Developmental Editing, Content Editing, Line Editing, Copy Editing, Proofreading: What’s the Difference?

Dispelling the confusion around the editing stage labels

Robin Nemesszeghy
10 min readAug 11, 2023

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Photo by Bettina Barth on Unsplash

So you’ve written a book. You’ve gone through it multiple times, revised it, rewrote it, restructured it — you’ve taken it as far as you can, and now you’re looking for a fresh set of eyes to go over it, since yours are all burnt out at this point. Who do you call? An editor of course. (Did you think Ghostbusters?)

But wait. An editor, right? What kind though? Aren’t there multiple types? You’ve heard of a few. You do a quick Google search and check out a few editing services. You start to see different adjectives popping up before each search result. You scratch your head as you read through them. Stylistic, structural, content, line, developmental, copy…Do you really need all of these? And some of them seem to give you editorial letters, while others don’t. Do you need that?

If this has been you during any part of your book writing journey, you’re definitely not…

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Robin Nemesszeghy

Little Red Bird, flitting around to deliver words to the page | Creative Thinker & Writer | MBTI Specialist & Personality Coach | Editor & Book Coach