A copy edit takes a long look at the content of your story and makes revisions and suggestions. It will ensure that your reader is engrossed in your narrative and isn’t pulled out of it by a poorly structured sentence, a continuity error, or a loss of focus. Copy editing does include some technical editing, such as:
- Word usage (awkward phrasing, wordiness, repetition)
But it also looks at your novel as a whole. A copy edit doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of a developmental edit, but rather irons out the wrinkles of a completed work. I will look at consistency, cohesiveness, and continuity throughout the novel. I will assess it for clarity and flow, language accuracy, and overall readability. I will let you know when sentences have become too complex, if a character has suddenly become wildly out of character, or if you’ve gone down a rabbit hole of excessive detail when there is a simpler, clearer alternative to get your point across. If something strikes me as unrealistic in your worldbuilding, I will flag it.
The goal is to ensure that your voice and style is strong and unhindered by error, and that the story is on paper the way you intended when you watched that beautiful novel unfold in your head.
This is the last step before publication. Proofreading covers basic mechanical errors; we’re at the most technical level here. A proofread will ensure that a character’s name is always spelled correctly, that tenses are in agreement, that facts check out, and that the copy is free of little errors that can add up and make your reader’s eye begin to twitch. Microsoft Word does not always catch those errors, especially if it concerns incorrect word choice (less when you needed fewer, whose or who’s, I or me, imply when you meant infer).
As someone who works in media production and sees copy going to different clients or internal marketing projects on a weekly basis, I can tell you that not a single piece goes out unless it’s been proofread by me or another proofer. My bosses know that everyone makes unintentional errors, and they want a fresh pair of trained eyes to review copy before a client ever sees it. The more steps we take to lessen and eliminate errors, the better for our reputation and professionalism. You want your reader to concentrate on the story—not errors that could have been caught and corrected ahead of time.
A proofread includes:
- Word usage
- Formatting errors
- Fact checking
I come up with an estimate on a project-by-project basis, but it will always fall within the parameters of the Editorial Freelancers Association Rates. To give you a general idea, a light-to-heavy copy edit will be between .018 per word to .022 per word. A proofread will be approximately .0113 per word.
Whether you need a copy edit, or a proofread, or you just aren’t sure, I will provide you with a free sample edit of five pages of your manuscript. If you don’t know what type of edit you need, this will give me an idea. The free sample edit will also give you an idea of whether or not I’m a good fit as your copy editor or proofreader. Your editor should be just as jazzed about the story as you are, and when we both care deeply about how polished and ready for the big time your book is, a solid foundation for a working relationship has been built. I’m in this business because I love books, and I love helping authors. I want your novel to reach as many readers as possible.
Let’s make sure it’s the best novel it can be.