Do you need a line/substantive editor?

A post on substantive editing from my NEC editing professor, from her editorial blog Editor Queries.

Editor Queries

line_edit_graphicDoes your writing need more than a basic copyediting pass? Last week, I discussed how important it is to know exactly what you want from an editor, particularly in terms of copyediting and proofreading. This week, I discuss the kind of editor you should seek out when your completed document needs more extensive revision.

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, “the terms substantive editors, content editors, and line editors are often used interchangeably for editors who make significant changes to a manuscript, such as rewriting and reorganizing the text.” Line editors not only perform the tasks of a copyeditor, then, making the text correct and consistent, but also suggest additional revisions. Below, I use the terms line, substantive, and content to refer to the same kind of editor. No matter what you call them, such editors work extensively with the text:

Writing style. A line editor routinely revises…

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