Along the publishing highway, there are numerous edits. The first round, as my previous post stated, is content edits. If you’re curious about those, click here.
The second round is line edits. While content edits focus on the who, what, and how of the whole manuscript, line edits are just as appropriately named. The editor (thank their obsessive soul) goes word by word, line by line over it.
They aren’t looking for consistency. They don’t care about character development or plot pacing. Line editors focus on the grit: punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. The detail work which critical readers will note with glee.
Or maybe that’s just me. I can’t help but love to see that spelling mistake or incorrectly placed comma in the middle of a traditional top four published book. It’s a bit vindictive of me, but a good number of my fellow writers have probably been in the same boat. If not, you’re the nice ones who feel bad for the sap who got stuck with the schmuck editor.
Back on topic –
Line edits may take longer than content. It really depends on the particular author’s problem area. I went back and forth with my content editor (who you all know I love) three times in total with two edits. My line editor took one edit.
However, my line editor was saved a huge amount of time by my content editor (C.E. for short). My beloved C.E. showed me the desired formatting for dialogue. There are some variances between genres and publishers, so don’t be shocked if you think something is off, but it’s ‘just how things are done.’
If you really disagree with the change, back yourself up with citations. Make sure they’re country and genre appropriate / specific. Editors are people, and they’re willing to listen if you discuss your concerns rationally.
Frankly, that’s my go to advice here. No matter what level you’re at in the publishing process from agents to publishers to editors to audience – be polite, be honest, be rational. This is especially important when determining how to pick your battles – or realizing when not to pick them (we’ll discuss this a bit more next week!). If you can maintain your cool and discuss rather than argue, the process will go smoothly.
May the edits be always in your favor and, as always, good luck!