Sure you can. I rushed my first book to Create Space as an e-book thinking if I could write it, I could edit it. NOT. When I found typos that I'd overlooked, I realized I'd need to spend money not only re-converting the file, but fixing errors in the print version. That was all the convincing I needed to hire an editor.
See the detailed descriptions below to determine what you need.
Some editors also call this structural editing, substantive editing, or line editing. The purpose of developmental editing is to correct big picture issues with story line, characters, and the flow of the book. In a business book, the editor evaluates purpose, organization, and flow. It is done after the author has finished the draft and before copy editing and proofing.
A book may not require developmental editing. One way for the author to find out is to have some trusted beta readers provide feedback. The other way is to submit the work to the copy editor and ask them to make this assessment as they begin their review. Just as proofreading and copy editing are specialties, not all copy editors do developmental editing. You may need to identify a professional developmental editor.
In developmental editing, the editor will spend considerable time on structure, pacing, organization, style consistency and syntax, transitions, character development and plot holes (fiction), and consistency of voice.
Copy editing includes a detailed word by word mechanical edit for grammar, word choice, and sentence and paragraph structure. The copy editor’s goal is to improve the writing so that it flows and shines while retaining the style, or “voice” of the author.
Copy editing checks for:
When do you need copy editing? My advice? On 100 percent of anything you plan to publish.
Why is punctuation necessary?
Take a look at these sentences:
Need I say more?
This is the final step before publishing. It is done when the manuscript returns from the formatter (we used to call this typesetting). It is a final review of:
Proofreading is not a review of:
Proofing is done inside the pdf file and that file is then sent back to the author, who submits it to the formatter for corrections. If there a lot of errors, the process may have several iterations.
Proofing also includes reviewing the book cover for correctness.
EBooks (ePub file) are also proofed using computer and mobile readers to make sure the text is reflowable.
If your manuscript has already been reviewed developmentally and copy edited by a professional certified editor, you may not need our full proofreading service. Consider using our Proof Light service, designed to catch all the issues and formatting errors that crop up as you go to typesetting or formatting.
We will check your manuscript for pagination, font consistency, page spacing, text alignment, graphics spacing and alignment, drop cap and style inconsistencies, formatting errors, and e-Reader compatibility. Up to three reviews included.
For every kind of publishing there exists a usage guide for citations and style. From research papers to law, medicine, and science to newspapers, memoirs, and self-improvement books, there is a guide most suited for it. Before you publish you will need to decide which style guide your editor will adhere to. Two guides you may be familiar with are Associated Press (AP), and the Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago).
Choose your style by looking at books in your genre. For example, while not all memoirs are done in Chicago style, most of them are. You'll also see some using Associated Press (AP).
Typically, AP style is used in newspaper publishing and magazines. What are style differences?
Here are some examples: AP spells out numbers under ten and uses numerals over ten, while Chicago spells out numbers up to and including one hundred. Chicago uses italics for most titles while AP uses quotation marks for many titles and nothing special at all for newspaper and magazine titles.
When I want to quickly identify what style the author is using, I look for the em dashes. These are the long dashes—like these—that are easy to spot. AP style uses spaces on either side of the em dash, and Chicago does not. I also look at titles for clues. AP uses quotation marks around significant works, while Chicago uses italics. You should also know that AP does not use the oxford comma, or the comma between the second-to-last item in a list and the conjunction before the last item (and/or).
Oxford or serial comma example:
Chicago: I like dogs, cats, and ponies.
AP: I like dogs, cats and ponies.
Because leaving the comma out can sometimes cause confusion, I personally prefer the Chicago style.
You will see differences between dictionaries. Since most of my editing is done using the Chicago Style (Chicago Manual of Style, latest edition), I use what Chicago recommends, which is Webster's Third New International Dictionary and its chief abridgement, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, latest edition.
If the two editions disagree, I follow the Collegiate, since it represents the latest lexical research.