Author: Kotobee

We're a quirky group of writers dedicating our time to unveiling all the tricks of the trade in the land of ebooks and publishing.

Best LMSs for Schools in 2023

It’s no secret that technology is transforming the educational scene nowadays, and one of the tools that play an important role in this transformation is Learning Management Systems (LMSs). The various LMSs for schools out there provide comprehensive platforms for managing course materials, assignments, and communication between students and teachers. These platforms make it so much easier for educators to keep track of academic progress and streamline administrative tasks.

But with so many LMS options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are the most effective for your educational needs. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best LMSs for schools in 2023, taking into account factors such as ease of use, affordability, and features that are specifically designed for the needs of K-12 education.

LMS for School
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Usages of ChatGPT for Writing: The Ultimate Tool for Content Creation

AI technology seems to be taking over the world! From self-driving cars to virtual assistants (like Alexa and Siri), it has become an integral part of modern-day life. This has become true even in the most creative of fields, the ones that were always thought to need a human touch–such as writing–especially with the appearance of AI tools, including ChatGPT.

This language model proved to make life easier in so many ways, which has made us wonder: what exactly are the benefits of ChatGPT for writing? And is it possible for this AI tool to become the main player in the world of content creation?

To answer these questions, we are going to examine in this article different usages for ChatGPT in the writing field, and some of its shortcomings and alternatives as well.

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How to Write a Compelling Story Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Every great story is like a journey, and every journey needs a map. That’s where a story outline comes in. Just as maps help travelers navigate unknown places, a story outline helps writers navigate the twists and turns of their stories. It’s the backbone of the narrative, providing a framework for the plot, characters, and themes.

Many writers agree that using outlines makes them more productive and gives them a better chance at finishing their projects. An outline can also help writers avoid common pitfalls like writer’s block and plot holes, ensuring that their story is cohesive.

So, to help you cohesive and successful story, we’ll examine in this article how to write a story outline and show you some examples by famous authors.

how to write a story outline
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Blended Teaching: Models, Benefits, Tools, and More!

Technology has revolutionized the educational scene in the past few years, making the traditional classroom more advanced and efficient in delivering course material. With this major shift, most classrooms now encompass a unique blend of traditional face-to-face instruction and technology-based teaching–and this is known as blended teaching. 

This innovative approach to education is providing students with a dynamic and flexible learning experience. And we’re not only talking here about schools and colleges alone; it has also become the go-to for corporates and many of the organizations that implement employee training. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about blended teaching, its types, benefits, tools, and much more.

blended teaching
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Building an Author Brand 101: The Key to Success in the Writing World

As an author, you have the power to create a memorable image that sets you apart and connects you with your target audience. To achieve this, you need to establish an author brand, which is a crucial factor in your writing career and requires a deep understanding of your unique voice and values.

Think of names like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Dr. Seuss. Thanks to their remarkable author brands, just seeing any of those names on a book already sets certain expectations for their work before you even pick up the book. 

But what exactly is an author brand? How does it help you, as the author, in your marketing strategy? And how do you create your own? We’ll answer all of these questions, and more, in this article.

author brand
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Best 12 Ebook Creator Software in 2023

Ebooks are all the rage these days, and it’s easy to see why. The rise of digital reading devices such as tablets and e-readers, as well as the convenience of being able to carry hundreds of books in one lightweight device, has contributed to the growth of the ebook industry over the years. In fact, according to recent studies, the global ebook market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.7 from 2022 to 2027.

But it’s not just readers who are benefiting from the rise of ebooks. With the surge in popularity has come a wave of ebook creator software programs that make it easy for authors, publishers, and businesses to create and publish their own ebooks. Whether you’re a seasoned author or a newcomer to the world of self-publishing, there’s an ebook creator out there for you. These ebook creator tools range from basic text editors to more sophisticated software with the ability to add interactive elements like audio, video, quizzes, and more.

best ebook creators in 2023

In this article, we will explore the top ebook creators available in 2023 and their different features, helping you to find the perfect software to suit your needs.

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How to Promote a Book on Facebook: A Guide to Using Ads, Giveaways, and Much More

With a sea of books getting published every day, capturing your target audience’s attention can be a challenge. There is, however, a great opportunity for promoting your books on the world of social media. And out of the many social media platforms out there, Facebook stands tall as the most popular network, boasting a massive user base of nearly three billion in 2022.

