Dania Sheldon (D.Phil., Oxon.)

Professional Editing Services since 1997

Definitions of Editorial Skills*

Project Management and Editing
Coordinating and editing a project from proposal or rough manuscript to final manuscript, incorporating input from authors, consultants and reviewers. May include budgeting, hiring, design supervision and project coordination.

Manuscript Assessment
Reading an entire manuscript, then providing the author with a detailed report assessing strengths and weaknessess, and making recommendations for how the author can improve the manuscript.

Structural Editing (also called Substantive Editing)
Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure.

Copy Editing
Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanical aspects of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts; marking head levels and approximate placement of art; notifying designer of any unusual production requirements. May include Canadianizing; metrication; providing or changing system of citations; writing or editing captions and/or credit lines; writing running heads; providing or editing preliminary materials, end materials, dust jacket blurbs.

Stylistic Editing
Clarifying meaning, smoothing language and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing.

Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by an author. May include some research and writing of original material.

Reading and correcting page proofs of edited manuscript. This is not to be confused with copy editing, which takes place before the manuscript has been formatted into page proofs. Proofreading may be done electronically using a tracking function, or on hard-copy printouts marked up with standard proofreading symbols.

Producing an alphabetical list of subjects, concepts, names, places, etc., that appear in a work. This is not done using the “index” function of a word processing program.

Design and Layout
Preparation of manuscript as camera-ready copy for submission to the publisher’s production department. May include book cover design.

Listing permissions needed to reproduce previously published material, and/or obtaining the permission of the publishers (and authors, when applicable). May include inserting permissions information into the manuscript.

Picture/Image Research
Locating suitable photos and/or artwork. May include obtaining camera-ready reproductions; preparing descriptions for illustrations, maps and diagrams; supervising production of final artwork; obtaining releases from and/or conducting financial negotiations with picture sources and artists; preparing labels, captions and sources identifications.

Fact and/or Reference Checking
Checking accuracy of facts and/or quotes by reference to original sources used by author and/or from other sources.


* These definitions are based upon but not identical to those of the Editors' Association of Canada.