This is the earliest stage of editing, and it may even begin before you’ve started writing! Maybe you haven’t written a rough draft yet, but you have a great theme you would like to pursue. You need someone to help map out your book. I can help you develop an outline and establish the structure of your book. If you already have a rough draft finished, I can evaluate your manuscript to determine if it needs reorganizing or restructuring. We can brainstorm together, coming up with a plan to meet your goal.
This is the "big picture" stage, and it involves a lot of feedback, rewriting, structural revisions, and research. As an editor, I'm looking for areas where you may have veered off topic and have lost the thread of your theme. Or perhaps you've touched on a fantastic point but didn't develop it enough and have left the reader hanging.
It's also very important to have a clear focus and chosen readership. Who is your audience? How will you meet their needs? Establishing these elements early on will help lay the foundation of a strong manuscript.
You've finished the first draft of your manuscript. Wonderful! What's next? Now that the structure and most of the content are settled, I will take a more focused look at the overall effectiveness of your manuscript. I will evaluate the flow of your writing, the effectiveness of transitions, and the clarity of your presentation. There may be a little shifting around of content—rearranging for maximum effectiveness. Some areas may need beefing up and some may need condensing.
This is also the time when you will need to finalize what content you're using from other sources, because you may need to seek permission to use the content. This really needs to be addressed as early as possible to give the individuals or companies enough time to respond. Don't be worried about formatting the citations. I'm very comfortable handling that element, and I will be glad to take care of those if they are needed.
In this stage, our goal is to prepare your manuscript for the next phase—copyediting.
Now it's time to tie up any loose ends, ensuring readability and consistency. The structure and content of your book have been shored up by now, so this is where I really look at technical issues and search for grammatical errors. I address issues of verb usage, parallel construction, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. I also double-check facts and look for any distractions in writing style.
Are you still waiting to receive any permissions for quoting sources? Better check your list and follow up on any unresolved communication. After refining your manuscript as much as possible, you'll be ready to hand your book to a proofreader.