This is the reason why you should let your books get the attention they deserve on Facebook! With a wealth of promotional tools at your fingertips, the world’s largest social media platform can surely help you reach new readers and boost your book’s success. So get ready to discover the secrets of successful Facebook book promotion in this article.

how to promote a book on Facebook
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How to Host Your Ebook and Share It with Others

Ebooks have been seeing an increasing boom in the last few years. In 2021 alone, the ebook revenue in the USA reached $1.1 billion, and this doesn’t include the revenues of independent authors.

If you decide to have your book published online (as an ebook) to share with your readers, then the first step is to find a place to host it. And the truth is, there are plenty of options out there that could leave one confused. So to make things easier for you, we are going to explore in this article everything you need to know about hosting ebooks.

What Are Hosted Ebooks?

A hosted ebook is a digital version of your ebook content that exists on an online server where readers can access and read it through their web browsers. This is when your book is turned from a manuscript on your computer to an ebook on the internet to share with others. 

In most cases, you will be able to share your hosted ebook by sending its link to your readers. Some hosting services also provide you with a customized URL for your hosted ebook where your readers view the ebook online on any web browser without having to download it first.

Why Host Your Ebook Online?

Whether you are an author, an educator, or a trainer, creating ebooks and hosting them online has many benefits, such as:

  • Sharing your knowledge with your audience easily and at any time.
  • Selling your ebook to readers around the world.
  • Offering a customized reading experience for your users.
  • Providing easily accessible learning and training material for your students.

Where Can You Host Your Ebook?

There are three main options when it comes to ebook hosting, and these are publishing platforms, authors’ websites, and third-party hosting websites. Then there’s Kotobee Cloud, which offers authors more control and security over their work than any of the other three. So let’s take a deeper look and explore each of these options.

1. Kotobee

If you want your ebook to be read from any web browser but you don’t have a website, or you do have a website but not the technical skills, then hosting your ebook through Kotobee is the best option for you. 

By using Kotobee, you’ll have your ebook instantly published online at a subdomain of your choice (e.g. You will also be able to instantly update it any time without having to re-upload it again like the case with most hosting platforms.

In the next section, we will discuss in more detail how and why to host your ebook through Kotobee.

2. Publishing Platforms

Most authors go with this option when the website they choose for publishing is where they intend to sell their ebooks. And while digital publishing platforms (such as Amazon and Apple Books) are great options for hosting ebooks, there might be some limitations, such as:

  • Deducting a percentage of the sales.
  • Not accepting all ebook file formats.
  • Not supporting advanced interactivity.
  • Being highly-competitive marketplaces.
  • Not allowing instant updates for your ebook.

3. Author’s Website

Now, this option might not be available for everyone, but if you do have your own author website and some technical skills, then you can upload your ebook there. You might also be able to sell it by adding an eCommerce plugin to your website. This is going to give you more control over the rights and sales of your own ebook, but it can also cost you some money depending on the plugin you’re going to use.

4. Third-Party Hosting Websites

There are plenty of hosting websites out there that allow you to upload any file you want and give you a shareable link for it. The problem with these websites, however, is that they are often filled with unwelcomed and unrelated ads, which don’t look professional if you want to build your brand as a reputable author. 

There are also many other issues with these websites, such as:

  • Ebooks can’t be sold directly on most of them.
  • To update your ebook, you have to remove the old ebook file and upload the updated one in its place.
  • Most of these websites allow for limited file size.
  • The shareable link for your ebook will be an autogenerated one with no customization for the URL and so it won’t look professional when shared with your readers.

Why Use Kotobee for Ebook Hosting?

There are many advantages to using Kotobee to host your ebooks. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Customized URL: Once you host your ebook with Kotobee, you’ll be able to create a customized URL for it to share with your readers.
  2. Easily accessible: Readers can view your hosted ebook at any time and on any device on their web browser, without having to download it.
  3. Update any time: You can easily edit the hosted ebook at any time and the changes will automatically be applied. This will happen without the hassle of re-uploading files and your readers will instantly see the latest version of your ebook.
  4. Customized reading experience: Hosted ebooks come with an ereader that you can customize. You will be able to customize the appearance of your hosted ebook, set page animations, and add different exporting options for your readers. Moreover, you can add your brand theme and any extra reading features for your readers, such as adding a text-to-speech option, background audio, Google search, and much more.
ebook hosting

