What are the different levels of editing?

When seeking an editor for a book you intend to self-publish, you may run into a plethora of terms about the services they offer. Understanding these terms can help you determine what kind of editing you desire and allow you to better communicate that to an editor.

There are three major levels of editing:
 Proofreading – During a proofreading, the editor corrects spelling, punctuation, capitalization and basic grammar, and sometimes notes other minor matters, such as using passive voice (which is grammatically correct but could be changed to active voice for a smoother sentence structure). This level of editing also is known as copy editing.
• Line edit – In addition to proofreading, a line edit typically includes correcting sentence structure and flow as well as commenting on whether the content is complete and factual. This level also is known as a heavy edit or a content edit.
• Developmental edit – At this level, the editor goes a step beyond the line editing and rewrites sentences, which are tracked for the author to review and approve. This also is known as a substantive edit or structural edit.

Some editors list ghostwriting as a type of edit. In ghostwriting, another writer rewrites or pens from scratch whole passages for the author. In traditional publishing, this typically is done for celebrities. Arguably, this is not editing at all but simply writing a book for another person based on their outline or approval.