Acquiring editor: An editor at a publishing company who acquires books for that company, usually via literary agents. An acquiring editor works with authors on the publisher's behalf, editing both to his or her own taste but also to the publisher's standards and requirements.

Book doctor: A book doctor “doctors” your work by providing a deep structural edit. This kind of editor will likely request your word document and rewrite portions of it, and a major re-haul may be involved.

Book publisher: A traditional book publisher licenses the right to publish the print and other versions of an author’s work (such as electronic and audio), depending on the deal. Authors who choose to self-publish are usually considered their own publisher and may retain or license out various rights to their book.

Collaborator: A professional writer who is paid to help write a book and receives credit alongside the author, usually on the cover or title page. Celebrities and politicians often hire collaborators if they are not equipped to write on their own.

Copyeditor: A copyeditor’s primary job is to correct a manuscript’s grammatical and typographical errors and make the language clear, concise, and consistent. The copyeditor also does light fact-checking and usually steps in just before a book is typeset or formatted.

Critique: An overall assessment of a work that points out its strengths and weaknesses and offers ideas on how it can be improved. A critique is typically provided by an editor who focuses on the content or meaning of the work (rather than its technicalities) and is the first step of the editorial process at Mehta Book Editing.

Ghostwriter: A professional writer who is paid to write a work officially credited to another person. 

Hybrid author: An author who traditionally publishes some works and self-publishes others.

Indie publishing: May refer to small/independent publishers or to independent authors who opt to self-publish.

Line editor: A line editor edits at the sentence level, commenting on the grammar, sentence structure and word choice. While a copyeditor focuses more on the mechanics of a manuscript, a line editor checks for errors and also provides more subjective feedback about the author’s style. A line editor works at the micro (rather than the macro) level of the work. 

In a light line edit, the editor corrects major spelling and grammatical errors and makes queries in the margins about specific lines and sections of the work. In a heavy line edit, the editor makes corrections and rewrites specific lines and sections of the work. Light line editing tends to be more suggestive, whereas heavy line editing tends to be more directive. Heavy line editing is similar to book doctoring, but book doctoring is a deeper form of editing.

Mehta Book Editing offers a sample of line edits of as part of both the full manuscript critique and partial manuscript critique options, and more extensive line edits after the initial critique stage. All line editing services include comments in the margins of the manuscript.

Literary agent: A literary agent represents writers and their written works to publishers and negotiates deals on behalf of their clients. Agents are paid a fixed percentage (usually 15%) of the proceeds of sales they negotiate. Some agents also assist their clients with self-publishing new or backlist works.

Proofreader: A proofreader checks the typeset work against the copyeditor’s changes, corrects explicit errors only, and is typically the last set of eyes for the book before it goes into print.

Publishing consultant: A publishing consultant answers specific questions based on industry experience, typically via phone or Skype. At Mehta Book Editing, it includes a review of some manuscript pages prior to the consultation. A consultation might include a discussion about publishing strategy, but it does not include agent referrals.

Query letter: A brief letter that introduces you and your work to an agent, much like a cover letter for a job application. It should include a description of your project and how it fits in today’s marketplace.

Trade publishing: Publishing aimed at general, mainstream markets (as opposed to scholarly, scientific, and other specific markets).

Writing coach: More a mentor than an editor, a writing coach supports and encourage writers via writing assignments and exercises and meets with them on the phone, via Skype, or in person. Working with a coach is the ideal supplement or alternative to taking a writing class or joining a writers’ group.