What Is Book Editing? The Book Editing Process

What Is Book Editing? The Book Editing Process

The Complete Guide to Book Editing, Copyediting, Developmental Editing, and Proofreading for Australian Authors!


Book editing and book editing services are an essential step in the self-publishing process. However, the editing process is broken down into several stages, each equally important. If you’re planning on self-publishing on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), IngramSpark Publishing, or any other self-publishing platform, you’ll need professional editing services.

Check out our guide to the Best Self-Publishing Platforms to Self-Publish Your Books!

As self-published authors working on a budget, book editing is one step in the self-publishing process that you can’t afford to skip.

A professional book editor can take your manuscript from average to outstanding. With professional book editing services, you can polish your initial draft, tie up loose ends, and take your writing to the next level.

It’s incredible what a writers editor can do for your manuscript. If you have been searching for book editing services or a novel editor service, you have come to the right place.

In the following article, we’ll be covering the following topics in-depth, including:

            1. What Is the Book Editing Process?
            2. How Much Does Book Editing Cost?
            3. What Is Developmental Editing?
            4. What Is Copyediting?
            5. Is Proofreading and Editing the Same Thing?
            6. What Is A Manuscript Evaluation or Appraisal?
            7. Working with A Book Editor


What Is the Book Editing Process?

The book editing process is made up of several essential or critical steps. These steps include:

            1. Self-Editing
            2. Manuscript Evaluation or Manuscript Appraisal
            3. Alpha Reading and Beta Reading
            4. Developmental Editing / Structural Editing
            5. Copyediting
            6. Proofreading

Whether or not you use every step in the editing process or employ a book editor for each of these book editing services will depend on your skill level, confidence in your writing, and budget.

However, the three steps in the book editing process you can’t afford to skip are developmental editing or structural editing, copyediting, and proofreading.

The Book Editing Process Below, we’ll briefly cover the steps in the editing process and how book editing service and a professional book editor can help you with your manuscript editing.



Self-editing is the process of reading and editing your own work. Most authors and writers do this without realizing it has a specific name. Self-editing is the first step in the editing process.

It’s a great way to pick up apparent typos, grammar errors, and structural or timeline problems and identify areas such as character development where you might need to add additional content. However, there are some things authors need to watch out for as they self-edit their manuscripts.

Be careful of getting hyper-focused on certain aspects of your work. Often, we can cut and chop our manuscript so much that it starts to impact the story, not improve it.


Manuscript Evaluation | Manuscript Appraisal

Manuscript evaluations and manuscript appraisals are professional versions of alpha reading and beta reading. A book editor will read your full or partial manuscript, known as a partial manuscript evaluation, and give you their professional editing advice and recommendations via an in-depth report.

A manuscript evaluation is a great way to quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses, what improvements you can make, and how you can improve your writing skills. You can then take these recommendations, go back, adjust your manuscript, and get ready for the next steps in the editing process.

To learn more about manuscript evaluations, check out What Is A Manuscript Evaluation?


Alpha Reading and Beta Reading

When you think your story is ready, minus the final stages in the editing process, such as developmental editing or structural editing, copyediting, and proofreading, you can take it to trusted alpha readers or beta readers for their opinion.

To learn more about alpha readers and beta readers and how to best utilize them, check out this article: What Are Beta Readers? The Complete Guide to Alpha and Beta Readers for Authors!


Developmental Editing | Structural Editing

Developmental editing and structural editing are the most expensive yet constructive forms of editing. A developmental edit of your manuscript will look at the structure, narrative, style, character development, pacing, and voice of your manuscript.

Some self-published authors choose to have developmental editing done and have their book editor implement all changes. Meanwhile, other authors and writers looking to improve their writing skills will ask for recommendations and implement the suggested changes themselves.



Copyediting of your manuscript looks at spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It can fix clunky word combinations to ensure consistency, flow, and tone. However, copyediting isn’t structural editing. Don’t expect large-scale changes to your manuscript structure when you get copyediting services.



Proofreading services are the final step in your editing process. Many people choose to have their proofreading completed after their manuscript has been formatted into a paperback format. However, be aware that your formatter will charge you per edit to correct these in your final manuscript, so doing a final self-edit and read-through of the manuscript is a great way to identify spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors before going to formatting.

Check out this article on The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading!


How Much Does Book Editing Cost?

