This April, I had the opportunity to teach an Introduction to Developmental Editing audio conference for Copyediting. Developmental editing is a great tool that an author can use to maximize their book’s potential. Teaching Copyediting.com’s audio course gave me the chance to help publishing professionals understand the basics of developmental editing, when it’s needed, and why they might add it to their repertoire.
My seminar began with an introduction to developmental editing: Many copyeditors have received drafts that were still very rough, whose structure needs support before the copyediting phase. There is a vast difference between copyediting and developmental editing, as developmental editing improves the manuscript in a more holistic way. We discussed these differences, including what a developmental editor is looking to improve in different manuscript types and the priorities of a developmental edit.
Our introduction also covered the essential skills of a developmental editor and how to improve those skills or find other professionals to partner with. We also discussed the red flags to look for in works that may need developmental editing—your clients will thank you for it.
A few participants shared their experience of the talk:
Ally Machate’s Introduction to Developmental Editing conference was a great help in spelling out for me what developmental editors do, especially as compared to other editorial professionals. Like many copy editors, I’ve done deep or heavy editing, but no formal developmental work. I now have a much clearer picture of the authority, scope, and priorities of a DE versus those of a copy editor. The best practices she provided will help me keep focused on what the author and his or her readers truly need from a DE. I also appreciate that she didn’t limit the DE role only to books; I wouldn’t have thought of white papers, blog posts, and shorter texts like essays or articles as needing developmental work! I’m happy to recommend Ally’s course, and I look forward to putting it into practice!—James M. Fraleigh, Freelance copy editor, proofreader, and writer
Ally pointed out the red flags editors should look for early on in a project…giving her students a welcome vaccination against deadly scope creep. She draws on her extensive publishing experience to lay out a list of best practices for editors doing developmental work. A sound introduction to a daunting topic.”—Jan Safran, Freelance Editor
Ally’s audio seminar on developmental editing was well organized, comprehensive, clear, and fun. She covered a huge number of points in a short time and the handout made it easy to follow along. I learned things that I could apply as soon as I got back to my desk.—Adrienne Montgomerie, Freelance Editor and Educator