How to Host Your Ebook With Kotobee

The process of hosting an ebook on Kotobee’s servers is pretty simple. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Use the ebook creation software Kotobee Author to write your book, or if you have a finished manuscript then you can easily import it to the software.
creating ebooks with Kotobee

2. Make sure that the formatting is spot on and that everything is in its place.

3. Click on the “Export” tab at the top bar, then choose “Host Online” from the left panel.

4. Enter a unique subdomain of your choice. If it is available, the box will turn green; if it isn’t, the box will turn red and you’ll have to choose another one.

creating ebook subdomain

5. After settling on a subdomain, click on upload to get your ebook hosted on Kotobee’s server. Once the upload is over, a pop-up box will appear with the button “Publish Now” on it.

publishing hosted ebooks

Take Your Hosted Ebook to the Next Level

Now that we know how great hosted ebooks are, there is a lot more that Kotobee can do to enhance your ebook with more functionality and security. By choosing not only to host your ebook on Kotobee’s server but also to make it a Cloud Ebook, you get many more useful features, such as:

1. Managing Access 

Kotobee Cloud allows you to manage who has access to your ebook. This way, you have control over the content of your ebook and who can view it. In order to read your ebook, your users will have to use a combination of their email addresses and passwords 

Having this feature can also make your Kotobee Cloud Ebook act as a lead magnet for your business or your blog. All you have to do is simply allow your users to self-register to access your cloud ebook.

ebook access control

2. DRM Protection

While ebooks are often subject to theft due to their digital nature, DRM offers a protective barrier that ensures the content of your book is safe and sound. By limiting the number of devices for each user, they won’t be able to share this access with others. You can also disable exporting your ebook into PDF or the option to print or copy its content to the clipboard.

ebook drm security

3. Notes Saved on the Cloud

When your readers add any notes or highlights to the ebook, they get automatically saved on Kotobee’s Cloud. This allows them to easily view it on various devices. It also opens the opportunity for instant discussion and collaboration with others when they choose to make their notes public. 

ebook notes saved on the cloud

4. Collaboration Tools

Another cool feature of Kotobee Cloud Ebooks is that you can share them with administrators, authors, and other collaborators. You can then choose which permissions you would like to give each of them. For example, you can allow some of them to edit, delete, or publish your ebooks.

5. LMS LTI Integration 

With just a single sign-on (SSO) to your LMS, users can seamlessly access your ebooks when hosted on Kotobee Cloud. This is done by utilizing your LMS database with LTI integration, which results in a much more pleasant user experience.

LMS LTI Integration

6. Create Reports and Analyze Data

You can easily track your users’ activities and engagement with your ebook when it’s hosted on Kotobee Cloud. You can also check their answers to self-assessment questions through detailed reports.

ebook reports

7. Sell online

Last but not least, hosting your ebooks on Kotobee Cloud enables you to make money from selling them. You can collect payments from your buyers using Paypal or Stripe. Once the purchase is done, they’ll have immediate access to your ebooks.

sell ebooks online

Final Thoughts

Deciding where to host your ebook can affect the reading experience for your users, among other things. If you do choose to host your ebook with Kotobee and make it a cloud ebook, you will find many great benefits, including (but not limited to) protecting your content from theft and offering your readers a unique and customized experience.

So head to Kotobee’s website now to download Kotobee Author and host your ebook on our cloud, or speak to one of our experts to know more about the experience of hosting ebooks on Kotobee.


Read More

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5 Signs to Spot Vanity Publishers

For most aspiring authors, getting that first book out into the world is a dream come true. So it makes complete sense that many of them would jump at the chance to get published—after all, who wouldn’t? But getting a book “out there” doesn’t always equate to successful publishing. In fact, many aspiring authors fall prey to vanity publishers, and unfortunately, they often realize it too late.

In order to help you avoid the trap of vanity publishers, we’ll break down in this article how to spot them from a mile away, and we’ll offer alternative routes to publish your books.

vanity publishing

What Is Vanity Publishing?

Coined in 1959, the term “vanity publishing” describes any publisher or press that doesnt profit from book sales. They rather profit from charging authors extortionate rates for the publishing services provided. The problem, however, is that the money the authors pay is usually spent in vain. Instead of using this money to produce high-quality books and promote them, vanity publishers pocket most of the money and spend the minimum on the publishing process.

