A while back I wrote a blog post about the different levels of editing: developmental editing, copy or line editing, and proofreading. I would now like to refine that advice a bit.
I was the sole editor for my publishing company, Legacy Book Press LLC’s, predecessor, 918studio press. When we were in the process of finalizing our first two publications. I copy/line edited one of the books, submitted it to the author, who reviewed it, and sent it back for proofreading. I proofread it, returned it, and then he and a friend he had review it found additional changes. This has led me to the conclusion that I am a good editor, I am a good proofreader, but I’m not good at doing both.
It seems that after copy/line editing a piece, my brain is trained just as if it was my own work (for which I know I can neither completely edit or proofread myself). My brain remembers what I read before and causes me to see what should be there instead of what actually is there, so I miss a lot.
So, to refine my advice about the three editing/revision levels, I’m now recommending that you get different people to do each of the three levels. If that’s not possible, at the very least, make sure the person’s eyes have a significant break between the first and next editing levels. That’s why I essentially just proofread for Legacy Book Press; the manuscripts come in already edited.