Recently I’ve been working with several authors to help them put together Book Marketing Action Plans. In the process I’ve realized that many first time authors are confused about the differences between book editing and book publishing. Although the two services are complementary of each other, they are still distinct parts of the process of creating a book. Here’s a quick explanation of editing vs. publishing:
An editor’s services are designed to help make sure that the manuscript of your book is free of errors and as readable as possible. Editors look for grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and usage errors that will affect the clarity of the book. They also make suggestions regarding content, clarity, and pacing, making sure that the book is readable and enjoyable. A book riddled with errors, confusing phrases and a rushed pace will not be enjoyable and therefore not as successful.
It is important to note that an editor is NOT a publisher! Editors focus on the manuscript and its content, not on how to format the book for print, find a cover, and market it. Although some publishers do provide editors for their authors, the editors are not the ones who ultimately publish the book. Some people may offer both services, but you need to check with them beforehand. Do not assume that you will be receiving publishing as part of the editing fee or vice versa-that is often not the case.
An editor’s job should be completed before the publishing process begins. The book needs to be edited and error-free before it should be published.
Once the book has been edited, then it is time to start the publishing process. This is the part where the manuscript is changed into the final format the book will take on, the cover is selected, the page number is finalized, the ISBN numbers are assigned, and the book is ultimately put into circulation (either in print or on an e-book format).
There are a couple different ways to publish: through a publishing house or self-publishing by using tools such as CreateSpace. It is important to have the help of someone who has experience with self-publishing tools to guide you through the process. This person might be your editor, but it’s important to understand that editing and publishing are different processes that work together.