While a traditional publisher pays typically authors for the right to publish their books (in the form of an advance and royalties), a vanity publisher charges authors to do the same. For instance, in a contract with a vanity press, authors would find themselves paying for editorial, production and design, and sales and marketing services. 

It’s not just that authors often paid very high and unreasonable rates to get their books out into the world, but they rarely receive a proper return on their investment. Because they get the money for publishing the book upfront from the author anyway, vanity publishers lack the incentive to make the book a successful one. 

Unlike traditional publishers, whose investment in books is returned via book sales, vanity publishers don’t carry that kind of financial risk, and so they’ll cut costs on the services they provide, rendering their books of subpar quality. 

This is why vanity publishers are often seen as operating on what is known as a predatory business model. They will usually promise a bestseller, great book marketing, and outstanding distribution to bookshops, and then fail to deliver. Therefore, their business model appears attractive to authors on the outside but ends up misleading and taking advantage of them.  

vanity press

Characteristics of Vanity Publishers: How to Spot Them From a Mile Away

So how exactly does an author who is new to the publishing industry recognize a vanity publisher? Although it’s not always clear straight away, there is a number of tell-tale warning signs, such as: 

1. Charging Suspicious Fees

Vanity publishers tend to charge authors a lot of money to publish their books. Moreover, there is very little transparency in the sense that authors are not given insight into where exactly their money is going. 

In fact, not only will vanity publishers charge authors fees upfront (usually for editorial, sales, and marketing services), but instead of repaying their authors after publication, these presses end up taking a big cut of any sales revenue generated by the books they publish. In other words, it’s a bad deal for the authors!

Of course, there are legitimate printing and self-publishing services out there that charge authors fees to help produce their books; however, these fees are reasonable and it’s always clear exactly what the author is paying for. 

2. Compromising on the Quality

Vanity presses will likely be looking to cut down on costs, so it’s common for them to hire inexperienced staff and freelancers who will end up producing a low-quality version of your work. This means that many books published by vanity presses are badly edited, with design layouts that are typically based on already-available templates.  

3. Offering Unethical Contracts

Regardless of whether you’re an experienced author or an aspiring one, you should always obtain legal advice before signing any kind of publishing contract. However, there are some red flags that typically point toward vanity publishers. 

Authors should beware of the following: 

  • A contract that traps authors into signing away the copyright to their works indefinitely. This means that authors would be unable to take their book to another publisher even when their contract expires, or that they might be forced to give up foreign rights or adaptation rights to their work with little or no royalties in return.  
  • A contract that contains a “minimum sales” clause, which basically requires authors to purchase copies of their own books if they don’t sell enough to meet the minimum figure set by the publisher.
  •  A contract that does not offer fair book royalties to an author, giving the publisher a huge cut in any sales revenue generated by the work. 

4. Making False Promises

Many vanity presses will attract authors by making grand claims such as: We guarantee that your book will be a bestseller! or We will ensure that your book reaches all major bookstores! The first claim is definitely a red flag because no publisher, no matter how well-established, can guarantee a bestseller. 

As for the second claim, it’s usually an empty promise because vanity presses rarely have the sales connections needed to get bookshops to place book orders. If you look closely at a contract with a vanity press, you’ll find that what they’re actually promising is to list your book on a distribution service. However, that doesn’t guarantee orders, and you can always easily list your book yourself.  

5. Chasing Authors to Publish Their Work

Let’s face it; the publishing industry is one of the most competitive industries out there. Publishing houses receive countless manuscripts every year, with many publishers now no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Instead, they rely on agents to bring in books that are a good fit. Therefore, you should be suspicious if you are directly approached by someone claiming to represent a reputable publishing house. 

Vanity presses can easily obtain your contact information from social media, and they tend to chase aspiring authors, offering them false promises of a great publishing deal. So, although it would be great if getting published were that easy, always be wary of deals that sound too good to be true! 

alternatives to vanity publishing

Vanity Publishing Companies: How to Avoid Them?

Now that you know the main characteristics of a vanity press, it’ll be easier for to steer away from them. However, it isn’t always that straightforward. There are, however, a number of useful resources out there that keep track of vanity presses authors should avoid. 

