FAQs for Editors, Clients

If you don't find your question here, ask us now.  We'll respond quickly, and if your question could be helpful to others, we´ll add it to this FAQ list.

Question: How do I set the "experience" levels on the Writer Data Bank search form?

First, determine which areas are important to your project.  If you need a writer to write a magazine article, then you will probably select only experience in that area. If you want someone to ghostwrite a book, then look for book experience. If you want someone to write ad copy or to proofread, you may want someone who has already worked for clients. And so on. Now how much experience? A lot depends upon your budget. If you are able to pay for professionalism and probably higher quality, then request a higher level of experience. If your budget is low, you may need to consider a lower degree of experience or none at all. The writing quality of less-experienced writers may be very good, but be prepared to do more editing, fact-checking, and provide more assistance. If you are looking for a particular style, the amount of experience will not be as important as looking at the writers' samples. Return to WDB Search form if you are submitting a request for writers.

Question: What are the differences among proofreading, copyediting, and content editing?

Although every editorial person or organization would likely have a slight variation for these terms, and realizing there is always some overlap among them, for our purposes on writers-editors.com, the following descriptions will apply.  (Note: These descriptions are subject to being edited; if you wish to offer suggestions on what should be or should not be covered under any term, we'll be happy to consider your suggestions.)

Content editing (sometimes referred to as "substantive" editing) comes first — after the writer thinks the project is completed. The editor reviews the tone, logic and accuracy of the manuscript. It may involve reorganization of the manuscript, writing transitions, and rewriting portions of the text. Or, it may be sent back to the writer along with specific suggestions for these changes. The editor will work with the writer to clarify the text and incorporate suggested additional material to strengthen or clarify. Typically, after content editing, the manuscript goes back to the writer for additional work (or approval if the editor has been given go-ahead to do these changes).

Copyediting follows after the writer has gone back through it and has signed off on it as really completed this time. The copyeditor then reviews the manuscript for correct spelling and grammar, checks cross references, makes the style consistent (which may include preparing a style sheet if one has not been offered), checks accuracy of facts, tables, charts, bibliographies, photo captions, and footnotes. When completed, the manuscript once again returns to writer for approval of any changes and to answer any questions raised by copyeditor.

Proofreading is done last — immediately prior to being printed or published to the web. A final proofing needs to be completed after any typesetting and layout is done. Here, the proofreader makes no changes in content or style — he or she is looking for typos, missed spelling or number errors, misplaced captions or headlines.

OK, so what's a book doctor?

Book doctors do what editors used to do, back in the slower paced "olden days," when books took longer to go through publishing process. Book doctors will read your manuscript, analyze it for serious problems in structure and content (plus characterization, dialog and plot in fiction), then offer specific solutions for correcting those problems. If you want or need a book doctor, you would do so before any of the above editors see it.


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