Definition of fact–check
: to verify the factual accuracy of
Fact-checking is not included in any package unless specifically requested and provided in the initial quote. Generally, line/copy/general editors do not fact-check unless it is a feature detailed in the agreement between author and editor. Most editors do attempt to fact-check anything that looks “off” in a manuscript: a location, if a building mentioned is on the street named, trademarked brand names, titles of songs or movies, etc. However, unless otherwise noted, it is not the editor’s responsibility to do so. If a detail is obviously incorrect, as per an editor’s nature, it will be checked and pointed out along with the line edits offered.
Beyond what jumps out at them, an editor will assume that the author has already checked their facts during their developmental editing pass. This includes actual facts about the world that can be proved. Copy editors will gladly make sure a character doesn’t have blue eyes on one page and brown on the other, as well as point out any other plot inconsistencies. However, geographical facts about the world, people, places, things, etc. are assumed to have already been researched while the manuscript was written or addressed before being handed over for copy editing.
Line/copy editing consists of detailed, line-by-line editing for sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and, if needed, other issues that do not require major changes such as plot consistency, character analysis, and style.
NOTES ABOUT EDITING TURNAROUND TIME:
Editing, as is writing, is a time-consuming task and requires great attention to detail. Depending on the amount of editing that a manuscript needs, a single, 250-word page can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes. Editing takes quite a bit more time than pleasure reading. Since an editor is required to go line by line with a critical eye, it is incredibly important that the process not be rushed. An editor is obligated to read and reread sections, flip back to check world building, characters, and scenes, look up grammatical rules to make sure everything is correct, pull up previous books in a series to make sure all the information matches, restructure sentences and paragraphs to ensure flow, etc.
Because of all the tasks involved in editing, it is assumed that a 100,000-word manuscript (400, 250-word pages) could take anywhere from 33-200 hours. Since most manuscripts have pages that take different amounts of time, it usually lands somewhere in the middle, but will often lean toward the higher side. A quality editor will never rush through an edit and risk making mistakes that could harm the integrity of the story.
Authors should also keep in mind that most editors work for multiple publishing companies and individuals and have other authors already scheduled out months in advance. If the author provides their manuscripts later than originally scheduled, it throws everything off and is unfair to other authors who have kept with their end of the agreement. Respecting the editor’s time is of the utmost importance and will provide you with a solid author-editor relationship.
If previous understandings between authors and the editor have been established, this message does not apply to those authors who have carte blanche when available.
I love all of my authors. I love my job. I want to continue to do so. Thank you!