Editors supervise a range of functions in a publishing house and have many tasks that need to be accomplished before a book is ready to be launched. When people hear the word “editor” they usually imagine someone who spell checks and is a stickler for grammar. While this is true, a lot more goes into editing a manuscript. When a manuscript is picked for publication there are many alterations and decisions that need to be made before the book can go to print. These alterations are made by different kinds of editors.
The first editor a manuscript goes through is the Acquisitions Editor. This is the editor that picks out the manuscript and decides if it would be a profitable choice for the Publishing House. He makes a pitch to the House to publish the manuscript and figures out all the budgeting, marketing, and contractual decisions. He is also the editor that facilitates communication between publisher and writer.
When a manuscript has been chosen it may need a heavy amount of editing. This work goes to the Developmental Editor. This editor works very closely with a writer as they try to develop the work to be its best. Content, organization, and presentation are all considered. He assists the writer in developing material including characters, setting, and plot, if needed. He may suggest additional research to be done to “flesh out” certain parts of the material for clarity and to create better flow. He makes comments on style, structure, and flow of information. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are also checked along with URL links, captions, graphics, footnotes, references, photos, tables, quotes, bibliography, and citations. This type of editing is the most invasive, so the editor works closely with the writer to be sure that he approves changes and his original voice is preserved.
Next in line is the Line Editor. He goes through a manuscript line by line and finds grammar and spelling errors that compromise the quality of the material. He makes sure that word choice contributes to the overall tone of the book. In some publishing fields the Line Editor and Copy Editor positions are combined into one.
The Copy Editor is the one to go over a manuscript before it's ready for print. He examines the document for inconsistencies in theme, style, and factual information. He checks permissions for copyright material and ensures there will be no legal conflicts. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are also scanned again. The main purpose of a Copy Editor is to make sure the import of text is clear and amusing for the reader.
In the home stretch, the edited manuscript goes to the Production Editor who oversees the transition between manuscript and published book. He is the last person to review the material before print. He manages the typesetting, artwork, and budgeting and ensures quality is met in all other areas of editing.