The Difference Between Most Editorial Processes And Developmental Editing

DALLAS, TX: Susan Mary Malone has worked as a professional columnist and reporter, is an award-winning author, and an editor of over 40 traditionally published books. But that’s not taking into account that Ms. Malone is not just an editor in the sense of editing a book for grammatical and spelling errors, known in the field as copy editing. Susan Mary Malone does in-depth developmental editing.

Developmental editing is the process of editing a book for its overall picture, as opposed to only the sentence structure. The characters, plot development, the flow of the story and other factors involved in the writing process itself comprise developmental editing. A later stage of the editing process is known as copy editing, attending to the individual lines and sentences for errors of a grammatical nature.

Ms. Malone was available for comment and further clarification on the differences between these two processes: “Essentially the biggest difference between developmental editing and copy editing is the detail. Many authors write their story and turn it over to a freelance editor and expect they now have an edited, ready-for-publication book. If that editor was a copy editor, the writer does NOT have an edited book, but a proofread one. That is also an important part, but it’s about three steps later than what you need when you put your last sentence to the page. The first thing to do after your story is complete, or even while you’re mid-way into it to help get your ideas flowing again, is to work with a developmental editor  on your manuscript. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your readers.”

Ms. Malone goes into further detail on the developmental editing process on her website,

Susan Mary Malone has worked as an editor, columnist and journalist since 1993, with a BS in Political Science and minors in English and Journalism. With a client list that includes NY Times Bestsellers, Essence Bestsellers, books featured in Publishers Weekly, and one writer (Mary “HoneyB” Morrison) who recently secured a seven-movie deal. Susan is also an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction herself. She participates as a speaker in literary conferences such as the recent Harriett Austin Writer’s Conference (at the University of Georgia), The East Texas Writer’s League, the Blue Ridge Writer’s Conference, the SouthWest Writer’s Conference, and the upcoming Golden Triangle Writer’s Conference, among others. Her full biography and featured list of published authors can be viewed at