Copy Editing

ensure your writing is clear, correct, and consistent

stages of editing graphic

Copy editing is, as said by Anne Lamott, when your editor “checks every tooth” of your manuscript.

This put-on-our-strongest-reading-glasses edit is when we get persnickety.

We examine each line to make sure it’s behaving itself within the context of the system of the sentence, meaning respecting its container, we confirm it’s clear, clean, and correct.

Our house style guide (Chicago Manual of Style) is parked right beside us so we can confirm uniformity in the punctuation and word usages, ensure the work is consistent from beginning to end, that each sentence flows into the next logically, and that the lines’ architecture are logical.

Copy Editing Ensures a Safe Reading Environment

Above all, our goal is to ensure the reader is never jarred from the story in any way or shaken away from the text by a wobbly phrase, something out of turn, a mistake, or something tonally off.

When your reader feels comfortable because the writing is well designed and fluid, their comfort will influence how well they take in your ideas (and if you’re submitting your manuscript to a literary agent or publisher, that’s the ultimate goal: to make them happy to be in the world you’ve created on the page!)

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Unsure what kind of editing you might need?

Why Copy Editing Is Important for All Documents

The quickest way for your work to be discounted and for you to lose out on valuable publication opportunities is submitting work that’s anything less than pristine. 

Even a few missed commas or a typo may lead an agent or editor to believe your ideas are as sloppy.

If you try to cut corners and think “I’m in a hurry,” or “that’s why they have editors,” or “the agent knows I’ll be revising anyway,” think again. When agents and editors receive hundreds of manuscripts in a week, you don’t want to be the one that goes in the bin because you had an ambiguous pronoun in your second paragraph and a weirdly placed semi-colon.

Having your work copy edited is a sound investment and insurance policy that you’ve done everything you can to get your work where you want it to go.


Your editor will discuss your work with you and confirm you’re ready for a copy edit, your budget, and timeline.

Using the Track Changes feature of Microsoft Word, they will edit the work and flag any areas that they’d like your feedback on. When they’re done, they’ll discuss the edit and any notes with you and next steps.  

The hourly pricing allows your editor to meet your manuscript’s exact needs. If you want or require a lighter copy edit or a heavier/hybrid line and copy edit, they can do this without pausing the work or referring you to another editor. This makes the collaboration much more seamless and organic.

Your editor will keep track of their time in a timesheet shared with you so you can see their rate of speed.

If you wish to get a project rate before going too deep into the editing, your editor can edit for a period of time (1, 3, or 5-hours) and multiply their rate of speed across the full manuscript, so you can budget accordingly. Every manuscript is unique, and we do our utmost to balance artistic integrity with your budget and needs.

Let’s talk! If you’re not sure if your manuscript is ready for copy editing, once you sign on to work with us, your editor will dive in and discuss with you whether the work should go back a step and be substantially (developmentally) edited first so the structure, purpose, and flow is sound prior to the line and copy edit, or it’s ready to be smoothed out and finessed at the line level for the line and copy edit. 

Check out this article on the 5 Stages of Editing. If you are still not sure, book a free consultation and tell us all about your project!

In all cases, we’ve got you covered.

You are welcome to get started by buying a block of time, after which we will reach out to you to invite you to our editors’ platform and get you started on the work. You will be sent our Terms and Conditions, which explains the details of the relationship and what you can expect from us.

Alternatively, please reach out to us directly to let us know you’re ready to begin, and we’ll send you some documents to sign you on and have you up and running straight away.

5-Hour Block


3-Hour Intro Block


1-Hour Top-Up Block


Learn more about our copy editing services and other services

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Also at One Lit Place ...

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Manuscript Evaluation & Developmental Feedback

The first important step before editing: get a clear read on how your work is coming across and suggestions for editing the draft.

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After the copy edit comes the all-important proofread. This last pass ensures your very best work is the work you're sending out.

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Getting your work into the world is yet another taxing step on the road of being a writer, but we're here to make it as easy and impactful as possible.

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Courses & Programs

For the book you're wanting to write or to enjoy brushing up on your creative self, enjoy our book writing programs or our self-guided online courses.