc.) require 7-10 business days depending on their length. If you order multiple documents totaling 50+ pages, they can all still be completed in the standard 3 day timeframe since each document may be assigned to a different editing team simultaneously. Additionally, 1-2 day rush services are also available. See our order form for more details.
Professional editors of successfully published books, journals, articles, and more are working around the clock to ensure your editing is letter-perfect and delivered according to your deadline. Each editor has a minimum of TEN years worth of professional writing & editing experience. Show us some of YOUR writing and we’ll send YOU a FREE editing sample!
First Editing is one of the very few online editing services that GUARANTEES client satisfaction! If there is ANYTHING about our work with which you are not 100% satisfied, we will correct it at no additional charge. First Editing is also the ONLY service of its kind to GUARANTEE on-time completion. We NEVER miss a deadline…EVER!! Read more about our Editing Satisfaction Guarantee.
Our basic rates vary from just 1 U.S. cent per word to just over 3 U.S. cents per word. Most basic copy editing that does not require rush delivery costs between $0.0097 and $0.013 USD per word (approximately one cent per word). Larger orders often cost even less. Factors influencing your total price are document type, length of manuscript, turnaround time required, & level of editing required. For a free, no-obligation price quote, CLICK HERE.

Share With :

Get a free editing sample outlining areas you need to fix before publishing. Discover what works!
Get substantive editing for high-impact publishing sucess.

Add Your Heading Text Here

Add Your Heading Text Here