Copy Editing

So you wrote the book or short story, and you think it’s ready to publish. Not just yet! Your writing needs a good copy-edit.

What is copy editing?

Even perfect people use pencils with erasers.

Copy editors check for issues like the following:

  • Language mechanics: spelling; grammar; punctuation; syntax; word use
  • Consistency of style: numbers; quotations; abbreviations and acronyms; use of italics, underline, or bold
  • Flow: word choice or punctuation usage; paragraph length

Why pay for copy editing?

Two sets of eyes are better than one.

  • Another set of eyes. No matter how many times you go through your book, you won’t catch everything. You know how the copy is supposed to read, so your brain will fill in what’s missing for you. Your book needs the fresh eyes of an editor to find the errors.
  • Copy editors are professionals. Your sibling or friend may offer to proofread your writing for you. Surely that’s enough, right? There are two problems here. One is simply that they may not know as much as they think they do and won’t do a terrific job. The second is that they may not be as forthcoming in pointing out mistakes because, consciously or subconsciously, they don’t want to hurt your feelings. A paid copy editor knows it’s her job to make sure you get every dime’s worth by ensuring as professional a product as possible.
  • Keeping readers engaged. The content of your writing may be excellent, but if it doesn’t flow well due to errors, many readers will not continue. You don’t want to lose a potential lifelong reader due to fixable mistakes like spelling and punctuation. See my post on Why Grammar Matters in Your Book.

What else do I need to know about getting a copy-edit?

Editing is the same as quarreling with writers–same thing exactly. – Harold Ross

  • Turnaround time depends on the length of the project. Typically, a short story can be returned within a week and a novel within a month.
  • Pricing is based on pages. The Editorial Freelancers Association suggests rates for editing services. As a writer myself, I understand the need for quality editing at affordable cost. I take your investment seriously and want to give you the best product for the price. Therefore, my current rate is a $2.25 per manuscript page (double-spaced, one-inch margins).
  • Revisions can be provided on a print copy or using Microsoft Word (track changes).

Will copy editing catch every single mistake?

To err is human; to forgive, divine. – Alexander Pope

No. However, as a self-described stickler, I know that even we sticklers don’t expect perfection. Many books that have been through several edits still get printed with a few errors, such as a period left off a sentence or a misspelled word.

A few errors, and your readers will forgive. Too many, and they will put the book down. Copy editing will catch almost all of your mistakes in language usage and grammar, but an error may yet go unnoticed. Don’t worry: Your readers are divine.

Do you have any references?

“Julie’s kindness, honesty, and attention to detail are exactly what any manuscript needs. Her command over the English language (commas especially!) are just what I was looking for, and her help was so welcome. I wouldn’t hesitate to use her skills on any of my projects time and time again.” Karen Rought, fantasy author

“I was thrilled with Julie’s proofreading skills. Her grammar is advanced, she pays great attention to detail, and she caught a lot of little mistakes that always stand out to readers. Her turnaround time is fantastic, and her rates are well worth the results. I’ll definitely work with Julie again!” Stacy Green, author of Welcome To Las Vegas and Into The Dark.

How do I contact you?

If you would like to discuss your project, please email me at glover.julie[at]att[dot]net. I’d be happy to discuss your needs and what services I can provide.

5 thoughts on “Copy Editing

  1. Thanks for the link, Julie. Although I think I need mostly content editing, I agree that two sets of eyes are better than one. Hope to be in the “editor market” soon.

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