For instance, Writer Beware is a Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers’ group that aims to address problems faced by writers. They have a Thumbs Down Publishers List that offers writers an updated list of publishers to avoid (which are usually vanity presses), largely based on complaints they’ve received and evidence that has been compiled against those businesses. 

Moreover, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) offers authors free access to their Self-Publishing Industry Ratings, which rank the different publishing businesses out there to help authors decide which they can trust and which they should avoid. 

A Sample List of Vanity Presses to Avoid

If you access these author resources, you will find that certain presses keep getting flagged as untrustworthy. Here are some examples of the names you will encounter on ALLi’s watchdog advisory list:

Name of Vanity PressIssuesComments
Author SolutionsQuality, Value, Service, Communication, Transparency, Marketing, LegalSubject to multiple lawsuits in the USA. 
Adelaide BooksService, Communication, Quality, TransparencyRequires authors to purchase 45 copies of their books, even though this purchase requirement is not included in their sample author contracts.
Avro Basim YayinCommunication, Practices, Legal, OtherContacts authors and offer to buy Turkish rights to their books and then fail to pay for those rights.
Amazon Digital PublishersTransparency, Quality, Marketing, Service, OtherClaims to be affiliated with Amazon, but actually has no connection to Amazon or Kindle Direct Publishing. 
Archway PublishingQuality, Value, Service, Communication, Transparency, Marketing, LegalAttracts aspiring authors on the basis that it is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. It makes empty promises that authors could have a chance of getting their book to the S&S board. However, this imprint is actually outsourced to Author Solutions, who are themselves on the watchdog list. 
Book Agency PlusLegal, Transparency, Practices, Marketing, OtherClaims to have offices in London, New York, California, and Texas, yet no addresses or phone numbers for those locations are available. It also claims to be affiliated with the ALLi in order to induce authors to enter and pay for a book contest.
IdeoPagePress SolutionsValue, Service, Communication, Transparency, Contract, Practices, Legal, OtherClaims to be headquartered in New York, but is actually operating out of the Philippines. 
signs of vanity publishers

Alternatives to Vanity Publishing 

It’s understandable that all this information about vanity presses and publishers can be somewhat overwhelming for any aspiring author. However, there is an abundance of legitimate publishers and printing presses for authors to choose from. 

Here are the different options available to authors when it comes to getting their work out in the world.

1. Self-Publishing

Although traditional publishing will always be associated with the “dream-come-true” of getting published by a reputable, big-time publisher, many authors are moving toward self-publishing their work because of the creative control it provides them. 

When you self-publish your book, you manage your own book production, editing, marketing, etc. So even though you’ll probably hire the services of editors and book designers, you’ll always have the final say in any decision-making process. 

Moreover, you can always get the help of a self-publishing company. Although it sounds a bit contradictory to have a company offering self-publishing services, many businesses do an excellent job of being one-stop shops for authors, such as Blurb, BookBaby, and Lulu

The way this business model works is that the author pays for a range of publishing services. Some might say that that sounds suspiciously like what a vanity press does, but that isn’t the case. In the following table showing self-publishing vs vanity publishing, we’ll highlight three key differences:

Self-Publishing BusinessVanity Press
The author maintains control over every publishing decision, ranging from the cover design to the way the book is priced and marketed.Vanity presses will rarely consult authors at any stage of the publishing process, so authors have no control over their final product. 
Authors maintain their copyright and are the legal owners of their work.As soon as they submit their manuscripts to a vanity press, it’s common for authors to be asked to sign away their copyright, which means their books become the legal property of the vanity press.
The author pays for the services of the self-publisher; however, there is complete transparency. This means that authors know exactly how much each service costs and what they will be receiving in return.Not only will vanity presses charge excessive fees to publish the books they receive, but they are also unlikely to share a breakdown of these expenses with authors. 

2. Hybrid Publishing 

Another type of publishing that can sometimes be mistaken for vanity publishing is hybrid publishing. The word “hybrid” points toward a mix of traditional and self-publishing business models. Essentially, hybrid publishers charge authors to publish their books. However, authors are paid back in the form of higher royalty rates. 

Let’s examine how hybrid publishers are completely separate from vanity presses. 

