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Book Structural Editing


Structural editing is an integral part of creating the perfect finish to your novel. Too often the writer forgets the importance of well-structured sentences, succinct and well-timed delivery of information and of course—basic grammar and spelling comprehension.


Structural editing is a comprehensive process that begins with the editor taking the time to read the novel from beginning to end to better associate themselves with the plot, characters and general feel of the author’s writing style.


How the editing begins is entirely up to the author. If paper format is preferred, the novel will be printed (double-spaced) and corrections made within the text and in the margins when necessary.


Shadow Ink Press follows the Australian Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers in order to complete these necessary corrections. If you are unfamiliar with the use of these style marks, then a small key will be provided to you in order to streamline corrections within the text.


Naturally, editing using the paper method is a lengthy process and extra time will be required in order to complete a full manuscript. However, the most popular and easiest method of correction is to use Microsoft Word ‘Track Changes’. These are in-text corrections and comments via computer that can be suggested and then approved by the author before any changes are actually made to the original document. It is quick, easy to navigate for both author and editor and the most universally used process that makes adapting the novel to typesetting formats easier in the future.


Editing a novel takes time regardless of the paper or computer processes. The stages of the structural edit are listed below:


  1. A 50% deposit is paid directly to Shadow Ink Press before any commencement of work as well as a ‘Standard Agreement’ which outlines what will and won’t be provided along with guidelines for the author to follow. Once the deposit has been received and the agreement signed, the editor will be in direct contact with the author either by phone or e-mail depending on geography. During this initial meet and greet, the editor will ascertain the author’s preferences for the process; the timeline in which they are expecting completion of work and any other questions either party feels needs to be tackled before beginning.


  1. Next, the entire manuscript is read from cover to cover in order to better associate the editor with the author’s style of writing, characterisation and overall plot. Small corrections may be made at this point; they will be simple adjustments such as spelling or grammar amendments within the text. Any of these corrections will be basic enough not to require pre-authorisation or immediate approval from the author—no adjustments to the creative process, structure or style or writing will be permitted at this point.


  1. The next stage is classified as the first round of structural edits. The editor will now diligently move through the manuscript suggesting changes in their multiple forms. As mentioned earlier, these will either be noted within text (handwritten) or in track changes (Microsoft Word). Comments will be attached to any suggestion that is made giving reason as to the preferential change and its purpose. Naturally the choice to make these corrections will be at the author’s discretion and discussed in more detail via phone or e-mail should the editor feel that leaving the text unchanged will have a negative effect on the overall finished product. Likewise, if the author feels justified in their decision to use a certain method of language delivery, spelling or style of structural content, the editor will take this into consideration. After all, at Shadow Ink Press, we are more than aware that a manuscript is an author’s intellectual property and respect that fact.


  1. At this stage the first round of editorial corrections are either mailed or e-mailed back to the author for their perusal. The author should take the time to carefully consider the editor’s advice and decide whether or not it is right for their manuscript. Once the author is satisfied that they agree to the changes—or perhaps disagree—the amended manuscript comes back to the editor for the final edit. At this stage if the author has queries about the editor’s choice of changes regarding structural content, grammar or even spelling, now is the time that these issues are addressed and resolved before moving onto the final edit.


  1. With all queries attended to in more detail, the editor now moves onto the final stage of editing. This is a very important process where there should be little to change or resolve after detailed discussion and corrections were made within the first round of edits. Any last minute corrections at this stage will mostly concentrate around spelling mishaps and minor adjustments to formatting that may have been affected during the process-to-date.


  1. Now that the final stage of editorial corrections is complete, Shadow Ink Press will send the balance invoice as well as a ‘Completion of Work Waiver’ that will need to be signed and returned with payment within seven business days.


  1. The completed manuscript is then returned to the author for the final time and if there are any more issues or concerns, the author is more than welcome to address these via e-mail or phone to finalise the entire process or clear up any miscommunication errors. The ‘Completion of Work Waiver’  must be returned at this time.


Please consider that if you do complete the editing process with Shadow Ink Press, we’d also be more than happy to assist you with your typesetting, cover design and publishing needs. We also make it our mission to ensure our clients are attended to at every step of the way, so if at any time you need further clarification regarding any stage of any product process with this company, our friendly staff will always be happy to assist.


We also understand that time constraints are of constant concern for any busy author, thus we make your manuscript our priority and will discuss possible time frames required in order to complete a structural edit within a timely fashion. However, there are the occasional extenuating circumstances which will naturally be disclosed to the author either before the process begins or as soon as possible so as not to cause unnecessary delays.


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book edits