For guidance, I turned to the authority, the Chicago manual. Yet even that widely accepted all-knowing guide doesn’t make a distinction among editing levels: “Manuscript editing, also called copy editing or line editing, requires attention to every word and mark of punctuation in a manuscript, a thorough knowledge of the style to be followed, and the ability to make quick, logical, and defensible decisions.”New authors are often confused about what level of editing they need, and rightly so. I hope to offer insight into the differences between line editing, copy editing, and proofreading.
Authors, especially indie authors who aren’t used to the multiple editing cycles their work will go through at a major publisher, often consider hiring an editor, but then become unsure what kind of editing service they need to purchase. This blog helps make distinctions between editing types.
Copy, of course, is your printed-out or Word manuscript. A proof is your manuscript after it’s been laid out as it will look in magazine or book form. Generally speaking, proofreading is a search for the printer’s errors while copy editing is a search for the author’s errors.
So what is line editing and when do you need it? A good question. You’ll find a credible answer in this article in Jane Friedman’s blog.