Why do you need developmental editing services?

Developmental editing services are crucial in perfecting your manuscript’s structure, characters and storytelling. Expert developmental editors focus on vital insights that transform your writing. Thus, collaborating with a developmental editor helps bridge gaps, ensure consistency and create a more engaging reading experience. Choosing a skilled professional aligned with your writing style is critical to elevating your manuscript and maximising its potential for success. If you wonder, ‘Do I need developmental editing services?’ The answer is a resounding yes. So, this post will explore why these services are valuable assets to your writing process.

Why are developmental editing services essential?

Developmental editing services are vital in assessing your manuscript’s structure, clarity, tone and flow. Professional editors identify issues that authors might miss and suggest content adjustments. With a keen eye, developmental editing enhances your book’s argument, message, story or plot, ensuring it resonates with your intended readers. Therefore, developmental editing services are instrumental in crafting a polished and impactful manuscript. Besides friends and family or beta readers, a developmental editor is usually the first reader of the manuscript. Thus, their suggestions usually carry substantial importance in shaping and preparing the manuscript for publication.

What do developmental editing services include?

  • Structural analysis: Developmental editing diagnoses major issues like structure, ensuring that your manuscript aligns with the chosen genre, presents genre elements engagingly and meets reader expectations.
  • Objective alignment: The service assesses if your manuscript meets its objectives. It ensures your argument or message is conveyed logically and in line with the book’s theme.
  • Consistency and coherence: Developmental editing checks for a consistent style, voice and point of view throughout the book, ensuring effective communication of ideas.
  • Eliminating repetitions and gaps: It identifies and addresses any repetition, gaps or redundancies in content, ensuring a seamless reading experience.
  • Engaging presentation: The service ensures that elements specific to your chosen genre captivate readers, making your book appealing to the intended audience.
  • Editorial report: After carefully reading the manuscript, the developmental editor writes a report summarising the manuscript’s structure and message, extrapolating the target reader and highlighting areas for improvement.

What is not included in developmental editing services?

Developmental editing services take a broader view and do not focus on sentence-level issues like spelling, punctuation or grammar. Furthermore, developmental editing does not provide a style sheet. Instead, it typically concludes with an editorial report. Unlike copyediting or proofreading, you will not receive a sample edit before developmental editing since it assesses the overall structure and content rather than language-level details.

How much should you pay for developmental editing services?

Professional developmental editing services’ rates typically start from £39.90 per hour, according to the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading recommendations. On the other hand, the Editorial Freelancers Association suggests slightly different rates, as shown below.

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour

Editors who charge in the region of these recommendations are well-trained and experienced, ensuring quality work. They carefully read the manuscript to diagnose high-level issues, providing your book’s argument, message and voice align cohesively with its objectives. However, beware of lower estimates — they might reflect subpar editing.

What should you consider when seeking developmental editing services?

Expertise and specialisation

When searching for developmental editing services, it is crucial to prioritise editors with expertise and specialisation in your specific genre or subject matter. This ensures they can provide tailored insights and improvements that resonate with your target audience. An editor well-versed in your field addresses the technical aspects of your manuscript and its thematic and stylistic elements.

Portfolio and testimonials

Next, reviewing an editor’s portfolio and client testimonials is essential when considering developmental editing services. A strong portfolio showcases the editor’s previous work, demonstrating their ability to handle projects similar to yours. Furthermore, examining client testimonials provides insights into the editor’s professionalism, communication skills and the impact of their editing. This information helps you gauge whether the editor’s style and approach align with your needs and expectations, ensuring a productive collaboration for enhancing your manuscript.

Cost and payment

Moreover, understanding developmental editing services’ cost and payment structure is crucial, especially for self-publishing authors. Different editors may have varying pricing models, such as hourly rates or package deals, based on the project’s scope. Therefore, it is essential to clarify the total cost upfront, including any additional charges for revisions or consultations. Transparent communication about payment terms, such as deposits or instalment options, ensures no surprises. By considering the cost and payment details in advance, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and ensures a smooth editing process.

Timeline and availability

Furthermore, considering the timeline and availability of a developmental editor is essential for a successful collaboration. Discussing the estimated editing time and the editor’s availability to work on your project ensures that your manuscript aligns with your publishing goals and deadlines. Factors like the editor’s current workload and upcoming commitments should be considered to avoid delays. Moreover, clear communication about the expected timeline lets you plan your writing and publishing schedule accordingly, ensuring a timely and efficient editing process.


Lastly, compatibility between you and the developmental editor is another crucial aspect to consider. In turn, a harmonious working relationship will contribute to the effectiveness of the editing process. So ensure the editor understands your vision, style, reader and goals for the manuscript. Communication and responsiveness are key indicators of compatibility. For instance, assess whether the editor’s approach aligns with your expectations, prioritises maintaining your voice while enhancing the manuscript, and genuinely invests in helping you succeed as an author. A good fit with your editor ensures a smoother collaboration and a more satisfying outcome for your book.

How do you find developmental editing services?

To start your search for qualified developmental editing services, consider turning to reputable professional organisations for editors. These associations emphasise ongoing professional development and adherence to a code of practice, ensuring their members offer high-quality and ethical services. For instance, here is a list of professional editing associations:

Final thoughts

In sum, understanding developmental editing services is crucial to enhance the quality and impact of your work. These services address the big-picture aspects of your manuscript, helping to shape its structure, clarity, tone and overall flow. By seeking the expertise of a professional developmental editor, you are investing in your book’s success and ensuring it resonates with your intended audience. 

Developmental editing services offer a valuable opportunity to refine your manuscript and bring out its full potential, ultimately guiding your writing toward a polished and impactful final result. Contact me for a free sample edit if you want developmental editing services (and remember to use my early bird discount). If you want to hear more from me, including self-editing and writing tips, follow me on MastodonTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn or join my newsletter.

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I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors.