There are generally recognizable terms in the publishing business for different categories of editing assistance. While these may vary slightly from editor to editor, here are the ways I use these terms.
This type of editing is a thorough analysis of your entire manuscript with the goal of improvement in any or all of these areas:
overall clarity or accuracy
reorganization of paragraphs, sections, or chapters to improve the order of the text’s presentation
improvement of readability and/or flow of information
suggestions for improvement of text related to expectations of the genre or sub-genre of writing
effectiveness of the order of individual components, for instance, ordering of poems within a manuscript
The goal of this type of editing is to either define or redefine the vision for a particular book project. This may include any or all of the following:
develop a manuscript’s initial concept, outline, and/or the author’s first draft or subsequent drafts
respond to a manuscript-in-progress in terms of the effectiveness of overall approach for a particular audience
respond to a manuscript in terms of content, organization, and presentation based on an analysis of similar works
respond to a particular manuscript’s potential placement in a specific market
This type of editing focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style. It also includes the check for internal fact consistency and the consistency of the document’s mechanisms, such as abbreviations, chapter headings, table of contents, glossary, and other manuscript components.
This involves reading proofs (usually called “galleys”) of an edited manuscript. This generally includes the checking of page numbers, page references, table of contents, and page breaks along with a thorough checking of spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
This type of work involves creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of the author’s content and/or research. This may include additional research.
I would be delighted to discuss other projects that you wish to have done. Since I’ve been published in many genres (fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, children’s, young adult, and magazines), I can help you with many different projects. I keep my fingers on the pulse of many types of publishing and am available for consultation.