Types of Editors
When you're just starting out in the publishing world, learning the new lingo can be the hardest part. After all, all editors are the same, right?
There are actually 4 (or 5, depending on where you work) types of editors, and I'll go into the different types a little below, in the order in which you would run into them.
This editor is looking for new material for their publishing house. They get the joy of going to writers conferences and talking with authors, listening to book pitches, and weeding through the submissions. Once they find something they like, it's their job to pitch it to the pub board, and if the pub board likes the submission and thinks they'll be able to sell it, the book moves to the next stage.
This editor has the job of making sure everything in the book flows well into the next section. They look for places where points should be rearranged (in nonfiction) and plot holes or weak characterization (in fiction). This editor is the one who has the most impact on making your book the most amazing book it can be.
Copy Editor / Line Editor
Depending on the publishing house, the book will then go to the copy editors and line editors. Copy editors check the facts mentioned in the book, check for inconsistencies the Content editor missed, and fix the grammar. Line editors do this more specifically line by line. After this round of edits, the book is typeset, and sent to the proofreader.
The proofreader looks at the typeset pages (pages that are laid out how they will print) and makes sure all of the text that's supposed to be there is there, double checks page numbers, and looks for grammatical errors the Copy Editor didn't catch or the Typesetter accidentally added in during the transfer to typeset pages. The manuscript often goes back and forth between the proofreader and the typesetter a few times until the proofreader does the final proof, and the book goes to print.
It's this process that causes the slow turn around rate on "Your book has been accepted" to "Here's the release date." Often this editing process can take up to or slightly more than a year. But it's worth it, because the book ends up much better than it was when it went in.
J. J. Hanna is a Professional Writing major at Taylor University. To hire her for editing or beta reading services, check out her rates on the Services tab. In her spare time, she makes YouTube videos and Comics, and practices Karate in a local dojo. She'd love to hear from you, so send her a note.