Hybrid PublisherVanity Press
Like traditional publishers, hybrid publishers have set selection criteria and a formal submission process. They don’t publish just any book that comes their way, which is why they are considered reputable businesses in the publishing world.Vanity presses are unselective—all they need in order to accept a book for publication is money. This is why vanity presses are notorious for publishing anything, even if it means accepting low-quality work.
In order to offset the fees that their authors pay for some of their services, hybrid publishers are required to pay much higher royalty rates than traditional publishers do. This increase in royalties also serves to compensate authors for not receiving an advance, which they usually get from traditional publishers. Vanity presses not only overcharge authors for low-quality publishing services but they are also known for offering very low royalties. Moreover, since they are not invested in selling the books, there are often minimal book sales which means little-to-no royalties for authors. 
Hybrid publishers are run like traditional publishing businesses in the sense that they have publishers acquiring books, as well as experienced in-house and freelance editors and designers. The difference, however, is that since authors are investing money into the publishing process, they have more creative control than they normally would under a traditional publishing contract. Effectively, authors form a team with their hybrid publishers.Vanity presses will typically outsource all their publishing services to the lowest bidders. Thus, they’re happy to compromise on the quality of their books since it means they get to pocket more money. In addition to this, authors will have very little say in the publishing process and are rarely consulted, if at all.

Concluding Thoughts 

In today’s competitive publishing industry, when it comes to getting their work out into the world, aspiring authors often find themselves bombarded with so many options. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged—which is where vanity presses come in. They offer up their shady contracts in attractive gift wrapping, and many authors are just so relieved to have finally found a publisher that they end up taking the bait. 

When authors are armed with awareness, however, and know how to spot the red publishing flags, they can then learn to avoid all kinds of vanity publishing practices and instead seek out alternative routes that are legitimate as well as rewarding. 

Whether it’s traditional publishing, self-publishing, or hybrid publishing, there are many routes to choose from. The key takeaway here, though, is that even the most experienced authors should always obtain some form of legal advice before signing any type of publishing contract.  


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The Different Types of Editing Explained (With Examples)

When we think of the great authors we love, it’s sometimes easy to imagine them sitting at their writing desks, producing line upon line of pure artistic genius. However, the truth is, when you pick up your favorite novel, what you’re reading is usually the result of many written drafts of imperfection, marked up in red by the author’s editors. 

In the world of book publishing, an editor can be your fiercest critic—and also your greatest supporter. But who are those mysterious people working behind the scenes? And what exactly does a standard editing process look like? In this article—itself a product of careful editing—we will walk you through the different types of book editing, and why each type has something different to offer your work. 

types of editing

Why Do Authors Need Editors?

The main purpose of any good editor is to improve a book’s readability by improving the writing. No matter how good your writing is, editors are trained professionals whose job is to literally make your work better. This ranges from paying attention to the details, such as cleaning up your manuscript from typos and grammatical errors, all the way to making the big decisions like restructuring sections of your work in order to enhance your ideas. 

It’s never easy to have someone go through your work with the purpose of pointing out mistakes or areas of improvement. However, if you adopt an open mind, you will find that editing will almost certainly enhance your work.  This doesn’t mean editors will take over your work and make it their own, but rather that they will make your writing the best version it could be. 

What Are the Different Types of Editing?

In order to transform your manuscript from a rough draft to a finished work, it must go through a process of editing. This process is typically divided into five stages, each stage offering a specialized kind of editing. Let’s look at each stage in detail below, using excerpts from a novel as an example of a work to be edited. 

Stage 1: Editorial Assessment

An editorial assessment is the first type of editorial feedback your manuscript should receive and is usually performed by the commissioning editor, whose main job is to acquire books for a publishing house. At this early stage in the editorial process, the editor is not concerned with grammar or syntax, but rather with the bigger picture. In fact, there is usually no “editing” being done at this stage.

An editorial assessment looks at the general ideas of your work, the way your narrative flows (or doesn’t in certain places), as well as your overall characterization, themes, and plot. In other words, think of this stage as the general report on your book; you’ll find out what works, and what needs changing.

Example of an Editorial Assessment

Let’s say you submitted a romance novel set in both Egypt and the UK. Your main character, Hana, who is an old woman, recounts—through the use of flashbacks—a love story she had with a British man, Peter, over forty years ago. Below is an example of a response the author might get from the commissioning editor: 

The framing of the narrative is delicate but confident. The story is beautifully paced, as is the final shocking revelation of Hana’s mother’s role in Peter’s death. However, there are a few places where the novel could be tightened. 

