The Basics: Types of Editors

There are as many different types of editors as there are publications, and their responsibilities change from company to company. The list below includes a few of the more universal positions, along with their typical duties.

Copy Editor: Spelling, punctuation, grammar, flow, consistency, fact-checking, character development, dialogue … These editors can do it all. In the case of freelance editors, copy editing services are usually broken into light, medium, and heavy categories, with the cost of the service depending upon the depth of the work. (For instance, a “light” copyedit might only include spelling, punctuation, and grammar.)

Literary Editor: Details both the strengths and weaknesses of your work while also including concrete suggestions for improvement.

Developmental Editor: Starts at the beginning, working in concert with the author every step of the way. Offers advice, answers questions, and provides the services of both a literary and copy editor.

Proofreader: The last step on the road to publication, a proofreader’s job is to catch what others have missed with regard to the core issues of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and format (but not the organization, flow, character development, etc.). (Note: This title is also used to denote an editor who only checks the basics of spelling, punctuation, and grammar.)