What type of editing you choose for your manuscript depends on who the editor is and what your editing goals are. I have been sharing what types of editing I offer, how I define them, and what my process looks like. So far, we have discussed developmental and line editing. This week, we will talk about what copy editing is and who can benefit from it.
What Is It?
When most people picture editing, they are thinking about copy editing. Copy editing is about correcting grammar, spelling, and other typos. Not everyone realizes that copy editing goes beyond mechanics to include writing style. A copy editor checks that the author or publisher’s writing style is applied consistently throughout the manuscript. This editing process is all about reviewing the details.
Who Is It For?
Copy editing comes toward the end of the publication process. At this point, you should have developed the manuscript’s structure and reworded the text. All the significant changes have already been made, and you are ready to polish your manuscript. Essentially, if you are ready to publish your book but want to make sure you have a clean manuscript, copy editing is what you need.
What Is the Process?
I work from a checklist but adjust depending on what your manuscript needs. My first reading of your manuscript will usually tell me enough to know how I need to adapt. I then start with running spell check and editing software (with the client’s permission). From there, I will move on to checking grammar, punctuation, and spelling. After I have reviewed all of the language mechanics, I move on to style. Here, I look for such things as proper word usage, good sentence length, and consistency in applying style rules.
My next step is to fact-check if the client wishes (although I spot check a manuscript if I see a red flag). I also check readability. Vague wording can hide problems with facts. After I finish working through my checklist, I will read the manuscript one last time. This is to ensure that I have caught everything and that my changes make sense.
Copy editing is more focused on the details than other types of editing are. It is about providing you with clean copy that is ready for publication. The details of your manuscript are just as important as the big picture. Copy editing can polish those details so that they present your ideas well.