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Proofreading, Editing, Critique

Proofreading, Editing, Critique

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The Different Types of Editing 2 - Copy Editing

Writing is only a quarter of what is involved in producing a successful book: editing, publishing and marketing are the other equally important three-quarters of the effort. No one person can do these four tasks as well as they need to be done as they involve four very distinct and detailed professions.

When you’re writing a book, let the experts in the other three areas do their job while you do yours. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to find a team of experts, but this is not always easy to do. What do you need? Who does what you need?

Your best bet is to start with editing. Editors generally specialise in genre and a certain type of editing. So, how do you know what type of editing you need? In this mini series, we’ll have a look at three types of editing: developmental editing, copy or line editing and proofreading.

In this article we’ll have a look at the second type.

Copy or line editing

Copy editing and line editing are basically the same thing, and they both follow on from developmental editing which I wrote about in the first article in this mini series.

Once you and your developmental editor have sent your manuscript back and forth a few times – one suggesting edits and the other revising and rewriting before sending it back to be edited again – your draft will be ready for a copy edit.

How does copy editing work?

A copy editor is a mechanical, rather than stylistic or structural, expert. This means that she will focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling and word choice issues. She will go through the draft line by line and track down problems. She’ll be able to point out errors with homophones and phrasing or spot missing words, weird paragraph breaks or long texts that should be broken up into paragraphs. She’ll also advise you on the overuse of passive voice or italics.

Like developmental editors, most copy editors will use the Track Changes feature in a word processor to do this work, allowing you to accept or reject the suggestions. You don’t have to accept all of her suggestions, but don’t forget that copy editors are experts at what they do and will help you to produce a better version of your original book.

This type of editing goes much faster than developmental editing. A professional copy editor can edit from six to eight pages an hour on average.

How much will copy editing cost?

Copy editing costs less than developmental editing because there is less time and effort involved in the process.

As with developmental editing, all editors have their own rates and charging system. The price may also depend on your editor’s experience. Editors have a choice of charging by the hour, the page or the word. If you have a fixed budget, find an editor who charges by the page or word so that you know how much you will be paying.

In the next article, we’ll have a look at proofreading.


Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Louanne Piccolo