Editorial services are the new hybrid service providers in today's highly-competitive arena in writing and communications. Whereas in the past these people were employed by publishing houses, some of today's enterprising editors banded themselves together or singly and put up their own editorial services businesses.
The services they offer run the full gamut of editing processes employed by the big publishing houses in the business. These include project development, manuscript consultation, copy editing and proof-reading, among others.
In the old days, when a publisher decides to publish what a writer had just written, the writer simply hands them over the manuscript. This manuscript will then follow the typical publishing route of procedures.
Line editors will check for grammar, punctuation and problems in format and other copy-editing concerns. The acquisition editors may help shape the general direction of the work.
Developmental editors are sometimes hired by authors (and the publishers at times) to give shape to the work and make it marketable.
However, no editor will ever bother to check the facts written in the manuscript. Until recently, everybody assumes it is the job of the author. Or, perhaps someone hired to do the job.
Good editors will clean up all the sloppy details in the book (changing of names, conflicting character traits, etc.) including misplaced adverbs and dangling participles.
However, he is not obligated to find out if airplanes were already around in the 1800s.
He assumes the author had known that fact, the reason why it is included in the story in the first place.
Or, who should be responsible with checking of facts?
Aside from engaging the services of an editorial service group, an author must have his book quality-tested by an expert reader. This reader does nothing but double-check on supposed facts in the manuscript.
Fact checkers are hired to work on travel guide books, historical fiction and some other literary categories and genres. Travel books have hundreds of thousands of statistics on sizes, hours, prices, and phone numbers.
Few travel publishers hire fact-checkers, relying on the author for the authenticity of all their entries.
Almanacs, dictionaries, atlas
Ideally, a writer must have some fact books in his library for references – encyclopedias, atlas maps, almanacs, dictionaries and many other guide books. This is especially true if his work deals with some history or science or some other specific topics and professions.
After the fact-checker and the line editor have finished their jobs, the author must go over his work one more time. Of course, some unavoidable circumstances happen.
Phone numbers in travel books go out of kilter when area codes of places are changed, restaurants close down, and names of streets and airports are changed.
Disclaimers on the copyright page can sometimes help but if the authors had re-checked one more time just before the book was printed, the error may have been averted.
Fortunately, the good news is that all of the editorial services groups today are savvier than before with fact-checking and other potential publishing disasters.