Copy Editing

Copy Editing Services for Books and eBooks

Once you have written your masterpiece; have a complete, written manuscript; and have made any substantive changes needed, it’s time for the next step – copy editing. This phase of book editing is about touching up your work so it’s even better. My role as your copy editor is not to make substantive changes, but to suggest grammatical changes (punctuation, spelling, correction of homophones, etc.) and better phrasing. I will also be helping you to be sure you are not making certain mistakes such as the ever popular “telling and not showing,” switching tenses, “info dumping,” and overusing passive voice. In copy editing, we will also work to be sure your dialogue is consistent with your characters, your narration is strong, and that your story is clear, easy to follow and understand, and moves along at the proper pace.

Book copy editing services are about enhancing and polishing your manuscript. Perhaps you are preparing your book for a publishing house. Or you may be self-publishing a book or eBook. You want to make sure the content of your final manuscript flows beautifully and is well-written, enjoyable to read, and engages the reader. I’m an expert at keeping your work intact while also improving the flow to help you say what you want to say even better.

 

How Can a Copy Editor Improve Your Masterpiece?

As the author of a book, you probably wonder if your work is ready. Copy editing is a critical step in the development of your book or eBook as you prepare for publication. Let’s look at a short copy editing example, so you can see the kinds of editing changes you can expect.

Before Editing

The wind howled and Samuel knew he was lost in the trees where the wolves howled and the moon barely made a dent in the darkness. It seemed as though something whispered at him to run. Run!

Editorial Comments

While this is very engaging writing, the author has used the word “howled” twice to describe both the wind and the wolves. My suggestion here would be to choose a different word for one of them. Also, while the reader gets a sense that it is very dark and the moon cannot shine through the trees, the word “dent” is a slightly awkward phrase to refer to moonlight.

Finally, it might help the reader to feel the fear Samuel is feeling. The author could tell the readers what Samuel is feeling through internal dialogue. The more descriptive the writing, with sights and sounds, the more the reader will become lost in the world of this novel.

As the copy editor I make comments such as these in the margin and suggest wording changes within the content. Your next step will be to review each suggestion and decide whether you would like to make the suggested change, alter the content in some other way, or leave it as is. It’s your work!

After Editing

The wind groaned menacingly through the trees and Samuel knew he was lost in a frightening place where the wolves howled and the moon struggled to break through the darkness. It seemed as though something – a ghost? – whispered at him to run. Run!

Copy Editing Services Compared to Content Editing Services

As you can see from the example above, my copy editing services are about fine-tuning. Content editing, the step prior to copy editing, is about the organization and flow of your entire book. In that process, we sit down together and go over your content, piece by piece. We will move chunks of material around and create the most optimal flow for your book or eBook, prior to the copy editing process.

When and How to Hire a Copy Editor

Consider looking for someone to provide your copy editing services as soon as you know the timeline for completion of your manuscript, as most editors are booked months in advance. Some key steps include:

1. Contact an editor or two to make sure they offer the kinds of editing services you need. Some editors offer one or more editing services – content editing, copy editing, or proofreading – but not all three.

2. Provide a sample manuscript to the editors you are considering, request a quote on completing the editing you want, and a sample of their work. Tip: If the editor will not provide a sample edit, move on.

3. Set the date with your editor to deliver your manuscript.

4. Complete any final revisions or polishing you want to complete before sending your manuscript off to your editor at the scheduled time.

What to Expect When You Hire Me to Copy Edit Your Book

When I receive your manuscript, it will stay safe in my hands until I have finished a full and thorough edit of your book. I ask that all manuscripts are sent to me in Microsoft Word document files (.doc or .docx) as I use the Track Changes feature in Word to allow you to review all of my comments and suggested changes.

You can review each comment and each edit I suggested and make the changes you would like to make. You can also easily accept them or reject them. If you are not familiar with this feature, I will be happy to give you a quick tutorial.

If you make any substantive additions while doing your final book edit, I will review them for you, but I will not do another full read-through of the manuscript during this phase. Please leave your Track Changes on if you would like me to look at your final edits so I can easily locate them in your manuscript.

What Happens after Copy Editing?

Once your book or eBook has been copy edited, and you have fully incorporated the edits and smoothed over any final changes, the next step toward publication is proofreading. This phase is about catching any overlooked errors, such as a misspelled word or a missing period.

Many authors feel they are too close to their work to see the errors. Some people choose to have a close friend with a good eye perform their book proofreading. If you choose to hire The Eyes for Editing for your final proofread, we will complete the final book editing phase for you with a keen eye.

Tip: Somewhere along the way, you will need a book cover design. Depending upon the cover designer’s turn-around time, you may need to get started on this phase months in advance.

The very last step to prepare your book or eBook for publishing is book formatting. In this process, your book will be prepared with the right margins and other specifications to match your book printing size.

I will be happy to go over any of these processes with you in detail.  Simply contact me for additional information.

 

My Style and Spelling Guidelines

I use the Chicago Manual of Style as my guide.  All rules will be followed according to their guidelines.

Spellings are all checked against the Unabridged Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

 

Prices

Copy editing services are approximately .01 a word. This is only a guide, the price may be higher or lower, but on average, you can expect a price around this range. Contact me for a sample edit for an exact quote.

 

A Note About the Editing Process

Although you have been through the editing process, I cannot, nor can any other editor, promise that your manuscript will be completely error free. Proper editing takes more than one pass on more than one level. Even if you do not use my team for every step of the editing process, I encourage every author to have their manuscript edited on as many levels as they can prior to publication whether you plan on self-publishing or sending it off for traditional publication.

This also does not ensure  that you book will sell, make millions, make you stronger, get your name on the cover of Publisher’s Weekly, get your dog to like you more or be picked up by a publishing house.