After you have completed your manuscript, you are going to want to get an editor, someone skilled with a fresh pair of eyes to give you book a polish and a spit shine. I recommend three fresh pairs of eyes.
The first pair should be a structural editor or book coach. They can help you with the overall structure of your novel, the pace, the narrative, the point of view, the flow of what you have written and will help you get rid of unnecessary words or clichés. Use a book coach to give your manuscript “reader appeal.”
Once that pair is done, slide your manuscript over to a copy editor. They will find and correct your mistakes in grammar, word choice, verb tenses, continuity, and style. Think of them as the grammar police.
The final pair of eyes belong to a proofreader or a line by line editor. They will find and correct what hasn’t already been found and fixed. This is the last step before going to the printing presses.
I recommend doing the editing in exactly this order. If you get the overall reader appeal stuff done before you bring in the grammar police, you will save yourself a lot of headache and time. I know from experience. I kept revising “Knitting Up a Murder” and then initiating a new round of grammar edits each time. You should also do a fresh read through when you get your proof from the publisher—preferably aloud, to catch those stragglers that your readers are sure to find.
-Celeste Bennett, author
Yarn Genie Mysteries