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Copy Editor vs. Developmental Editor
What kind of Editor do you need?
Just about any good copywriter can edit someone else's copy.
That doesn't make them an Editor. A good editor serves many functions, and begins
by establishing with the publisher exactly what those functions are.
The Copy Editor
Some editorial situations call for a Copy Editor. He or she revises or even rewrites the
copy to make it succinct, correct, organized and well-stated. But, if your blog has multiple guest contributors, should we retain each writer's
tone and style, while still doing everything else an editor should? Or should I massage their writing to achieve a consistent
tone in keeping with your own? Or even put the text into the publisher's voice altogether?
If a contribution is short on substance, should I fill it out with additional on-topic copy points?
Or ask the author to do that?
There are yet more issues: If the contribution turns out to be a duplicate of what they've already posted on
their own blog, does it need a complete re-writing? Will the piece interest your users, readers or customers ... or does it merely
serve the author? And who will explain these policies to the writer(s)?
In one of my early experiences as a Copy Editor of other people's work, I didn't realize all these factors. I simply corrected
spelling and grammar, tidied up or improved the rhetoric, and if the the piece seemed thin, I sometimes added
a bit of content from my own experience. Which is all fine, if the author is expecting that. Some welcomed
the improvements. But some didn't; you can imagine their reaction. Ouch. So I discussed this with
my client, and we explained the ground rules to future guest authors. No problem after that.
The Developmental Editor
Then, there is another type of editing – the Developmental Editor. As the title suggests,
this person works with the author to develop the article. The editor considers a manuscript from every angle. He or she might return it to the
author with recommendations for improving it and/or areas of exploration. Similar to an Assignment Editor,
the Developmental Editor might choose the topic, recommend sources, and so on — like an Editor at a publishing house.
A Developmental Editor may also create an Editorial Calendar (a schedule of articles), select authors and and/or manage the department, as a magazine editor does.
And then there's the hybrid situation, when a Copy Editor tactfully suggests changes and/or additions to the author, who can take the advice or leave it.
By now, I've had experience with all these situations, and am ready to jump in. If you already know the answers to
these questions, great. Or, if you need to work out your policies, I can help with that, too.
I've done this for the newsletters and
blogs of an audio studio, a volunteer ski club (including cajoling its members to contribute), a small
bank, video producers, and others.
For more information about developmental and copy editing,
please call 718-577-0005 during NYC business hours,
or write me. Let's discuss
how you might benefit by hiring a writer whose perspective is broader than some.