What Type of Editing Do You Need?

Every professionally published book goes through different stages of editing. Whether you plan to publish independently or traditionally, the service you need depends on where you are in your writing or publishing journey. Don’t know what type of service you need? I can review a sample of your manuscript and let you know what level of editing is right for you. 

Cypress Editing currently offers the following editorial services for fiction and nonfiction manuscripts:

  • Manuscript evaluation
  • Developmental editing
  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading

Manuscript Evaluation

This service is ideal for first-time authors or writers who are looking for initial feedback on an early draft. I will read the entire manuscript once and prepare an editorial letter addressing overall strengths and weaknesses and specific suggestions for revision.

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing looks at the big picture. Does the book accomplish what it set out to do? Are the characters strong, with clear and believable motivations? Is the core conflict compelling? Were there any particularly slow chapters or anything that could take the reader out of the story? Is the point of view consistent? Does the book meet the expectations of the genre? These issues and more are reviewed in depth during a developmental edit.

As your developmental editor, I will establish a collaborative and supportive relationship with you and assess your manuscript as a whole. I will look at plot, structure, theme, character development, dialogue, world building, descriptions, voice, pace, and point of view—the elements of storytelling. You will receive in-line comments and a detailed editorial letter that lists the main concerns in the manuscript and specific suggestions to fix these problems. I understand that revision can be overwhelming, and I will provide a clear road map for this process.


Copyediting is the process of fixing grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, syntax, and tense errors and ensuring the writer’s message is clear, consistent, and engaging. Copyediting typically takes place after a developmental edit (if the manuscript needed one) and before proofreading.

Having your manuscript professionally copyedited is a vital step to the publication process. Industry-trained professionals like myself know when to look things up or query an author if something isn’t clear. This is why I find mistakes that your family, friends, and beta readers didn’t when they read your manuscript. As your copyeditor, I will correct your mistakes but also help polish and tighten your prose to keep the reader engaged. This could mean substituting weak words or phrases with stronger alternatives, restructuring sentences, and addressing flow. I will also find and fix problems with the following:

  • Logic and continuity in plot and character thoughts, dialogue, and action
  • Repetition of specific words or details
  • Consistency in timeline, plot, details, character names and descriptions, stylistic choices, and formatting
  • Potential permissions issues (e.g., if you have used lyrics, poems, or other content that might require permission to reprint)
  • Clarity and word choice
  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, syntax, and verb tense
  • General writing errors and things that should be avoided (e.g., head hopping, info dumping, dangling modifiers)

I always keep a detailed style sheet, which is a separate document that lists specific style decisions, character and place names and descriptions, spellings, and other conventions used throughout the manuscript to ensure consistency. My style sheet also includes a brief summary of the events in each chapter so that I can track the story line. All of my edits are made using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes so that you can see what I have changed, and in-line comments are made using Word’s Comments feature.

In addition to receiving the marked-up manuscript and style sheet, you will receive a detailed editorial letter that summarizes my edits and provides a solid blueprint for going forward.

Note: I have experience editing nonfiction manuscripts that contain in-text citations, bibliographies or reference lists, endnotes, and footnotes. I have edited many multi-author volumes and can edit for consistency throughout the entire volume or per chapter.


Proofreading, which is often confused with copyediting, is the last chance for errors to be caught in a manuscript before publication. As your proofreader, I will work to catch any errors that slipped through after copyediting­ or during the typesetting or formatting stages. I will correct misspellings, typos, subject-verb disagreement, usage errors, misnumbering, and incorrect or outdated cross-references. I am a meticulous proofreader and am always on high alert for misused homophones, missing words, and extra words. I can check typeset copy against the original manuscript and mark deviations and verify that corrections have been entered correctly, if necessary. I can proofread in Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader, InCopy, and other applications.

When proofreading a typeset manuscript, I will check margins, spacing, word breaks, and other layout issues. I will also check consistency in design—page numbers, typeface, fonts, running heads, and overall appearance. If your book has illustrations or tables, I will proof them against the originals and ensure their consistency throughout the text.When proofreading an e-book, I will ensure all content is present, verify internal links, and check for formatting problems that are common as a result of file conversion.