The cost of book editing services and employing a book editor to edit your manuscript will vary depending on various factors. These factors include:

            • The editing services you purchase include developmental editing, copyediting, or proofreading.
            • The length of your manuscript.
            • The genre of your manuscript or book.
            • How much editing is required.

While proofreading and editing services aren’t cheap, they’re often not as expensive as you think either. Here at Author Services Australia, we quote on all editing services individually. This is to ensure that you’re only paying for the editing services that you need at a rate that’s fair.

Finding affordable editors for writers and book editing services isn’t difficult either.

We have a team of editors, some of which are better suited to specific genres. For example, one editor may specialize in fiction editing, while another may focus primarily on non-fiction editing services or short story editing services.

To check out our approximate editing services costs, visit our Editing Services Page and scroll down to the editing service appropriate to you. There, we break down some of the costs associated with the different types of editing services we provide, including fiction and non-fiction editing.


What Is Developmental Editing?

A developmental book editor or structural book editor is an essential part of the book editing process. At Author Services Australia, we have an experienced and professional team of developmental editors, and we’re sure that we can find a developmental book editor for your book.

A developmental edit or structural edit of your book or manuscript is a ‘big picture’ look at your manuscript. Developmental editing is also known as stylistic editing or structural editing.

Not all books will require a developmental book editor. Before we start any developmental editing of your book, our editors always assess the manuscript first to ensure you’re only paying for the book editing services you require.

Developmental editors look at character development, structure, style, narrative, pacing, voice, tone, and any specific areas of your book that need more work. A developmental book editor will help you polish your manuscript by tying up loose ends, fleshing out your characters, and ensuring that your book has a clear beginning and end.

As part of your developmental editing and our developmental editing services, our professional editors will give you a detailed report in conjunction with your edited manuscript. Many of these reports also include a lengthy style sheet that will help improve your writing skills.

At Author Services Australia, we do individual quotes for all developmental editing to ensure you’re paying for the editing services you need and to give you a clear idea of how much your developmental editing will cost. However, below is an example of some average developmental editing costs.

A 40,000-word fiction or non-fiction book is divided into 250-word sections (generally considered the industry standard) to equal a standard editorial page count of 160 pages. 160 pages of developmental editing will require anywhere from 32 – 54 hours to be fully completed.

At roughly $50 per hour, you could expect to pay between $1600 and $2700 for professional developmental editing by one of our experienced developmental editors.


What Is Copyediting?

If you have had a structural or developmental edit done of your book, you could be ready for copyediting. There are a variety of different things that your copyeditor will look at when they provide you with copy editing services.

A professional copy editor will look at spelling, grammar, and punctuation. All the stylistic and structural issues should have already been corrected in a developmental edit. Some copy editors will also focus on phrasing, tone, and consistency when they are working on your book editing services.

At Author Services Australia, all of our professional book editors will work on your manuscript in Microsoft Word, utilizing the track change’s function so you can see exactly what your book editor has done as part of your editing services. You can then either accept or reject any changes.

Giving someone a broad price on editing costs, including copyediting prices, is never easy without seeing the manuscript. However, to provide you with an approximate cost of copyediting services, please check below.

A 40,000-word book is divided into 250 words (roughly the industry standard), which equals a standard editorial page count of 160 pages.160 pages of copy editing require anywhere from 23 – to 40 hours to copy edit. At roughly $40 per hour, that’s about $920 – $1600 for professional copy editing services.


Is Proofreading and Editing the Same Thing?

Proofreading and editing are certainly not the same thing. When it comes to any professional editing services, it’s essential that you understand what editing services you are paying for and what’s included in those book editing services.

As we mentioned above, book editing services comprise of several different editing services, including developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading. It’s essential to understand not only what type of book editing services your manuscript requires but also the difference between editing services.

Be sure to check out this entire article on The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading! To get an in-depth look at the differences between proofreading and editing services.


What Is A Manuscript Evaluation or Appraisal?

A manuscript evaluation or manuscript appraisal is a professional look at your current manuscript. A manuscript evaluation can benefit new Australian authors and writers working on their first book.

You can choose either a partial manuscript evaluation or a full manuscript evaluation.

A partial manuscript evaluation by a professional book editor or writers editor. If you have been searching for editors for writers, then look no further than our experienced editing team at Author Services Australia.