For example, it is relatively late in the narrative before we are introduced to Hana’s mother, who is an integral part of the story. Moreover, the early days of Hana and Peter’s relationship should be expanded upon to give readers more insight into the couple’s story. There is also inconsistency in the story’s timeline; Peter is said to have joined the war after leaving Egypt, but the dates don’t work (he left Egypt in 1946, a year after WWII ended). 

Stage 2: Developmental/Structural Editing

Now that your novel has received a general assessment, it’s time to get some real editing done. The developmental editor will also look at the big picture; however, they’ll start marking up what needs changing, often giving their own suggestions.

If there is something about a particular character that just doesn’t add up, or if there’s a plot hole somewhere, a good developmental editor will pick up on it right away. Trained to spot the big inconsistencies, they will suggest changes that they think will work better with your plot and characterization. Sometimes they might ask you to rewrite a scene, place it somewhere else in the novel, or take it out entirely. 

Example of Developmental/Structural Editing

Let’s look at an example of developmental editing using a scene from our same made-up romance novel:

A sea of black. I feel like I am suffocating. What am I doing here? I am insignificant on this day. Everybody is insignificant on this day.

I clench my fists, nails digging into my sweaty palms. Climbing the marble staircase, I try to avoid eye contact with the black figures I am squeezing past. My legs feel weak; I shouldn’t have skipped lunch.

I finally make it to the elaborate wooden door, halfway open and leading to the room I am supposed to be in.

I shuffle in a fast-moving queue of young and old women. When it is my turn, I bend down and hold the frail hands of a loosely veiled lady dressed in black.

“I’m so sorry.” 

[Note from the editor]: This scene of Peter’s funeral should be placed at the start of Chapter 14 in order to drive home the shocking revelation of Peter’s death. Its current placement at the end of Chapter 15 is not as effective because by this point we already know that Peter has died in the war. 

Stage 3: Line Editing

Line editing, also known as stylistic editing, is the kind of editing that takes your manuscript from the “big-picture” level to the “line-by-line” level. In this stage, the editor is not focused on scenes and plots, but rather on your writing style. 

Note, however, that this is not the kind of editing that looks at mechanical errors (i.e. errors in spelling, grammar, and capitalization), but rather the kind that considers diction and syntax. The main purpose of a line edit is to look at how each line flows to the next. In other words, it focuses on how to make your work read in the best way, pointing out any sentences that need tightening, or any vocabulary that needs replacing.    

Example of Line Editing:

Let’s look at this scene in which our protagonist Hana is describing the setting outside her apartment. 

I unhook the shutters and shove them forward. It’s the third week of Ramadan and just below me I can see everything and that [1] Abou El Feda Street is wailing. The shutters and glass never entirely mute the clamor, but they do turn the music and shouts into a sort of [2] white noise that now, ironically, I can’t sleep without. It’s true that nowadays everyone who can afford to is fleeing their Cairo flats to get a piece of the trendy suburban compounds, but I could never see the appeal in trading my Zamalek apartment for a villa surrounded by desert and nothingness.

 [1] Delete the underlined portion to tighten the sentence and therefore make it more effective: “It’s the third week of Ramadan and just below me Abou el Feda Street is wailing.”

 [2]These ‘sort ofs’ and ‘kind ofs’ can usually be taken out to make the lines flow better.

Stage 4: Copyediting

Copyediting is the “nitty gritty” aspect of editing. You know that one friend who gets on people’s nerves because they’re always fixing everyone’s grammar? Well, that’s exactly what you want in a copyeditor! A good copyeditor will go through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb and flag every single mechanical error there is. 

They will add or remove commas, ensure your spelling is consistent (either American or British), and correct any grammatical errors you’ve made. They will also look at capitalization, speech tags, and inconsistent tenses. Basically, they will work on making your manuscript free of any errors or typos. After all, it would be such a shame if your readers are put off because you keep misspelling a particular word, or because your narrative accidentally slips into the past tense when it’s mostly written in the present. 

Example of Copyediting

Now let’s look at an example of a paragraph from our novel that has been copyedited, with the errors and changes marked in red.

