How to Determine the Right Level of Editing for Your Book

Before you joined the ranks of book authors, you likely didn't understand how many stages of editing go into crafting a well-produced book. You also probably wouldn't have guessed that there are no universally accepted definitions of the various editing stages, making it even more tricky to find the right services. Where one editor might offer a content edit with three rounds, another could provide two stages of editing, calling them a substantive edit and a line edit, one round each. Despite using different names, these editors could easily be offering about the same level of services.

Not only that, some editors bundle their work together into packages, while others go with a la carte options. And some are entirely customized, designing a new editorial proposal for each author.

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The Editing Stages at Noel Editorial

After conversations with other editors, general market research, and especially reflecting on which process leads to the cleanest, strongest final drafts, we set up our services this way:

  • Beta Read/Manuscript Assessment

  • Developmental Edit

  • Line Edit

  • Copyedit

  • Proofread

Because most authors follow a standard revision path, we also created packages to cover the most common requests:

  • Developmental Edit + Line Edit

  • Copyedit + Proofread

  • Pro Package

Editorial Questions to Guide Your Decision

If you're wondering where your book fits in, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I just starting out? Do I have a second or third draft but I'm not sure if I'm on the right track with my plot, my structure, my writing skills?

    • Choose a Beta Read/Manuscript Evaluation

  2. Have I been through several rounds of revisions and am ready for a professional to evaluate the strength of my story?

    • Choose a Developmental Edit

  3. Do I feel confident in the macro elements of my manuscript — POV, pacing, plot, structure, dialogue, voice — but could use feedback on how to smooth and refine my writing at the sentence-by-sentence, language level?

    • Choose a Line Edit

  4. Am I close to being done with the editing process and need a professional to ensure accuracy of spelling/grammar/punctuation, fact-checking, consistency, and continuity?

    • Choose a Copyedit

  5. Am I itching to publish but need a final review for last-minute errors?

    • Choose a Proofread

If you're still unsure, or you just want to talk over your situation with us, we offer free 20-minute consultations by phone or Zoom, or, of course, emailing. Contact us at to set something up. 

Take a look at our Editing Services for more information and pricing guidelines.