A manuscript evaluation will include a complete read-through of your book or manuscript. It will cover the theme, plot, premise, genre, format, style, dialogue, plot, character development, and the overall strengths and weaknesses of your book or story.

The average price for manuscript evaluation of an 80,000-word book is between $600-900.

Be sure to check out this article: Why Manuscript Evaluations are So Important!


Working with A Book Editor

Many new authors, including self-published authors, make the mistake of editing their books so much that they never actually progress into the rest of the self-publishing or book editing process.

While other authors believe incorrectly that their book editor or writers editor can perform miracles, turning a messy, disorganized, and disjointed manuscript into a best seller.

There’s a fine line between perfecting your manuscript and handing it over to your book editor for them to edit your book. In this section about working with a book editor, you’ll learn:

            1. What Your Book Editor Does
            2. Learning to Edit Quickly | Done Is Better Than Perfect
            3. Read Your Book Aloud
            4. Do A Second Self-Edit of Your Book
            5. Trust Your Book Editor
            6. What to Expect from Your Editor


What Your Book Editor Does

Your book editor will read through your manuscript and make or suggest editing changes that will ultimately improve your book. Depending on what editing services you choose, we covered the different types of editing services above in more detail. An editor will correct grammar, style, punctuation, content, structure, tone, and much more.

What a book editor won’t do is turn a pile of garbage into a best-selling book. They aren’t there to write your book for you. An editor is only polishing your final manuscript.

Your editor, through their book editing services, will give you an outsider’s perspective of your work. Love them or hate them. Your book editor is only there to make your book better.


Learning to Edit Quickly | Done Is Better Than Perfect

As an author, you need to learn the art of self-editing your work quickly and efficiently.

Do you know how much your book will make if it’s sitting on your computer and never gets published? Nothing. Unpublished books will not sell a single copy.

While self-editing your book is an essential part of the writing and editing process, don’t get dragged into a loop of self-editing your book to death.

Instead of trying to achieve perfection, focus on achieving the best you can do, and then hand over your manuscript to your editor.


Read Your Book Aloud

If you sit and read your book aloud, you’ll quickly identify any errors or edits you would have missed simply reading off your computer.

Reading aloud is a great way to identify when a sentence sounds natural or clunky and needs some improvement.


Do A Second Self-Edit of Your Book

As you read your book aloud, make notes or make edits and changes. This should be considered as your second and final self-edit. Don’t get stuck in a self-editing loop that you can’t escape from.

You could also hand over your manuscript to an alpha reader or beta reader that you trust. However, don’t just give them your manuscript and say, ‘Read this and let me know what you think.’ Instead, give them some questions or a form to fill out. This is especially important if you utilize multiple beta readers as part of your self-editing process. A form will ensure that your beta readers focus on addressing or answering any specific concerns or questions that you have.


Trust Your Book Editor

This may sound obvious, but trust your editor. Let your book editor do what they are being paid to do, and allow them to edit your manuscript.

Go into the editing process with open eyes and be willing to accept your editor’s suggestions.

You don’t have to blindly accept all edits, and nor should you, but going into the process with a bad attitude or expectations can really hurt your editing.

Trust your book editor to do their job. An editing sample of a chapter or a few pages before you start the editing process, is an excellent way to judge how your editor will edit your book.


What to Expect from Your Editor

When your editor is finished editing your book or manuscript, you will receive a Microsoft Word document with track changes enabled. This will clearly show you all the edits that your editor made throughout the editing process.

You may also receive a letter, style guide, or style sheet along with your fully edited manuscript.

As the author and client, it’s up to you which edits you choose to accept or reject. However, remember what we said above. Trust your editor and go into your book editing with open eyes and mind, willing to accept or consider your editor’s suggestions.


What Is Book Editing? – Conclusion

There you go! A complete guide to book editing and the book editing process for any author or writer searching for book editing services.

If you are an Australian or New Zealand author or writer searching for affordable editing services, our friendly and professional editing team at Author Services Australia is happy to help!

Need any help with self-publishing services, such as ghostwritingeditingformattingcover design, or manuscript uploading? Our experienced team is here to help turn your dream of self-publishing a book into a reality.

If you need any assistance with copyediting, developmental editing, or proofreading, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly. Editing can take your book from good to great! However, you need to not only be part of the process, but willing to accept your editors advice.

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