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Copy Editing and Proofreading

the last important step prior to publication

The Book You Want to Showcase: Clean, Clear, and Ready for Its Readers

Why are copy editing and proofreading so important for your writing?

Within seconds of an agent or editor looking at your manuscript, they will assess whether your work is worth publishing. Often their decision is based on how the work is presented.

Choppy sentences, a grammatical errors, or even a single misplaced comma can ruin your book’s chances. 

It’s the same when you submit a document to your boss or colleagues. How clear, clean, and correct your writing looks determines how they will view your credibility.

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All writers need copy editing and proofreading.

All writers—even professional writers and editors—always must have their work looked over by a second person. (Indeed, that’s what editors are for!)

Even if you’re only distributing a document amongst your colleagues or sending off a short work to a literary magazine, it’s vital you have it vetted by an outsider even if you’ve combed through each line with your finest toothed comb.

Why so draconian? Semantic Satiation.

It’s neurological: Our brains become dull or even immune to errors after we’ve seen something a few times.  become familiar with the way a manuscript looks after we’ve read it 

As a project nears completion, we’re far more likely to notice little errors, hear clumsy sentences, or catch something missing.

A fresh pair of skilled eyes is key. Our editors will ensure your copy is not only error-free but also musical, engaging, and clear.

No writing should be shared with anyone until it’s been first copy edited and proofread by a professional. These important efforts ensure you’re giving your work the best chance at success.

How It Works: Copy Editing and Proofreading Your Manuscript

After your work has gone through developmental editing, which looks at the big-picture issues of structure and development, pacing and flow, and general “arc”, the work will be ready for line and copy editing, which is editing done at the sentence level.

Following the copy edit is the last proofreading, which is a quick process but vital one to catch any last remaining errors.

You are welcome to be as collaboratively involved in the process as you like to ensure your manuscript retains its essence and to add your ideas to your editor’s.

What Happens During the Copy Editing and Proofreading

Copy Editing

After an editor is brought on to work with you, they will discuss any concerns or special instructions prior to beginning.

Copy editing is typically performed in 2 passes on your manuscript (or only one if you prefer). Your editor will work to ensure the narrative voice and essence of the work is retained while refining it for consistency in tone, sentence-level pacing, dynamic language use, clarity, and conciseness. If there are issues they cannot resolve, such as references or fact checking, they will note these issues and discuss them with you for next steps.

While copy editing largely focuses on issues at the line level, if your copy editor notices some global issues such as choppy cohesion or awkward paragraph placement/organization they will either make these adjustments or flag them and discuss with you how you’d like them to handle them. 

If you have skipped a proper substantive/developmental edit and gone straight to the copy editing phase, a hybrid copy edit with some attention to overt global issues of structure and development may be made.

 

Proofreading

Prior to being submitted for publication, any piece of writing must be reviewed to ensure it is razor-sharp, fluid, and free of errors.

A clean, beautifully-presented manuscript will always ensure the ideas look their most competent. We leave no comma unturned.

Your proofreader will read the work aloud to both hear and see any last errors. 

If your proofreader runs into many errors upon beginning, they may suggest you have the work copy edited prior to being proofed; alternatively you may wish to do a copy edit proofread combo, and the editor will read the work 2x- first to copy edit and second to proof the work.

This is often a budget-friendly method for getting a clean manuscript to submit for publication.

Other ways we help writers

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Personalized Writing Coaching

Foundational guidance, support, and writing craft instruction along with developmental feedback, substantive editing, and proofreading ensure you- and your projects- are covered.

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Write Your Novel in 4 Months Program

With our unique framework of a dedicated mentor, self-directed study, and a clear writing plan, get a complete novel draft in 4 short months.

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Self-Publishing Formatting & Upload Assistance

Formatting and upload assistance for Amazon KDP print and ebook, Smashwords (online bookseller aggregate) e-books, and print-on-demand self-publishing services

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