How does this work?

Thank you for visiting the online home of Ex Libris Editing! Ex Libris literally means “from the book” in Latin, and the phrase is commonly used to describe an inscription of ownership in a book, usually in the form of a bookplate or seal.

Authors, editors, and publishers all share a common goal: to send words out into the world. But what good is that goal if we’re not sending out our best work? Samuel Johnson once said that, “…an author merely begins a book. A reader finishes it.” Editors live in the middle of this relationship between author and reader. We strive to facilitate the exchange of words and ideas through clear communication, passionate dedication to the craft of editing, and excellent customer service, so that your readers get nothing but the best. We hope you will join us for the ride!

Below, you will find a detailed breakdown of how editing works at Ex Libris.


Proofreading, or Proofing: When a project has reached the proofreading stage, the editor is just looking for typos, formatting issues, and other very small changes. Also, proofreading at Ex Libris can be employed for short, simple documents that just need a “once over.” This process takes the least amount of time and effort on the editor’s behalf, and therefore generally costs the least.

Copyediting: This process is also called line editing, and can fall into three categories: light, medium, and heavy.

1. Light: One step up from proofreading, a light copyedit looks for basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling (GPS) issues.
2. Medium: A medium copyedit covers everything a light copy edit does, but goes more in-depth with edits to the structure and feel of a piece. Some formatting and structural changes are usually made at this level.
3. Heavy: A heavy copyedit covers everything from GPS issues to changes to larger structural elements of the piece.

Developmental Editing: Also called substantive editing, a developmental edit is as in-depth as an editor can go with a manuscript, and addresses the overall structure and thrust of the manuscript. A developmental edit can include any or all of these things:

1. Plot development
2. Character development
3. Pacing
4. Tone
5. Worldbuilding

A developmental edit differs from a heavy copyedit in that a developmental edit focuses on larger, more thematic changes rather than line edits. Author involvement is key in the developmental editing process, and strong, consistent communication is essential between editor and author at this stage.

Besides proofreading, copyediting, and developmental editing, we also offer a manuscript review service, encompassing a quick rundown of what a piece needs. While not as in depth as a developmental edit, this approach will get you a targeted report from a pair of critical, impartial eyes to help you determine what your manuscript needs next on its journey towards publication.

A note on keeping it separated: While we will always strive to correct smaller errors if and when we catch them while performing a heavy copy edit or developmental edit, this does not mean that we are simultaneously performing a proofread. It would be near impossible to catch every small error in a manuscript while simultaneously performing large-scale developmental changes. In other words, the lines between different types of editing are sometimes blurry, and it is best to keep different types/levels of editing separate at any given time. In order to do your work justice, after you complete a copyedit or developmental edit with Ex Libris, we will happily supply you with referrals to other trusted editors.

A note on fact checking: We will not fact check your work unless expressly requested to do so. Fact checking is a time-consuming process and requires tapping in to a different skill set, and thus we request that it be kept separate. If you are interested in pursuing a fact checking project separate from an editing project, please let us know.

If you are interested in working with Ex Libris: Visit the Request a Quote page and fill out the form you will find there. We will get back to you shortly with more information about pricing, a project timeline, and editing contract information.

If you have any questions at all, please contact us.

Ex Libris Editing operates both on paper and electronically. Most edits are done electronically either in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Pro, but we will also consider editing paper copies if specifically requested. When working in Microsoft Word, we use the Track Changes feature. We accept .doc/.docx documents unless otherwise specified/agreed upon.

A note on confidentiality: Ex Libris Editing will never betray our client’s confidentiality. Your work is seen by our eyes only, and we will never sell, reproduce, or distribute your work without your express written permission.


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