Here’s how it worked in traditional publishing (Fiction, my own direct experience):
The Author was the First, Best Editor. Because—if its creator was unwilling, unable, or just unaware as to the importance of making the writing the best it could be, if correct manuscript format was not practiced— that manuscript was not going to go any farther than the editorial assistant’s desk and the thank-you-for-showing-us-your-work post card. (And there was no appeal process. You could approach another agent or publisher, one after another, never several at once. If they all rejected the work, there was no publishing except a costly vanity press.)
Work offered a publishing contract got you consultation with the publisher’s editing staff. This could be written in great detail on a first contact, by phone later. “Here’s what you need to work on…” This is called a Content Edit. It is going to involve the Author re-writing/revising the work until the editor feels it works. No, the editor did not re-write the book for the author. And the work is not approved for publication until the Editor said it was.
The revised manuscript then went to the Copy Editor. (Sample Chapters might also go to the Cover Artist.) Publisher’s Style Manual would be followed, same as for a newspaper or magazine. (Is it a.m. or AM? One Thousand Dollars or $ 1,000.00? British English or American? Is it King or king? Military fiction?) Specific concerns were hashed out between the editors and the author. This is the Line Edit—every line being read and edited for spelling, continuity and fact-checking. The author is involved for major issues. The Copy Editor handled obvious typos as a matter of course.
Now the manuscript went to the Typesetter. Font and point size determined by formula to calculate number of pages and cost of book to produce. Manuscript format also made the typesetter’s work easier and allowed for editing.
Finally, the Galley Proof. Exactly as the book would appear in print—typeface (font), point size. My first galleys were looonnng strips of book paper the width of a paperback page. Review and return only those pages with corrections. Later, galleys became Bound Proofs, and these were also sent out as advance or review copies. Either way, by this stage the process is Proofreading, because editing is essentially done. And whether I was Proofing or Reviewing, the turn-around time varied from a week to three weeks. The Proofs were physically marked with the corrections and physically returned to the editor’s office. (Some authors read their galleys at the editor’s office.)
Finally, the author received, from their editor, a final printed copy of their actual book. Saw the cover for the first time. Read the back cover copy. And undoubtedly spotted a typo, once ‘twas too late!
Copyright Susan Dexter 2016