So . . . what is
the difference between a substantive edit and copy editing? Learn the lingo of the trade. Know what is expected of you and is being done to your manuscript. Here is a comprehensive glossary of editorial skills found on the Editors' Association of Canada website:
Developmental / Project Editing
Co-ordinating and editing a project from proposal or rough manuscript to final manuscript, incorporating input from authors, consultants and reviewers. May include budgeting, hiring, design supervision and project co-ordination.
Substantive or Structural Editing
Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure. Changes may be suggested to or drafted for the author. May include negotiating changes with author.
Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing. May include checking or correcting reading level; creating or recasting tables and/or figures; negotiating changes with author.
Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by an author. May include some research and writing of original material.
Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanics of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts; marking head levels and approximate placement of art; notifying designer of any unusual production requirements. May include Canadianizing; metrication; providing or changing system of citations; writing or editing captions and/or credit lines; writing running heads; listing permissions needed and/or obtaining them; providing or editing prelims, back matter, cover copy and/or CIP data. May also include negotiating changes with author.
N.B. "Copy editing" is often loosely used to include stylistic and even structural editing, fact checking and mark-up. It is not so used by the Editors’ Association of Canada.
Locating suitable photos and/or artwork. May include obtaining camera-ready reproductions; preparing descriptions, working sketches and/or artist's references or co-ordinates for illustrations, maps and diagrams; supervising production of final artwork; obtaining releases from and/or conducting financial negotiations with picture sources and artists; preparing labels, captions and sources for typesetting.
Fact Checking / Reference Checking
Checking accuracy of facts and/or quotes by reference to original sources used by author and/or from other sources.
Producing an alphabetical list of names and places and/or subjects and concepts, etc., that appear in a work.
Mark-Up / Coding
Adding designer-written specifications for typesetter or word processor.
Reading proofs of edited manuscript. Galley proofing may include incorporating and/or exercising discretion on author's alterations; flagging locations of art and page references; verifying computer codes. Page proofing may include checking adherence to mock-up (rough paste-up), accuracy of running heads, folios and changes made to type in mock-up, checking page breaks and location of art, and inserting page numbers to table of contents and cross-references if necessary. May also include checking vandykes and colour mats (press proofs).
Mock-Up (Rough Paste-Up)
Producing a mock-up from proofs and marking proofs for changes necessitated by mock-up. May include copyfitting and/or marking colour breaks.
Co-ordinating typesetting and design in the mock-up and assembly stages; includes ensuring integration of design and content. May include actual mark-up, proofing, mock-up, page proofing, indexing and/or checking vandykes and colour mats. May also include locating, negotiating with and supervising designer, artists, typesetter, and printer and creating production schedule.
Editors' Association of Canada