Working With an Editor on Your Children’s Book Part II
Oct 31, 2014
“What are all these different kinds of editing?” The levels of editing go by many different names and can have a very different focus, especially with children’s books. Proofreading occurs after the book has been illustrated and laid out. Typically, an editor will edit by hand on a printed version and then send those to the designer or illustrator to make changes. Copyediting would occur before the illustration and design process and usually is completed in a Word file, which gives much more flexibility (for both the author and editor!). Line editing is more common and appropriate with chapter books, as they tend to need more help with transitions, looking at chapter breaks, etc. Developmental editing is less common for children’s books, as this recommendation typically means that an author (with the help of an editor) needs to revisit one or more of the “points to consider” (check these out in the first installment of “Working With an Editor on Your Children’s Book”) or that the organization of the book as a whole should be revisited. This can be much more time consuming, which leads to the next frequently asked question…
“How long does it take?” On average, the editorial process could take between three and four weeks for a children’s book, which includes an initial two weeks with an editor to go through a few times and make suggestions; however, a lot of the time frame will depend on the author’s revision schedule and the complexity of the book. For example, if the book has already been laid out, a proofread (even if it is just for a thirty-page picture book) may end up taking much longer if I have to wait to receive new files from the designer or if new issues are introduced when the other corrections are made.
“When should editing occur?” As much as I like to see the finished illustrations as I’m editing, it is generally easiest if it occurs before illustrations and layout are complete as this gives me the most flexibility with the author. Like I mentioned above with proofreading, the editorial process can occur after the design, this may just mean that the process as a whole takes longer (i.e., waiting on files from a designer). No matter what though, it is important to do a final proofread to make sure no errors were introduced, that no text got bumped to the wrong page, and to make sure the text and illustrations are printing well together.