Hana shrugged, gracefully lifted [lifting] herself onto the railing[,] her back to the water below. Facing him in this way, she forced Peter to take note of everything he [was] trying so hard not to sea. Resigned, his eyes swam [as] they drank her in; her gentle curves so subtle underneath the soft fabric of a blue pale [pale blue] dress, the olive skin of her neck only partly visible between [the] folds of a crimson scarf. Peter helplessly turned his gaze to her face, and marveling as he always had at how comfortably it housed such prominent features, how it embraced the intensity of each of them[—]from the unforgiving straightness of the thick brows, to the strange searching look constantly lingering in the oversized, darknight eyes.

“Glad to see I still do it for you[,]” she smirked.

[“]I love you,[”] Peter blurted before he could stop himself.

Hana laughed. “Now is not the time. But, yes, ten years later and I love you too.”

Stage 5: Proofreading 

So, now that your manuscript has been editorially assessed, examined for plot holes and inconsistencies, edited stylistically, and checked for any mechanical errors, what’s there left to do? Well, that’s where the final editing stage comes in: proofreading. 

Proofreading offers the final pair of eyes that will go over your manuscript before it goes to press. A proofreader will look for any mechanical errors that have been missed during the copyediting process, or perhaps even accidentally introduced by previous editors. It’s not uncommon for a copy editor to fix hundreds of errors and end up accidentally introducing a few along the way. That’s what the proofreading stage is for: to clean up any outstanding mistakes. 

In addition to that, however, a proofreader is also in charge of the page layout of your book. This means they will go over the formatting of your pages, checking your front matter, headers/footers, pagination, line spacing, paragraph breaks, etc. In fact, a proofreader will also be the final pair of eyes to check the blurb on your back cover, as well as your title, author name, and even the placement of your cover art. 

Example of Proofreading: 

Now let’s look at how a proofreader would handle the same scene that was copyedited above. You will note that the layout of the text has changed, with the introduction of paragraph indents as well as the correction of one minor (but glaring!) typo that was missed by the copyeditor. 

Hana shrugged, gracefully lifting herself onto the railing, her back to the water below. Facing him in this way, she forced Peter to take note of everything he was trying so hard not to sea see. Resigned, his eyes swam as they drank her in; her gentle curves so subtle underneath the soft fabric of a pale blue dress, the olive skin of her neck only partly visible between the folds of a crimson scarf. 

Peter helplessly turned his gaze to her face, marveling as he always had at how comfortably it housed such prominent features, how it embraced the intensity of each of them—from the unforgiving straightness of the thick brows, to the strange searching look constantly lingering in the oversized, dark-night eyes.

“Glad to see I still do it for you,” she smirked.

“I love you,” Peter blurted before he could stop himself.

Hana laughed. “Now is not the time. But, yes, ten years later and I love you too.”


Where Can Authors Find Great Editors?

The answer to that question depends on which publishing route you’re taking: traditional publishing, or self-publishing. If you have a standard publishing contract with a publishing house, then you will be paired with an editorial team of the publisher’s choosing. They will liaise with you and get your work edited from start to finish. All you have to do is review their edits and discuss their comments and feedback.  

However, if you’re opting to self-publish, then you will need to find your own editors. But don’t panic! You don’t actually need to hire an editor for each one of the types of editing covered in this article. You will find that many editors wear different editorial hats and are competent in doing different types of editing. In fact, it’s common for authors to hire only two editors: one in charge of the “big-picture” developmental and structural editing, and the other in charge of copyediting and proofreading. 

So, where can you find your perfect editorial match? Well, a good place to start your search is at the Editorial Freelancers Association, one of the most renowned collectives of professional freelance editors. You should also check out the ACES Society of Editing, which have an impressive international editors directory, as well as popular platforms such as NY Book Editors

Aside from that, we have a cheeky little tip: Pick up one of your favorite books that you think is particularly well-written, and flip to the Acknowledgements Page—chances are your author has thanked their editor by name right there. And a quick Google search on your part could lead you right to them! 

Concluding Thoughts

As an author, being aware of all the different types of editing for books gives you a greater understanding of what to expect from the editorial process. This, in turn, helps you prepare your manuscript in a way that allows you to gain the most from your editors. By knowing what they’re looking out for, you’ll be more conscious as you write. 

And while it may be scary to think of your manuscript being marked up with so many scribbles and crossings and requests to add or take out text, always bear in mind that a good editorial team just wants your work to be the best it can be. 

And to that, we leave you with the poetic words of editor and author Arthur Plotnik: “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”


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